Fun Stuff: When Shakespeare meets Schrödinger


In the associated LinkedIn discussion to my previous post, commenters had some fun with the Shakespeare inspired headline. Clearly, if Shakespeare would have known Quantum Mechanics and the superposition that holds Schrödinger’s cat in limbo, some of the classic pieces would have sounded slightly different. Dr. Simon J.D. Phoenix had this brilliant take on it:

“To be, or not to be, or maybe both

–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to calculate
The slings and arrows of outrageous quanta
Or to take arms against a sea of interpretations
And by opposing end them.
To sleep, to wake —
No more, but both –and by a sleep to say we end
The headache, and the thousand natural shocks
That Bohr bequeathed. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To wake, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of Copenhagen what dreams may come
When we have shuffled all our mortal calculations,
Must give us pause. There’s the Aspect
That makes calamity of so entangled a life.
For who would bear the Bells and Wittens of time,
Th’ position’s wrong, the proud momentum’s contumely
The pangs of despised theory, the quantal law’s decay,
The insolence of academic office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy unlearned takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bra-ket? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary state vector,
But that the dread of something not quite real,
The undiscovered counterfactual, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those classical ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus common sense does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of Heisenberg,
And enterprise of great position and momentum
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. — Soft you now,
The fair Dirac — noble and precise, in thy orisons
Be all my spins remembered.”

3 thoughts on “Fun Stuff: When Shakespeare meets Schrödinger

  1. Dear Quax,

    what great joy and mirth springs forth from the pen of the salubrious Dr. Phoenix! Years of light better than pedestrian shoe reactors.

    “And enterprise of great position and momentum
    With this regard their currents turn awry
    And lose the name of action.”

    Ah, but should their currents turn awry
    Bread black and still as the knight?
    A bitter jam by any other name!

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