Quantum Physics is funny!


Doh - our customer service rep. Nice woman, very friendly, and definitely "airy". Long black hair, about 5' tall, approx. 35 - 40ish.

Ray - a recent hire who is a non-condescending and brilliant physicist from a top 10 University. An odd duck, for sure, but really fun and wacky with all of his quirks and the stereotypical "scientist aura". Dark, swept-back crazy hair. About 5'9" tall, heavy Bronx accent, approx. 40 - 45ish.

Me - laid back and goofy. Does not take "the professional workplace" thing too seriously. Physics guy from a bottom 10 University. Short blonde hair, 6'3" tall, precisely 36.9205 years old. (Three points to those who send me bday greetings on the right day!)


A technology-based security company. Not rent-a-cop security, but security as in anti-counterfeiting technologies for *SECRET STUFF GOES HERE*. High profile clients, serious old-school, conservative management. Stuffy upper brass. Two people out of 150 that understand the cutting-edge stuff that makes our products highly un-counterfeit-able: Me + Ray.

Day of first meeting with a materials company that utilizes "quantum dots", which are discrete semiconductor clusters about the size of cigarette smoke particles (10-50 nm). These things have unique properties that make them attractive as "locks" in electronically monitored products so we are evaluating the physical specs. and determining how to modify them at the atomic level so they readily attach themselves to the molecules in our specialized...goo. Blah, blah, blah. A typical workday.

Act 1
Hallway outside the cafeteria...

Me: Hey, Ray. Are you ready for this meeting?

Ray: Oh! Yah, Oh yah - definitely. I mean, FINALLY! An interesting technology we can look at.*Positions feet too close together for proper balance and sweeps left hand through hair. Teeters a bit as he lifts the coffee to his lips*

Me: Yah, I know. So much boring bullshit - I love working on the fun stuff... So, I was thinking about this quantum well effect, and I can't really conceptualize how the cluster size affects the energy states like this.*Refers to diagram in a journal article.*

Ray: You mean the quantum confinement...*smiles devilishly* The "well effect" is only a model that describes binding energy - it's the same with intermolecular forces. The quantum confinement, however, is restricted to the cluster. The photons add energy to the system that elevates the electron energy states, and this altered state causes binding reconfiguration and dissipates energy through thermal relaxation and causes *SECRET INFO GOES HERE*.*Puts coffee down to make wild hand gestures with both hands, because he got frustrated trying to "show" an electron energy shell in an atom with only one hand.*

Me: Oh. Duh...

Ray: Ha Ha Ha!!!*Stamps foot*. What - did you forget this stuff!? It's basic physics, man!

Me: Noo!*Wrinkles brow and smiles in embarrassment. Looks down and toes floor tile with foot* I mean, I read through the literature, and they treated this entirely with mathematical models - there wasn't any reference to the real structure of these things. I'm thinking in terms of the quantum well effect and discrete states *does air quotes* based on the radius-of-the-Bohr-atom treatment... I'm thinking in terms of the models... I just confused the math with the reality, I guess.

Doh: *Pouring coffee into her cup* I'll say! You guys are such NERDS! Can I come to your meeting? It sounds like so much fun! *makes the stick-your-finger-down-your-throat puking gesture. Smiles broadly*

Ray: Ha Ha Ha! I'm not a nerd! HE'S a nerd! *Points to me, giggles slurpily after sipping coffee*

Me: *Stands super-erect, purses lips and makes "nerd face"* Neep! Neep! I'm a nerd. Ray says so... Ray's not a nerd.*sarcastic* Definitely not a nerd.*Rainman voice*

Doh: You guys are weird...*Walks out and back to office.*

Act 2
-Meeting takes place-

Act 3
In mailroom after meeting

Me: *Leaning on copier*So, isn't this cool? I think it will work, but I'm really worried about the *SECRET* problem. Did you hear me hammer on that point?*Smiles conspiratorially.* And man, you killed them on the specificity issue! The guy's smart, though. He knows his shit.

Ray: *Standing in middle of aisle, feet too close together.* Oh, yah. He knows what's goin' on.

Doh: *Walking through, smiling.* Sooo!!! How was the meeting? Did I miss anything? Maybe I can see your notes? *Kidding.*

Me: Well, I'd show you my notes, but they're really small.*Scale of atom joke*

Ray: Ha Ha!!*Points at me, laughing REALLY loud.* That's FUNNY. You're funny... that's a good one...

Doh: *Wrinkles brow in confusion. Looks questioningly back and forth between Ray and Me.*

Me: ...And I am uncertain of their location!*A joke based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle*

Ray: HAH HAH HAH!!!*Points at me, laughing REALLY, REALLY loud.* Another one!! You're on a roll! Ha Ha HAH!!!

Doh: *Wrinkles brow in confusion. Shaking head, walks out silently.*

Me: I'm definitely a nerd.*Smiles.*


See? Quantum Physics is funny!!