Author's note: This was originally written for the Journal of
Irreproducible Results (now the Annals of Improbable Research)
and I had given out a couple of copies of a draft of it for a
few folks to proof and/or comment on. Along the way, one of
these copies had ended up over at the offices of a magazine
named Micro Cornucopia which then printed it in their June 1987
issue, without asking or even notifying me. I only found out
about it because someone mentioned having read it some time after
it had been on the newsstands. Needless to say, it couldn't
appear in the JIR at that point. Micro Cornucopia
did eventually pay me for the article, though there were never
any contracts or agreements signed regarding the rights to it.
On the Experimental Verification of the
Nonconservation of Parity and the Quantum Mechanical
Tunneling of Macroparticles
Experiments verifying macroparticulate parity nonconservation and
macroparticulate quantum mechanical tunneling are discussed.
The nonconservation of parity has long been observed in weak
interactions, and quantum mechanical tunneling is a frequent event in
radioactive decay; however, no significant research has been conducted
to determine whether similar processes occur involving macroparticles.
Even general macroparticulate quantum effects have heretofore been
ignored by the scientific community. This, in all probability, is due
to the uncanny and disturbing resemblance macroparticles bear to actual
physical objects, a drawback which frightens off all but the bravest of
theoreticians. To assist in the amelioration of the relative dearth of
knowledge in this field, it was decided to conduct two experiments to
determine if quantum mechanical processes occured in macroparticles:
the first would determine if parity was conserved; and the second, to
attempt to discover tunneling effects.
Because macroparticles do behave so much like actual objects, it was
necessary to conduct all experiments as far from physics
as possible. Certainly the most convienient location
satisfying this requirement was my house, and so, all experiments were
Experiment 1: Nonconservation of Parity
To demonstrate the nonconservation of parity in macroparticles, it
was first necessary to have a group of macroparticles on which to
experiment. As the macroparticles best suited to parity experiments,
I chose socks (2). The socks chosen were size thirteen, black,
over-the-calf men's dress socks puchased from a local clothing
emporium. Several pairs were purchased at one time; their average mass
was 38g per sock. They went through a two-stage
process and were removed from the washing machine two at a time to
determine that they were indeed still in pairs.
Next, the macroparticles were loaded into the macroparticle
(4) which accelerated the
macroparticles to 6.5 X 10E5 +/- 2.1 X 10E5 TeV and heated them to
approximately 347 K. They remained in the storage cylinder for
1561.1 +/- 0.4 seconds and then were removed en masse and placed in
a drawer (5).
Each day, over a period of about two weeks, one pair of
macroparticles was removed from the drawer, worn
, and set aside for
future recycling. At the end of the experiment, when all pairs had
been removed, a single sock remained in the drawer--the group of
macroparticles had changed parity from even to odd. This experiment
was repeated a total of four times and in three of the four trials,
parity was not conserved.
Experiment 2: Macroparticle Tunneling
Discovery of the event that led up to this experiment came about
entirely by accident: one morning several plates, bowls, and pieces
of stainless flatware (these will be hereinafter refered to as Kitchen
Macroparticles or KMPs) appeared in the basement, clustered about the
television set, which is directly beneath the kitchen where these KMPs
would normally be found. When questioned regarding this curious event,
all proximate mini-persons
denied moving the KMPs or even being
aware of their presence in the basement.
I began a controlled experiment to determine if these KMPs were
indeed tunneling through the relatively high potential barrier of the
kitchen floor to the lower energy state of the basement. First of all,
all KMPs were removed from the basement, washed
, and placed in
cupboards; proximate mini-persons were carefully instructed not to take
any KMPs outside of the kitchen.
The following evening (9 hours later), a thorough examination
uncovered a total of fourteen KMPs in the basement distributed in a
roughly Gaussian pattern around the television set (which, as you will
recall, is directly below the kitchen). There were two bowls, six
plates, three spoons, two forks, and a knife.
The thickness of the floor was measured to be 22.4 cm, which
suggested that the KMP wavelengths must be roughly on the same order
of magnitude. The individual KMPs were measured, and they ranged from
15.5 cm to 28.1 cm with an mean length of 19.3 cm, correlating
remarkably well with the estimate based on floor thickness.
A closer examination revealed that every single KMP exhibited signs
of recent contact with comestibles, although a relatively small
quantity of actual edible material remained adhered. Perhaps most
significantly, the material adhering to the KMPs was invariably food
which apparently had been heated (soups, microwave quick-lunches,
leftovers, ice cream soup, etc.); no unheated edible material
(twinkies, cookies, etc.) adhered to the KMPs. We may therefore
conclude that greater than ambient thermal energies are required for
quantum mechanical tunneling.
Foods similar to those adhering to the KMPs were discovered spilled
in the kitchen, strongly suggesting that the foods which heated the
KMPs had been unable to tunnel through the floor themselves either
because of shorter wavelengths or a lesser effect of gravity on food
than on dishes. As previous experiments have shown that, in fact,
the force of gravity has a stronger effect on food than on
suspected the former possibility, a suspicion which
was confirmed when the spills were measured and all were found to be
under 4 cm. Comestible fragments that remained adhered to the KMPs,
on the other hand, were generally at least 10 cm in length, much more
capable of tunneling through the floor.
Finally the distribution of food-heated plates (the most common KMP
found) confirmed the tunneling hypothesis: 9 were found in the
kitchen, 3 were found on a table near the television, and 1 was found
under the table
(11)--coinciding almost exactly
with the exponential
distribution expected for KMPs not tunneling, having tunneled through
the floor, and having tunneled through both the floor and table. I
also discovered that a spoon was missing altogether which I assumed
must have passed through the Earth entirely, but several calls to
Hong Kong universities failed to uncover the location of the wayward
spoon, so this has not as yet been confirmed.
It has been conclusively demonstrated that the parity of
macroparticles is not conserved, and, therefore, socks must come in
right-left pairs rather than the single type invariant under reflection
operations as was previously supposed.
Similarly, it has been shown that macroparticles of greater than
ambient thermal energies are easilly capable of tunneling through
potential barriers such as a kitchen floor, and that the first-floor
metastable state has an approximate half-life of 16.6 hours.
The discovery of quantum effects in macroparticles may be the
single most important development in quantum mechanics since the
Schroedinger equation, but research in this field is far from over; we
still need to know the relative probabilities of appearance and
disappearance of socks and whether the universal sock population
remains constant. We need to calculate macroparticle tunneling
half-lives with a greater degree of accuracy, and we still need a
clearer determination of the effects of temperature on macroparticle
tunneling. For example, my cans of soft drinks are forever
dissappearing from the office refrigerator; the fact that they are
cold suggests parity effects at work, but the fact that they always
vanish and never appear suggests the effects of tunneling. Perhaps
most importantly, I still need a grant or a Nobel prize or something,
which clearly indicates the need for further research.
Interactions of objects and researchers under laboratory
conditions bear at best only the most superficial resemblance
to their real counterparts. (cf E.P.A. highway gas milage
Socks come in pairs and are much cheaper than shoes.
The first stage involved removing labels, price tags, and those
little plastic hooks; the second stage consisted of running the
socks through the medium load cycle of a Speed Queen(R) washing
machine with Tide(R) detergent.
Speed Queen(R) heavy-duty electric clothes drier.
Approximate capacity 35,000 cc.
One macroparticle was placed on each foot; feet were carefully
counted each day to confirm that they had not also changed
Juvenile Homo Sapiens, ages 11-17 years, sharing same parentage
Using a Kitchenaid(R) dishwasher and Cascade(R) dishwasher
R. C. Rutabeta, "Generalized Theory of the Buttered-Side
effect," J. Recalcitrant Foods 4 (1981), 1630-1661
H. B. Rosie and N. Freap, "Experimental Verification of the
Diner Effect With Particular Emphasis on the Comparative
Analysis of Paper Towel Absorbtion Coefficients as Affected
by Television Camera Proximity," Murphy's Legal Journal
186282 (1984), 62431-62432
The other two plates were on the floor away from the table,
and so were not included in this analysis as they might
adversely affect the results.