Bill Klem Quote

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 27 22:11:22 UTC 2011

Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> If you think I'm kidding...
> Heisenberg published his Uncertainty Principle in 1927.
> Schroedinger revealed his cruel cat experiment in 1935.
> That means that the three-umpire version possibly antedates both - or
> (perhaps more likely) may have been intended to to comment on both.
> Anyway, that's how I want to look at.

JL: There is a simple analogy to quantum mechanical wave function
collapse according to some versions of the Copenhagen interpretation.
Initially, the pitched sphere traveling toward the catcher is in a
superposition of states. It is neither/both a "strike" and a "ball".
The umpire pronounces his "measurement" and the wave function
collapses. After the collapse it is possible to correctly label the
pitch a "ball" or a "strike". Before the wave function collapse the
pitch is neither/both a "ball" and a "strike".

In other words: "They ain't nothin' until I call 'em" as Charlie Moran
may have said on or before 1947. This analogy is oversimplified and
sloppy, but the fraction of the population that understands the
epistemological implications of quantum mechanics is vanishingly
small. Also members of this group are the most likely to understand
that the analogy is supposed to be humorous.

The American Dialect Society -

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