Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Leaping Danes

Reading Manjit Kumar's Quantum, and suddenly realizing that Kierkegaard, famous for his "leap of faith," is the countryman of Niels Bohr, whose landmark paper on "The Quantum Atom" explained the orbits of electrons around the nucleus as confined to quantized energy levels, such that an electron didn't travel between lower and higher orbits, but made a "quantum leap" from one to the other, without existing in the intervening space.

Not an original observation, saith Google, but curious.


  1. I'm reading it too, as the trial-from-hell permits. I'm in the odd state of having two books going at once, the court packing book and Quantum.

    Interesting observation about those mysterious leaps occurring to the Danes.

  2. Let's hope no quantum irregularities arise at the trial-court level of reality. Or at least that they favor your client.

    ... It's a pretty good book, though like any pop account of a mathematically-apprehended reality, the piling on of analogies collapses at some point. (Insert wave-collapse metaphor here.) One day I'm going to teach myself calculus ....

  3. I sort of self-taught myself statistics. It came in mildly handy at the trial this week, when a witness (a nurse hired by an insurance company to examine claims) started spouting about work someone else had done using a regression analysis to identify anomalous claims.

    A few moments batting it around as if I knew the lingo and the judge wasn't going to let her talk about that.

    We've got quite a cast of characters in court, some you may know (me, Merrida Coxwell, Chokwe Lamumba, others from other regions perhaps just as disparately colorful). In a federal court criminal trial, normal Newtonian physics pretty much point in one direction. I think the job of a defense counsel may be to produce quantum irregularities.

    There! Is that what you mean by piling on of analogies?

  4. Well done. I need to see if I can't read about this trial in the paper somewhere. How's Chokwe? He got an acquaintance of mine thrown in jail for delivering discovery documents to his law office (aka "trespassing").