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?