Sunday, October 4, 2015

Conjunction: Dr. Green - Episode 4

Tessa was really excited, they were going to have the great Physicist Dr.Green come over and talk to them. She could barely contain her excitement at the thought! Jane on the other hand had been quite subdued. Tessa had been unable to understand why, but her natural shyness and lack of social skills led her to retreat to the quietness which she displayed most of her growing years. Her first opportunity came when Professor Hector was discussing the topic of Dr.Green’s talk. The students were keen to talk about string theory, but Tessa jumped into the discussion without any caution “We should ask Dr.Green to talk about his understanding of the multiverse theory and the ramifications.” Professor Hector looked at her contemplatively “So what about it? We need to have something which is debatable, or something which talks about his area of work. You do know he has been studying the math related to black holes?” Tessa nodded eagerly “I am working on my own hypothesis and want to quiz him on certain aspects of it.” There was silence in the room. It was unheard of an undergraduate shooting off a hypothesis without even having done all the grunt work related to years of study. Professor Hector nodded “Tessa you will see me in my lab after class.” She did not bother to listen to the rest of the lecture. The Professor obviously thought her hypothesis was something worth talking about. She felt triumphant.

The day wore on after that; Jane was stressing about some boy she liked, and Tessa only listened enough to know when to nod, but she was already thinking about her future conversation with Professor Hector. When the lab work of the day was about to begin, she decided to miss it and go meet the Professor.

Professor Hector was in his lab, looking at some reading on a mass spectrometer and nodding to a lab assistant, who was earnestly taking notes. She interrupted the Professor without a thought “You want to see me Professor Hector? My hypothesis is about time travel.” The Professor looked at her, frowned and said “Let’s go to my office.” Once there he motioned her to go on. She opened with “I’ve been thinking about the measurement problem.” The Professor looked surprised, but nodded. “We have been looking at vacuum fluctuations – what we assume is ‘empty space’ but where particles appear and disappear continuously. But there is more to this, obviously. What if these particles are going into another dimension? Then the laws of conservation of energy would work, and then we could postulate a number Universes, which together meet with the law of conservation of energy?” Professor Hector said “And? This could well be a corollary of the string theory.” Tessa nodded “Of course, but the dimensions in the string theory have completely different outcomes. Dimensions smaller than the Planck Length is easy to explain, but what if the dimensions can be modeled to show that all the parallel Universes exist on one plane? And there is some connection here – which could explain quantum entanglement and other strange phenomena.” The Professor told her “You need to do the math. And even then, we need more than speculation. It has to have some evidence.” Tessa realized he was letting her down. She was furious.

When Dr.Green came to the campus, he talked about black holes. Spacetime dragging was his area of interest, and he expounded on the mysterious event horizon and leakage of entropy as expected. Tessa listened and held herself back from yelling at him. She was still seething when he started to wind down his lecture. Finally, she could not hold herself back and she shot out of her chair and talking about how every smaller particle seemed to have a smaller one. But what if that was just a manifestation of energy in another Universe? Dr.Green smiled genially and tried to wave her away. But she would not be denied. Ultimately the doctor said he was not sure she should study physics.
It had been a disaster. She felt broken. She was so sure she was onto something, but the experts themselves were not willing to even listen to her. She had done the math! They should listen to her. She was right. She knew it in her bones. But she had had enough for the day. She sulked all of the next week. It was all of unfair. It only spurred her on to work even harder at it.