Quantum Physics

Back Next

Every week, without fail, the great physicist makes his way to a public house in in the university town where he lives. There, he always seats himself in the last seat save one, turns to the last seat, which is empty, and asks a girl who isn't there if he can buy her a drink.

The innkeeper, who is used to the occasional erratic and inexplicable behavior university types, always shrugs but holds his peace.

When Valentine's Day arrives, the physicist makes a particularly heart-wrenching plea into empty space. Curiosity gets the better of the innkeeper:

"I apologize for my foolish questions," says he, "but surely you know there is NEVER a woman sitting in that last stool. Why do you persist in asking out empty space?"

The learned man replies,

"Well, according to quantum physics, empty space is never truly empty. Virtual particles come into existence and vanish all the time. You never know when the proper wave function will collapse and a girl might suddenly appear there."

The innkeeper raises his eyebrows.

"Really? Interesting. But couldn't you just ask one of the girls who comes here every Friday if you could buy HER a drink? Never know ... she might say yes."

"Right," replied the physicist bitterly, "How likely is THAT to happen?"

----------------A Final Thought ...

"I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning."

- Plato (c. 427347 BC), Greek philosopher