Posts Tagged ‘renormalisation’

Fable

March 15, 2011

Once upon a time, The Man Who Had Nothing to Say got stuck in a lift.

‘This is most annoying’, he said to himself, ‘Now I’m going to miss my lunch with all those jolly court blokes.’

He would’ve carried on but suddenly the lights went out and thus his rant was cut short.

And in the dark he had a vision instead.

He saw endless hordes of people running down a hill, trampling on a sheet of translucent marbles, each one with a sparkling tiny blue twirl in the middle, falling over and sliding towards the bottom at breakneck speed, then up the next hill, then down again and so on until they arrived in a desert and trust me, sliding up and down a barchan isn’t as fun as it sounds. Realising this, most of them got up, brushed the sand off their clothes and looked around with sun-dazzled eyes and slight embarrassment, wondering what all the fuss had been all about.

The Man Who Had Nothing to Say was eventually rescued half an hour later and he emerged a hungry but nevertheless better man.

Quantum Fields Forever

January 18, 2010

“Dad, can I go outside and play football?”
“Have you cleaned up your room yet?”
“Yes, dad.”
“Clothes AND toys?”
“Yes.”
“But properly this time, I hope.”
“Yes, dad.”
“No more silly excuses?”
“No, dad.”
“No more second law of thermodynamics?”
“No, dad.”
“Good. We’ve already proven that your room doesn’t constitute an isolated system, and even when you’re grounded, we give you more than enough low-entropy food to act as a local Maxwell’s-demon.”
“Yes, dad.”
“Alright, I’m going to check.”
“Okay.”
“So what are all those things doing on the floor then, young sir? There are hundreds of them.”
“They’re nothing.”
“I beg your pardon? I can clearly see they are Lego bricks ”
“They’re just inevitable fluctuations in the emptiness of the room. They’re virtual.”
“So basically you’ve done nothing all afternoon, you haven’t packed any of your toys.”
“No, dad, I spent all that time renormalising. There would’ve been an infinite number of them in the room without it.”