QUANTUM MEMORIES

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2013, we were having our traditional Friday evening dinner. There were no small kids around so we had a good conversation. I do not know what reminded me of my flight from Israel to Argentina on September 15 1952. My parents were on their way to Oxford where my father was invited to finish his PhD thesis with professor Peters, and we were on our way to stay with our father's parents in Argentina for eight months, so my parents would be free to study. Well, it is easy to remember the date of the flight back to Argentina, since when we were on the flight my sister called the stewardess and told her that it was my 10th birthday, upon which I received as present - a Droste chocolate box, one of those metal boxes with an enamel look, painted in the traditional blue and white. The box later became the box in my father's tool cabinet for many years, that’s where he kept used nails and screws. Of course it was a Dutch box, we always flew KLM Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (all those Dutch words with double letters). My father was born in Holland, both he and my mother escaped from Nazi occupied Holland in 1942. My father had just finished his medical studies in Amsterdam and of course when the war started, he could not continue for his PhD. In 1942, when Jewish young men started disappearing my parents escaped via France then Spain to Argentina, where my grandfather happened to have been when WWII started. There he was accepted as a refugee young scientist in Professor Bernardo Houssays' laboratory in Buenos Aires (Professor Houssay received the Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine, 1947). We immigrated to Israel in 1950. Despite the horrible history, my parents loved Holland, and admired prewar European culture. Dutch friends had risked their lives helping them escape, my mother got her passport from Tieneke (Tina Strobos was the girl-friend of Bram Pais who was a good friend of my parents), Tienekes' picture in the passport was substituted for my mothers' by my aunt who was an artist working in the underground where she practiced how to change pictures in lifesaving documents. Bram Pais was the last jewish student to get his Ph.D in Amsterdam University during the war. He became a well-known theoretical physicist at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, and wrote, amongst other works, Biographies of Einstein and Bohr. That Friday evening in 2013, at the dinner table were me and my husband, my sister - 2 years younger than me- and hers, and my oldest son with his companion. I said that the strangest memory I have from that flight is when we went to bed (it was a very long flight then, in pre-jet plane times) the overhead compartment opened and there was the bed, all fluffy white cushions and white eiderdown blanket, and it sensed strange sleeping like in clouds amidst the clouds we were flying through. The reaction was soon to come from my sister. She is a true mathematician with absolute respect for the truth. This is sooo improbable you surely must have made this fantastic memory up. Memories get tainted when coming from so far back. I insisted I did. (We always have such arguments, most of the times my sister is right, and that’s why I almost started crying!). It got heated, and we started thinking of other memories. So, were there or were there not such beds on airplanes? Is Shroedingers' cat dead or alive? Quantum theory inspired thinking hissed - one needs an observation. In a quiet tone, my son's companion asks what was the model of the airplane. Both my sister and me in unison cried out - DC6B (my father loved and admired airplanes, he was a great admirer even of less imposing gadgets, and he insisted we remember the model of the vehicle). Vered opens her I-PAD. There are only two possibilities: yes or no. Yes! (with actual pictures of the beds on the DC6B). It helped for a while. My memories are still being questioned. How difficult it is to observe the past. And the answer is most of the times a true quantum one, yes and no until observed.

About the Author: 
I am a retired scientist. Now housewife, tending to my family, and having fun reading and studying.