I got an email today from a CUNY student who was evidently blown away when (s)he came across my old MIT site and said someone should make a movie about me. I'm tickled pink, but I don't know how to respond. It made me want to start collecting and publishing my projects again though-- maybe I'll start with this one:
Yesterday I happened across a couple ESGers watching for a pot to boil. I think they were trying to make it take longer so they wouldn't have to go back to tooling. Alas, according to Mr. Newton, it's just a superstition that a watched pot will take any longer to boil... but I got to thinking: what about Quantum Teapots?
The reasoning goes that if you're diligent enough at observing your teapot, you can force its wave probability function to keep collapsing into a discrete non-boiling state. I decided I needed to do some experiments (well, not *real* experiments-- I am an intellectual after all).
The Technicals: So I built some Newtonian and Quantum Teapots in MATLAB. For simplicity, I only consider conductive heat transfer (no actual boiling in these pots!) across discrete water column elements. Every time step of the Quantum Teapot, I evolve the Schrodinger uncertainty of the water elements in the teapot and then apply the heat equation as a probability superposition of 10 possible discrete energy states.
Sadly, the verdict is that even a zen master meditating on a teapot could not stop it from boiling. My dreams are crushed. Like a PhD comic, gobs of work don't warrant more than one graph:
No matter how hard I looked at the teapots, I couldn't get them to diverge from the Newtonian curve in even vaguely interesting ways.
So I'm unexpected surrounded by boiling quantum teapots. Anyone want some quantum tea?