Regarding "Experimental Nonlocal and Surreal Bohmian Trajectories"

Dear Drs. Mahler and Wiseman,

I greatly enjoyed your article on "Experimental nonlocal and surreal Bohmian trajectories." While the subject matter is outside my area of expertise, I've always found the orthodox interpretation of quantum physics a bit troubling, and not particularly useful. For example, I've never been able to get out of traffic tickets by explaining that my car didn't have a velocity until the cop measured it. Next time, I'll try throwing in some nonlocality, and perhaps some surrealism, and see what happens.

I especially enjoyed the sentence I understood:

"The particles in this article (Although 'the particles in this article' is in this particular article, consider 'the particles in an article' as part of an article. As any articulate party would know, the particles in 'the particles in an article' are 'the' and 'in,' whereas the articles in 'the particles in an article' are 'the' and 'an,' but the particular article in 'the particles in an article' is 'the.' 'p.s.' is all that is left when you take the 'article' out of 'particles.') are photons, as was the case in Kocsis et al. (7)."

I've occasionally tried to conceal a bit of levity in some of my academic papers, but I now realize how tame and half-hearted these efforts have been - truly child's play compared to what you've accomplished here.

I'm deeply curious how this came about. Did all seven co-authors agree to the sentence in question? Was one of the contributors selected for the sole purpose of writing such a passage? Did this sentence slip through the editing process, or was it intentionally added to test whether people are paying attention? By self-referentially commenting on the text within the text, were you attempting to break the fourth wall of academic writing, or was this a deeper comment on the nature of reality itself, or perhaps the futility of trying to understand the universe? Does the article both include and not include this sentence until observed by the reader?

I would appreciate any light you could shed on these questions. In the meantime, I thank you for your contributions to science and literature.


Earl Vickers

Dear Earl,

Thanks for your email. I'm glad you enjoyed the sentence you understood. :-)

To answer your questions, the credit or blame for that passage lies with me (though all the authors agreed in the end to allow it in the paper). It had no deep intended meaning --- just a joke that came to me when I read "the particles in this article". It was originally a footnote. We never expected it to make it past the referees and editors, and certainly didn't expect it would be transferred into the main text by the proof editors. I do think however it is a good test of whether people have actually read the paper :-)


Dear Howard,

Thanks for your reply. I guess the proof editors wanted to make sure that readers didn't miss it!

At any rate, I hope your paper contributes to a resurgence of the Bohm interpretation, unless it's wrong. I support making our explanations of the quantum world as weird as possible, but no weirder. I guess the hard part is figuring out what's weirdest: multiple worlds, luminiferous ethers, superfluous particles, spooky action at a distance, or, for example, the noodly appendages of the pastafarian interpretation. That, and the math.



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