The lyrics of quantum mechanics

02 Sep

If a child can understand quantum mechanics slightly better by hearing a poem or song then so much the better.

In quantum mechanics there is the notion of complementarity: two contrasting theories or entities which are relevant to the same phenomena under different conditions. An example is the wave and particle aspect of a particle.

Many poems, especially in the Bible, employ pairs of words which are complementary, as a poetic means of disrupting expectation of meanings. A modern example is the emotion expressed in some of the song lyrics of Alanis Morisette’s Hand in my pocket:

I’m free but I’m focused

I’m short but I’m healthy

I care but I’m restless

The pattern of these lyrics has a resonance with an aspect of quantum mechanics, in a way that articles, textbooks or papers could never do.