Chris Ferrie

The greatest joke in the world

And what it can teach you about quantum physics

I made this. I’m not all that proud of it to be honest.

Heisenberg

Heisenberg’s name is attached to probably the first conceptual hallmark of quantum physics to reach popular culture: the uncertainty principle. Colloquially, the uncertainty principle has been understood to be the incontrovertible fact that some things can never be known. This doesn’t sound so profound. In fact, it sounds a bit lame.

Schrödinger

Schrödinger is probably the second most famous quantum physicist behind Einstein, and it’s all because of a cat. Schrödinger’s Cat appears in poetry, television, web comics, films, videos games, music, and adorns the t-shirts of every undergraduate physics nerd.

Electrons or maybe baby toys. Credit: haade on Wikipedia.

Bohr

Neils Bohr is the most famous quantum physicist no one has heard about. To be fair, his writing was a bit Bohring. Ba dum tiss. But, seriously, he is famous in physics for two things: being the “father of quantum physics” and writing cryptic philosophy about science. Part of his writing included public debates about quantum physics with Einstein. These were legendary.

Bohr and Einstein arguing about what to order on Uber Eats for lunch. Credit: Public domain image by Paul Ehrenfest.

Einstein

Albert Einstein is surely the most famous physicist to have lived. His name is synonymous with “genius” and his dishevelled look epitomises the kooky theorising scientist. For most of his life, his theories were obscurities, known only to other physicists. However, he was certainly a journalist’s favorite among physicists, especially for his personability and ever-so-quotable quips.

Quantum theorist by day, father by night. Occasionally moonlighting as a author. csferrie.com