10 October, 2002

Micro-Biology & Quantum Physics

Today I viewed an exhibit put on by artist Bonita Day. It was... quite unique. She used microbiology as the subject of her works, and she intermixed them with human technologies.

One of her creations takes electrical conduit and jumbles it around a grand piano in such a way that she is mimicking strands of ribonucleic acids.

It is very weird.

Another sculpture is of a wall built of blocks, but the faces on each side of each block are missing. Inside some of the blocks are ceramic 'chromosomes', the building blocks of life. Get it? Building blocks inside building blocks.


Needless to say, I did not enjoy her exhibit very much. It was just not my kind of thing, I guess. It reminded me too much of abstract art, even though she was modeling her sculptures after actual things.


Oh, and she also had an interesting painting on a wood panel; the panel was divided into four sections, three of which depicted micro-organisms while the fourth showed a virus. The title of the panel was: One of These is Not Like the Other.

But what bothered me the most was not the creations themselves, but the prices on them. For example:
Cell Nest, Ceramic and found electrical hardware, 1999 -- $1500
Conduit: Transverse Sections, Ceramic and electrical conduit, 2001 -- $4500
Segment: Genetic Continuum, Ceramic and copper pipe, 1999 -- $4500
Tissue: Structure for Replication Matter, Ceramic, 1999 -- $5000

I wonder if she actually sells these at those prices.

If so, then perhaps I should be an artist, too. I wonder what I could get for some of my abstract creations...


My library books are overdue. I'm discouraged because I haven't yet finished reading them. What with starting to keep an online diary and midterm exams and all, I just haven't had the time.

19 credit hours is a lot more than I thought it would be.

Yet at the same time, I find myself wishing for more classes. I could handle more, I think; and it would allow me to learn so much more...


I'm being wistful again, aren't I? I always turn back to that old standby, whether I choose to or not.

I'm currently reading Michio Kaku's Introduction To Superstrings. I know about Superstrings already, but not on a mathematical level, and that is what this book is explaining to me.

I love physics, but sometimes it just makes my head hurt.

Lots of things are like that, I guess. Like ice cream, Magic, and Axis & Allies. Even StarCraft makes my head hurt after eight hours straight of playing.

Too much of a good thing...

::sigh:: And so I sigh. Again. Despite the fact that I realize that I sigh way too often.


I've been working on my website the past couple of days. It's really turning out well, I think. I only hope that I can get it to be as I want it before too long.

Being at college is weird... It's like I have so much free time, and yet I have none at all.

Ironically, although superstring theory is supposed to provide a unified field theory of the universe, the theory itself often seems like a confused jumble of folklore, random rules of thumb, and intuition. This is because the development of superstring theory has been unlike that of any other theory, such as general relativity, which began with a geometry and an action and later evolved into a quantum theory. Superstring theory, by contrast, has been evolving backward for the past 20 years. It has a bizarre history, beginning with the purely accidental discovery of the quantum theory in 1968 by G. Veneziano and M. Suzuki.

Thumbing through old math books, they stumbled by chance on the Beta function, written down in the last century by mathematician Leonhard Euler. To their amazement, they discovered that the Beta function satisfied almost all the stringent requirements of the scattering matrix describing particle interactions. Never in the history of physics has an important scientific discovery been made in quite this random fashion.

Superstring theory is fun... It's like a giant puzzle; nothing makes sense, yet the equations always work. There's got to be some basic underlying theme, but no one seems to know what it is.

It's like we're getting a sneak peek into the future... It is as though general relativity had been discovered in the seventeenth century; all the equations would work out great, but nobody would have the slightest clue as to what was going on. It is as though we know something that we weren't supposed to figure out for a long, long time...

I love physics. But at the same time, physics depresses me.

I have no one to talk physics to.

I remember, long ago, I'd lay down on the floor and work physics problems, trying to recreate with my own hand what Einstein did one hundred years before me. My friends would be around me, and despite the fact that they weren't really into physics, they still talked and argued with me while I lay on that floor, scribbling notes on the back of envelopes. They were my sounding board; they kept me sane.

Those were the good old days.

But now, I have no one. My friends are away, not by their doing, but rather by mine. So I have none to blame but myself.

I could call Greg, I guess. He's always been there for me in the past. He is, in many ways, my best friend. But even as I think this thought, I shy away from the telephone.

Why? Why am I avoiding my friends?

"I'm not avoiding them."

Yes, I am. You're not busy right now. Why not spend time with them?

"Because I'm writing in my diary."

Then what about afterward?

"I need to go to sleep afterwards. I need my rest."

But --

"No. I will call my friends later."


I can't even win an argument against myself. How pathetic is that?

Well, at least I am writing my thoughts here. At least I am not avoiding myself.

At least you will listen to me, won't you, my diary?


"...sleep, perchance to dream..."

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