David Madore's WebLog: Gratuitous Literary Fragment #32 (behind the scenes)

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(Wednesday)

Gratuitous Literary Fragment #32 (behind the scenes)

—Well, naturally, when a physicist is doing an experiment we have to be extra careful to work things correctly. But most of the time the laws need to be applied only approximately. Up to the 1900's we didn't even implement relativity and quantum mechanics, you know. In fact, they weren't even invented: to tell the truth, quantum mechanics was just a dirty hack we worked when they started probing too deep into matter. We hoped they'd give up when they didn't understand anything, you know, but they went on digging. Now we thought of a better way to keep things beyond their reach: just push the problems away at energies they can't reach. That was a stroke of genius! But really, most of the time, we don't need careful computations, you know: just make the apples fall and so on.

—Nice.

—We live on low credits, you know, so we have to deal with it. We don't get nearly as much as the Mathematickers, down the hall. Now they have to be extra careful: if they make a single mistake, the whole edifice might fall apart, you know.

—Really?

—Really. They had some trouble with a chap a while back, you know. “Gödel” I believe the name was. Troublesome fellow. Had to work out a very special trap for him. Nearly caused us to have to Go Back And Correct—and that's against the Rules, you know. But it worked out fine in the end. But the Mathematickers can't fool around nearly so much as us Physickers.

—No, I guess not…

—Except when restaurant checks are involved, of course. Or computers. Computers are great fun for all of us. Everyone agrees that the Rules don't apply to them. I should tell you a story that happened with the number 458, by the way…

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