【Nature Physics奇文共赏】 How to lose the one you love

2014年1月31日的《Nature Physics》发表了一篇题为《How to lose the one you love》的文章,描述了一个实验物理学家无法自拔地暗恋一名小提琴妹子的故事。研究证明,为了忘记你心爱的人,你需要用量子力学把自己传输到一个没有她的宇宙。(转自知乎)

这篇论文我看了两遍,大感惊讶。Nature Physics是Nature的子刊,影响因子超高的,没想到在这种刊物上也会出现这类文章。

论文的基调很忧伤,主人公(物理学家)无可自拔的爱上了住在同一栋公寓的小提琴妹子,却只是单相思,不能得到回应。

在遇到小提琴妹子之前,他从未遇到一个令他如此心动的女孩。

That said, I have to admit that Jillian was truly one to die for. I’d never seen a woman whose visage struck me so deeply — smack-dab in my gut, and various regions nearby. Whenever I saw her in the flesh, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would insinuate itself into my brain, and I would reel in response to the ecstasy of her divine musical theme.

Many wise men throughout the ages have written about this sensation. Suffice it for me to say that, if she were a predator and I were her prey, I’d gladly give up my bodily organs for her to feast upon.

可是,他却无法向她表白。除了住在同一所公寓,两人的生活完全没有交集。小提琴妹子甚至不知道这位物理学家的存在,而且她已经有男朋友了。

Unfortunately, that was never to be. Jillian didn’t even know I existed. Complete bummer.

And why shouldn’t that be the case? I was an experimental physicist and she a talented concert violinist. We had nothing at all in common between us, aside from the fact that we both lived in the same apartment building. Furthermore, judging from my surreptitious surveillance of her, she already had an intimate relationship with her orchestra’s bassoon player. Even more of a complete bummer. In the time it would take me to become a competent enough bassoonist to challenge his role, all the protons in the Universe would have disintegrated.

It was a no-win situation.

为了忘记心爱的妹子,他想到了一个办法:利用自己的量子物理学知识,设计一个实验装置,毁灭多个平行宇宙中的自己,让自己只存在于一个没有小提琴妹子的宇宙。也就是相当于把自己传输到一个没有她的宇宙,这样自己就不会再想着她了。正所谓“Out of sight, out of mind.”。

于是,为了应对这份不可能有回报的爱,我们这位苦情的物理学家设计了一个实验方案。

1) One big-assed electrical generator, capable of delivering instantaneous jolts of 20 or more amps on demand.

2) Two very large copper cables connected to the positive and negative poles of said generator, terminating in handgrips that you will grasp while standing barefoot in a tub of salt water.

3) A quantum trigger. An old radium-dial watch will do nicely.

4) A photomultiplier tube, to detect the random photons that emanate from the radium source.

5) A video camera, focused on the page of the telephone directory that lists the name of your love interest.

6) A PC programmed to fire off the generator’s output when instructed by the quantum trigger, but also to cease firing when the video camera detects the disappearance of said name in the directory.

Simple, right? Remember, you both win and lose. The radium watch dial can either produce a photon within the computer’s scanning cycle, or not. Both possibilities are real. The ‘you’ that survives this process will be the winner, set free, free, free. No more Jillian. No more love dilemma.

True, millions — possibly billions, trillions, quadrillions — of yourselves will die to get there. But they’re just bodies under the bridge.

上面的实验方案看起来很合理,于是我们不禁要问:他成功了吗?

答案是否定的。聪明的读者会感到疑惑:若是这位物理学家成功了,那他肯定就忘记了心爱的小提琴妹子,这篇论文怎么还会存在呢?

Yet, it’s not all so simple. The astute reader will question why and how I can refer to Jillian at all in my tale, when she has never existed in my current Universe.

这位悲催的物理学家最后没有拉下开关,因为他无法想象活在一个没有爱过她的宇宙。

The answer? I never pulled that quantum trigger. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I just couldn’t envisage living in a Universe where I didn’t love Jillian.

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附:

How to lose the one you love

如何忘却你挚爱的人

Gary Cuba

Nature Physics 10, 172 (2014) | doi:10.1038/nphys2886

Published online 31 January 2014

Out of sight, out of mind.

眼不见,心不念。

First off, the obligatory warning. Don’t try this at home, kids! In the hands of inexperienced laymen, the method I am about to describe will inevitably be a disaster. Like, fatal-type disaster. Consider yourself forewarned.

首先,我必须警告的是:孩子,千万不要在家里尝试这个! 因为我准备描述的方法倘若经外行之手,将会不可避免地造成一场灾难。类似致命的灾难。请预先考虑此警告。

That said, I have to admit that Jillian was truly one to die for. I’d never seen a woman whose visage struck me so deeply — smack-dab in my gut, and various regions nearby. Whenever I saw her in the flesh, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would insinuate itself into my brain, and I would reel in response to the ecstasy of her divine musical theme.

不过,我不得不承认,Jillian是一个让我心甘情愿为之赴死的人。 我从来没有遇见过这样一个女孩,她的容貌深深地打动了我——让我辗转反侧,茶饭不思。 每当我见其真容,就如被摩门唱诗班的魔音穿脑一般,为她神圣的主题旋律而忘形不已。

Many wise men throughout the ages have written about this sensation. Suffice it for me to say that, if she were a predator and I were her prey, I’d gladly give up my bodily organs for her to feast upon.

古往今来,许多哲人都书写了这种感觉。 这样表述于我足矣:如果她是一个捕猎者,而我是她的猎物,那么我会很乐意为了她的一顿盛宴而粉身碎骨。

Unfortunately, that was never to be. Jillian didn’t even know I existed. Complete bummer.

不幸的是,这永远不可能发生。Jillian甚至都不知道我的存在。真是郁闷之极!

And why shouldn’t that be the case? I was an experimental physicist and she a talented concert violinist. We had nothing at all in common between us, aside from the fact that we both lived in the same apartment building. Furthermore, judging from my surreptitious surveillance of her, she already had an intimate relationship with her orchestra’s bassoon player. Even more of a complete bummer. In the time it would take me to become a competent enough bassoonist to challenge his role, all the protons in the Universe would have disintegrated.

为什么这不应该发生呢? 我是一个实验物理学家,她是一个有才华的小提琴演奏家。 除了住在同一栋公寓,我们之间毫无共同点。而且,从我对她的暗中关注来看,她已经与乐团里的一个巴松管手建立了亲密关系。这更让人感到郁闷! 要等我成为一个足够优秀的巴松管手,并足以挑战他之时,时间已经漫长得宇宙中所有的质子都要解体了。

It was a no-win situation.

这是一个注定会输的局面。

Which is why I began to contemplate suicide.

这就是为什么我开始想到自杀。

Trouble was, I didn’t want to die. All I wanted to do was to forget about Jillian, completely and irrevocably. Then I could move on with my life. It was a real dilemma. Just as it is, I’m sure, for a million other sociophobic nerds like me.

问题是,我并不是想死。所有我想要做的只是彻底地、义无反顾地忘掉Jillian。然后,我就可以继续我的生活。这是一个真正的困境。只因为它是,我敢肯定,千百万跟我一样不谙社交的书呆子所面临的困境。

So here is where it gets a little complicated. Stay with me; don’t sweat the physics stuff. It’s not that hard to follow.

因此,问题到这儿变得有点复杂。请跟着我的思路,不要因为物理的东西而有畏难情绪。 这并没有那么难以理解。

JACEY

Quantum mechanics boils down to one simple principle: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you get rained out. You can’t be sure of the result until you read about it in the sports section of the newspaper.

量子力学可以归结为一个简单的原则:有时你赢了,有时你输了,有时比赛延期了。 你不能肯定结果会如何,直到你在报纸的体育版读到它。

But that’s just one interpretation — and there’s every reason to believe it’s the wrong one. We both win and lose. We go on to glory in one version of the Universe, and go down to ignominious defeat in another. (And, not to neglect the other possibility, we get soaking wet in a third.) The field of play is called the multiverse.

但是,这只是一种解释——而且有充分的理由相信它是错误的。我们同时赢了和输掉了比赛。在一个宇宙中,我们赢得比赛,走向辉煌;在另一个版本的宇宙中,我们遭受了惨痛的失败。 (而且,不要忽略了其它的可能性,我们也可能在第三种假设中淋得浑身湿透。)这个比赛场地被称为多重宇宙。

But you already knew that, right? Lately, it’s all over TV, movies and the Internet. Few, however, realize that the concept is more than 50 years old. Sometimes it takes that long to agglomerate something into the popular zeitgeist.

但你已经知道这个概念了,对不对? 最近,它出现都在电视,电影和互联网上。然而却很少有人意识到,这个概念已经提出来超过50年了。有时需要那么长的时间来把一样东西凝聚成流行的时代思潮。

It may be difficult to understand how we can exploit this fact to our personal benefit — but that’s what this exposition is all about.

可能很难理解我们该如何利用这一事实来服务于我们的个人利益——但这次的阐述全是关于这个的。

Like I said, don’t sweat the small stuff. Bottom line, here’s what you need to kludge together to solve the age-old problem of unrequited love:

就像我说的,不要为区区小事感到棘手。总之,要解决单恋这个老问题,你只需要把这些东西组装起来:

1) One big-assed electrical generator, capable of delivering instantaneous jolts of 20 or more amps on demand.

1)一台庞大的发电机,能够提供20安培以上的瞬时电流。

2) Two very large copper cables connected to the positive and negative poles of said generator, terminating in handgrips that you will grasp while standing barefoot in a tub of salt water.

2)两根很粗的铜缆,分别连接上述发电机的正负两极,末端连接两个手把以便于你赤脚站在食盐水的浴缸时握着它们。

3) A quantum trigger. An old radium-dial watch will do nicely.

3)量子触发器。 一个老式的镭手表就很好。

4) A photomultiplier tube, to detect the random photons that emanate from the radium source.

4)一个光电倍增管,用于检测从镭源随机发出的光子。

5) A video camera, focused on the page of the telephone directory that lists the name of your love interest.

5)一台摄像机,对着列出你所爱之人姓名的电话目录那一页。

6) A PC programmed to fire off the generator’s output when instructed by the quantum trigger, but also to cease firing when the video camera detects the disappearance of said name in the directory.

6)一台编程控制的PC,当收到量子触发器的指示启动发电机的输出,发射电流;当摄像机检测到的电话目录上名字消失的时候,停止发射。

Simple, right? Remember, you both win and lose. The radium watch dial can either produce a photon within the computer’s scanning cycle, or not. Both possibilities are real. The ‘you’ that survives this process will be the winner, set free, free, free. No more Jillian. No more love dilemma.

很简单,对吧? 请记住,你同时赢了和输了。镭手表的表盘既可以在电脑的扫描周期内产生一个光子,也可以不产生。这两种可能性都是真实的。经历这一过程,生存下来的那个“你”将是赢家,从此自由、自由、自由了。再没有Jallian,再没有爱情的困境。

True, millions — possibly billions, trillions, quadrillions — of yourselves will die to get there. But they’re just bodies under the bridge.

诚然,为了达到这个目的,数以百万计——可能是数十亿、万亿、千万亿的你自己将会死去。 但他们只是无名之辈。

Yet, it’s not all so simple. The astute reader will question why and how I can refer to Jillian at all in my tale, when she has never existed in my current Universe.

然而,这不是全都如此简单。 细心的读者会问,如果Jillian从来没有存在于我目前的宇宙,我为何还会在我的故事里提到她?

The answer? I never pulled that quantum trigger. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I just couldn’t envisage living in a Universe where I didn’t love Jillian.

答案呢? 我从未拉动量子触发器的开关。骂我是一个无可救药的浪漫主义者吧,我只是无法想象活在一个我没有爱过Jallian的宇宙。

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Gary Cuba’s speculative fiction has appeared in more than 50 magazines and anthologies, including Jim Baen’s Universe, Flash Fiction Online, Daily SF and Grantville Gazette: Universe Annex. He lives in South Carolina with his wife and an inordinate number of freeloading critters. See thefoggiestnotion.com

 

原文地址:http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v10/n2/pdf/nphys2886.pdf

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