Actually, it isn’t a theory — just some observations, and it certainly isn’t unified in the Einsteinian sense. I guess it’s more a set of cosmic connections, or, more likely, neat coincidences.
On Wednesday we started the long ride from Greenville to Williamsburg, Virginia. We planned to catch several productions of the Virigina Shakespeare Festival, including a production of Copenhagen, by Michael Fayn, which was directed by our friend Richard Palmer. As is our custom on long drives, we had several books on tape. This time, we listened to Timeline, by Michael Crichton. The story is overall pretty good, but gets hokey in some places. It deals with a group that has somehow develop a quantum computer to send people back in time through wormholes in the quantum foam that exists at levels below the atomic nucleus. The wormholes connected to alternate universes, not necessarily in the same time sequence as ours, hence the ability to move to one along a different timeline. As in his “Jurassic Park”, Crichton’s antagonist wants to build a realistic theme park based on actual observations of the past. I’ll let you read the book (or see the movie this fall) to see what he gets for his troubles.
And then we arrive in Colonial Williamsburg. During the tours Thursday morning, I thought that we, too had stepped through a quantum wormhole into another universe. However, this universe couldn’t be anything like the Williamsburg reality of the 1700’s. It was more like a colonial fantasyland, as one of the guides actually said. While it was a neat experience, the idea that most of the buildings were reconstructed in the 1930’s made it seem somehow unreal. Everything look too neat and uniform, from the extremely clean colonial clothes right down to the bricks. A surviving brick wall from colonial times was almost random in color and size. I especially liked the absolutely colonial sunglasses one of the village inhabitants wore. At almost every tour stop, the docents kept expounding Virginia as the center of the American Colonial, and it’s importance in the Revolution. All those other colonies didn’t matter one whit.
Thursday night we saw Copenhagen. The play centers on one event in 1941 – a trip made by Werner Heisenburg from Germany to Copenhagen, to see his friend and mentor, Niels Bohr. The play speculates on what might have passed between the two, since one worked with Nazi Germany and the other was a Jew in an occupied land. As much philosophy as physics, the dialog applied Heisenburg’s Uncertanty Principal to life, the decisions one makes, and how humans perceive their own existence. The discussions of quantum mechanics in the play harkened back to our drive, and the Crichton novel, and the foolishness of thinking that we are at the center of of our own universe, in isolation of everything else, made me think about all the comments from the Virginia guides. The play also made frequent references to Ilsnore and Hamlet, thus the tie-in to the Shakespeare Festival.
It must be noted that Wednesday night we did one of the ghost walks. It was absolutely a waste of time. I don’t believe in ghosts one bit, but I do like a good story. Our guide was so dry and pedantic that we soon got very, very bored and left the tour half-way through it. It was like sitting (or, in this case, walking) through one of the dryest history lectures you might imagine.