A Quantum Physics Textbook Glossary Written By Someone Making Wild Guesses
General relativity: When you’re related to someone but you’re not quite sure how
Anthropic principle: The idea that all household objects are sentient and your toaster is secretly judging you.
Alpha particle: The Chad of particles.
Black hole: You can use these to escape wily coyotes. I think they’re manufactured by the Acme Corporation.
Big Bang: A loud noise, such as someone suddenly compressing an empty chip packet full of air.
Big Crunch: An even louder noise, such as that of a very large and crisp potato chip being eaten.
Classical physics: Physics that never goes out of style.
Cosmic inflation: An increase in prices and a decrease in the purchasing value of money of cosmic proportions such that three trillion Zimbabwe dollars can’t even buy you a latte these days.
Cosmic microwave background: A screensaver of microwave ovens floating in space.
Dark energy: The really uncool, bad vibes some people give off.
Decoherence: When you’re three sheets to the wind and slurring your sentences.
Double-slit experiment: That time you wore a skirt too revealing for comfort.
Entanglement: The process of becoming a joined-at-the-hip couple who have lost their individuality and in many ways behave as a single entity.
Galaxy: A type of Samsung phone.
General relativity: When you’re related to someone but you’re not quite sure how. You suspect they’re your third cousin but you’ve never quite cared enough to investigate.
Multiverse: The least enjoyable aspect of the Marvel universe.
Negatron: A man near-robotic in his adherence to pick-up artistry techniques.
Phase Conjugation: A short-lived, passionate affair.
Planck Length: The dimensions of a 2x4 piece of wood.
Positron: An overly chipper robot.
Quantum coherence: Is it, though? Coherent?
Quantum computer: A tiny computer.
Quantum tunnelling: The purview of equally small moles.
Quantum weirdness: God, what part of it isn’t weird?
Quark: The sound of an eccentric duck.
Quark jet: A private plane composed of low-fat curd cheese.
Quiet Sun: A star that doesn’t scream all day long. Alternatively, a particularly well-behaved form of male progeny.
Schrodinger’s cat: A misnomer, see ‘Schrodinger’s cats’. I hear this guy was apprehended by PETA with a sackful of kittens and a lump of Uranium. He said it was ‘Just a thought experiment’, but who knows what he was planning.
Singularity: A state of supreme loneliness where it feels as though reality as you know it, including time and space, has ceased to exist after you’ve been dumped.
Spacetime: When you need to be left alone for a while.
Spooky action at a distance: When you astral-project yourself to your long-distance lover for some nookie.
String theory: The theory that the entire universe is a ball of yarn batted about by a kitten. Also the name given to the theory which seeks to answer the snarky and rhetorical: I dunno, how long is a piece of string?
Superposition: A page you’ve bookmarked in the Kama Sutra.
Supersymmetry: A particularly pleasing configuration of facial features.
Wormhole: An entire worm, not one of those creepy worm halves that are somehow still wriggling. Ew.
I was too busy to feed your inboxes with delightful science, literature, and humour morsels on Monday; I apologise. Tell me, did my absence cause your hearts to grow fonder? Or am I thinking of absinthe?