Archive for September, 2006


Pauli can’t walk through walls

I heard a deeply satisfying idea this week.

During quantum mechanics class the professor threw out a random comment that addressed an unvoiced question I’ve had for years. His flippant comment was something like …and the Pauli exclusion principle keeps my hand from passing through the table. While the rest of the class continued to look stunned I was jolted from my reverie. In case you don’t share my feeling of profundity yet let me set the stage.

Most people have had some exposure to physics. Since many instances of physics exposure is under duress the good teachers will attempt to make it more interesting by sharing the weird and wacky parts of science. One of those parts is that everything we see and touch is primarily made up of empty space. The geeky class members (like myself) immediately begin thinking about how things interact when they are made up of all that empty space. The best explaination I’d heard (before this week) about why solid objects don’t pass through each other was to invoke electro-magnetism and let the waves duke it out.

How quickly can your world change with a simple word, phrase, or sentence?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan | No Comments »