Quantum Quotes

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When Dr. Maya placed the graded final exam face down on my desk, I already knew I needed to cancel my plans for summer. It was the last day of the semester and when I flipped it over, I saw a letter which I knew did not stand for "Farewell."
As soon as class was over, I quickly grabbed my things and made a beeline for the door, but not without being interrupted. "Ms. Smith," Dr. Maya called in my direction, "may I see you at my desk?" Already feeling defeated, I debated my next move. I could leave and change my major to something that did not require the subject, or I could simply hear what the professor had to say. Inches away from the door, I (albeit reluctantly) turned around.
Standing behind her desk, the professor waited as I took a seat in the front row for the first time in her class. By now, we were alone as my classmates, eager to start their summers, left in record time. "Is there any reason you can think of," she began, "why I should give you a passing grade?" The question caught me off-guard, leaving me in search for an answer. I opened my mouth but eventually closed it. The professor continued. "You do realize, Ms. Smith, that failing my class will make you ineligible for your scholarship." It was a truth I had yet to consider. Even so, I couldn’t think of a good enough reason for a passing grade.
While I tried to understand it, Quantum Physics was like the Black Hole, where grasping the concept caused a distortion in space and time, leaving me clueless. Realizing this may have been my only chance at redemption, however, I knew I needed to say something. “If you would allow me to retake the test,” I started cautiously, “I believe I can make a passing grade.”
It was true I had studied for the first test, but there was one very important thing I knew I needed to change. “And how,” Dr. Maya asked, “might your score differ a second time around?” Of all the questions she’d ever asked me, this was the easiest to answer. “I will change my words.”
“Excuse me?”
In preparation for taking the first test, I had repeatedly told myself that I would fail. I knew this is what I needed to change. “Dr. Maya, I will change my confession.” The confused look on her face made it clear she didn’t understand.
Catching a glimpse outside of the lovely late spring flowers and the rambunctious students gathering on campus, I had to refocus on the topic at hand. “You see, Dr. Maya,” I said, “before I took the first test, I repeatedly told myself I would fail.” The professor nodded and listened on.“My grandmother always told me that words have power... that they are much more than just words.” I wasn’t sure if I was losing her or if she was following.
“Do you remember when you taught us about Zero-Point Energy, Dr. Maya?”
“A better question, Ms. Smith, is, ‘Do you remember?’”
I stood up and went to the board. “Why, yes I do.” Picking up the dry erase marker, I wrote:
Zero Point Energy→ Nothing has 0 energy
Looking at the board, the professor’s response came without amusement.“So what’s your point?”
“My point is, Dr. Maya, that everything has energy, including the words that we speak.” She took a seat and I took the liberty to teach a little more. I wrote the following on the board:
Decoherence says that when a quantum system is not isolated, it will leak information to its surroundings.
“Rather than on the board,” Dr. Maya observed, “it would have been nice if you wrote that on the test, Ms. Smith.”
I nodded in agreement. Unscathed by her comment, I continued.
“Basically, what I’m saying Dr. Maya is that, as the quantum system, my words leaked information to my surroundings demanding that I fail the test.” I paused half-expecting an objection. When none came, I continued.
“If nothing has zero energy, then my negative words had energy. And that energy teleported themselves through decoherence into my surroundings, making my words become reality.” Dr. Maya probed for clarity. "So," she began, elbow on her desk and deep in thought. "If I have this right, are you saying that words are things?" My response came naturally. "There are only two possibilities: yes or no." Pausing for a moment, I added, "But if I had to make a choice, the answer is 'yes.’" The professor shifted in her seat.
“Now,” she challenged, “my only question is can you prove it scientifically?” It seemed to be a question for a heavyweight in the field of Quantum Physics, not someone who just flunked the subject with flying colors, a.k.a. “Little ol’ Me”. Nevertheless, I was always up for a good challenge. “Dr. Maya, are you asking me if I can prove that words, whether written or spoken are things, measurable by science and have quantifiable power?”
“One moment please.” Quickly grabbing a sheet of paper from my notebook, I jotted down the following:
I will not flunk Quantum Physics this semester and will be given a second chance to pass.
Stashing the paper away, I was careful not to let the professor see it.
“Dr. Maya, I’m sure you realize that this is a huge undertaking and could very well take one’s entire career to prove something of this magnitude.” Standing up now, she smiled and said, “Well, the future of Quantum Physics lies with your generation. And you have your whole career ahead of you.”
Pausing for a moment, Dr. Maya added, “But you can start by writing me a paper on your theory for a passing grade.” With those words, I had my first of what I knew would be many victories in my search for quantifiable quotes.

About the Author: 
My name is Chakisha Johnson. Born and raised in Washington, DC, I am currently volunteering in the island of the Dominican Republic. As such, I seek to do the work set out for me by my government as well as the work set out for me in my heart: writing.