Superfluidity

Years ago, in a galaxy far far away, I once co-wrote a 20-page college paper on the study of quantum vortex and EPR condensation in superfluid 3He.

Our choice of topic was essentially guided by these insanely cool videos depicting blobs of superfluid helium making their way out of a container all by themselves, so lively you’d expect them to jump at the experimenters and start hatching eggs.

Unfortunately the equation part was much less exciting, leading us very naturally to cook up a few results through the tested and approved algorithm of “resolution through ultimate obfuscation”. This is the method where you fill half a page with crazy developments up to a point where it is quite painfully clear you are not getting anywhere, then pull some random bullshit argument out of the closest cavity at hand, and jumps to the result you were out to prove in the first place. I had a few incredibly talented teachers in this particular technical skill.

A basic example might be something like:

Step 1: 1 + 1 = 2
<=> Step 2: 4*∫0+π/2cos(x)dx + Σ .9(1/10)k = 2
<=> Step 3: – ∞ψ(x,y,z)dx * δ(1.2) + Σ ρe = δ φ#$@#$(*&&&(#!~%$%42))

[…]

Step 99: By using a nabla decomposition, we then easily extract the following result:

<=> 1 + 1 = 1

etc.

As you can imagine, the final result, albeit quite impressive by its depth and the sort of topic covered, was very much sub-standard, scientifically speaking. We managed to blow enough smoke in the room during our lengthy presentation to get a tired nod from our supervisor, who knew a thing or two about resolution through ultimate obfuscation himself. Quite obviously, the perspective to skip lunch mattered more to him than the potential reasoning flaws in our work.

Yet, the blatantly poor level of research of this paper didn’t prevent it, through some bizarre quirk of fate, from littering the darker recesses of the Intarweb, whence it was regularly pulled by hopeful young students in science who would then proceed to track me down and contact me to inquire about the very interesting way we seemed to get to that result on page 14 and these incredibly useful properties exhibited by the results on page 17, not to mention, these potential applications, heretofore unheard of, discussed on page 18…

Of course, I felt bad for the poor guys and their crushed spirits when I had to tell them that, actually, black magic and distilled alcohol played a major role in the way these results had been obtained, but on the other hand, there was little I could do.

Yet I knew that karma would come and byte me nasty in the arse one day. And it did.

It probably sounded like a good idea to my esteemed professor to ask me to present this as a validating paper to my previous years of monkeying around.

One of the burning question of these past few months has been then: Will I be able, either through acting class or with personal help from the manes of Richard Feynman and Niels Bohr, to make a sufficiently convincing adaptation of that brilliant piece of work, sustaining a second, possibly more critical observation, come the end of June?

The answer, in short: No

I will be spending a very studious Summer, busy figuring out new and inventive ways to amend the laws of physics to fit my needs.

In other news, I’m boarding my flight for Nihonland tomorrow. Get the sake ready. loads thereof.

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