display | more...

The scene opens in a small room, in what looks to be a small suburban home. There is a party going on in the house, and the muffled music is heard throughout. The door is closed, and four men are sitting around the room. Max Born, moustached and cleanly dressed, is in a wooden chair on the left. Erwin Schrödinger, hair combed back and wearing round glasses, is lying sideways on a couch in the centre. Sharp-faced Werner Heisenberg is sitting in a couch near the window on the right. Ernst Mach, his face obscured by a huge beard, is sitting on the floor in the back, staring out the window. There is smoke hanging in the air, and they all drink from assorted glasses and bottles.

Schrödinger: Man, I'm so bored. This is boring as shit. I don't even know why I'm here.

Heisenberg: Then just leave already, bro.

Schrödinger: I'm high as a hell, man, I can't drive.

Heisenberg: [irritated] Then take a cab, bro.

Schrödinger: Can't, Bohr took all my money, he wanted an ice cream or some shit from the corner store. That guy is such a scab. I'm surprised he's even here, after that orbital shit he's been talking.

Born: That reminds me, dude, I read your Undulatory Theory paper the other day.

Schrödinger: Ah shit, man, I don't wanna talk about quantum physics now. I'm just having a good time.

Heisenberg: Doesn't look like it to me, bro, you've done nothing but complain all night. Plus you've been fuckin' up the rotation.

Born: No, seriously, that shit was good, but you need to start writing it so I can read it. Seriously, that shit took me all day to get through.

Heisenberg: Yeah bro, same here. It's not meant to be like Tolstoy.

Schrödinger: I wrote that years ago anyway, it's mulch now. Useless. I have you to thank for that, Born.

Born: Pfff, that's physics, man.

Schrödinger: I'm not even mad about it.

Mach: Hey, someone pass the blunt.

  Born passes the Marijuana to Mach. He takes a long pull on it, and blows the smoke out the window. A long pause follows, in which they all take contemplative sips of their drinks.

Born: Do you guys ever ask yourselves why we're doing this shit?

Heisenberg: What, bro, the weed? Oh man, I love this song. If you havin' girl problems I feel bad for you son, I got ninety-nine problems but a bitch ain't one.

Born: No, dude, the physics. I mean, when was the last time anyone thanked us for doing physics?

Schrödinger: I saw a guy the other day hugging his fucking mailman.

Heisenberg: It's just what we do, bro. Would you want to be a mailman, even if they did hug you?

  A pause.

Schrödinger: We'd all make shitty mailmen anyway.

Born: But we don't even get the answers. We can't say what is the state after a collision, only how probable the different results are. We've created a system where there is no quantity that causally fixes the effect of a collision in an event.

Heisenberg: Yeah, that's pretty fucked up, bro.

Schrödinger: Can we just not talk about it?

Heisenberg: No, bro, I feel you on this one. The more I think about the physical meaning of it, the more disturbing it is.

Schrödinger: Wow, big words there, bro.

Heisenberg: Hey, fuck you, why do you have to get like this every time we hang out?

Born: Just ignore him, man, he's wasted. In half an hour he'll be unconscious, I guarantee it.

Schrödinger: Oh come on, God knows I'm no friend of probability theory, I've hated it since the first moment when you thought it up [talking to Born], but it's easy, and that's the end of it. It doesn't have to make sense if it works, so just drop it.

  The door opens (stage left), and David Bohm pokes his head in. He is a tall, skinny man with a wide grin.

Bohm: Wassup, guys?

  Bohm closes the door, to block out the blaring house music from the next room.

Heisenberg: B-man, bro, what's happenin'?

Mach: Yo.

Bohm: Yo yo, Mach! [laughs] Get it? Oh, hey, you guys are smoking? Pass it here.

  Mach passes the marijuana to Bohm, who takes a pull of it, smiles broadly and begins to bounce on his heels.

Schrödinger: Do you think you guys could turn it down out there? I can hardly hear myself think.

Bohm: Sorry, dude, but it's pretty wild out there. Pauli throws a pretty fuckin' sick party.

Schrödinger: [despondently] Yeah, so I hear.

Bohm: So, what's up in here? You guys aren't partying?

Bohr: No, we were just having a very civil discussion about quantum physics. Shit, it's Saturday night, you know how it is.

Bohm: [smiling and still bouncing a little] Oh yeah, who's winning? I suppose Schrödinger doesn't want to talk about it, huh?

Heisenberg: Dead on, bro.

Bohm: Yeah, well, haters gonna hate.

Heisenberg: Fuckin' A, bro.

Bohm: Well, since we're on the topic, I've been thinking.

Schrödinger: Oh, here we go.

Bohm: Have any of you guys ever thought that maybe it's the data that's wrong? There's no device that can measure an electron's position and velocity at the same time anyway, so how do you justify a probabilistic model?

  A pause.

Bohm: Shit, this dope it strong, man.

Schrödinger: Just go back to the party, Bohm.

Bohm looks a bit disappointed, and leaves the room.

Born: That's some heavy shit right there, man. I'll think about that.

Heisenberg: I dunno, bro. Thinking like that doesn't get you anywhere. If we've been doing it all wrong, like, everything, then what else should we do?

Schrödinger: Become fucking mailmen.

Mach: Quantum Mechanics is a man-made generalization conveniently formulated to account for various experimental observations. Just do the maths and pass the blunt.

Heisenberg: Do the maths, get respect, smoke trees. That's wisdom, bro.

End scene.


Inspired by a lecture that I attended earlier this year, in which the woman who gave it had invented a fictional argument between the four physicists here. I stole the idea and ran with it. Of course, these four men could never have had a conversation like this at all. When Mach died, Heisenberg was 15 years old and Bohm was stem cells.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.