Showing PANK more love today.

9 Feb

Every now and then, I freak the hell out about how many unread items I have left in my Google Reader, and go through clicking “Mark as Read” with flagrant disregard for public safety. It’s cathartic, but sometimes amazing stuff slips through, like this story by Aubrey Hirsch in PANK last May:

“What is it?” I ask.

“It’s a picture of subatomic particles, through an electron microscope. The technical term is ‘hydrogen event in a bubble chamber.’ It’s what happens when two particles are smashed together at very high speeds. This one’s from the accelerator at FermiLab. The lines and spots are tracks made by the explosion.” He runs a bulky fingertip along one of the swirls. “See?”

I nod. “I really like it,” I say. And I do. It reminds me of an old map, or an astrological chart. The circles are so perfect they look compass-drawn. “I can’t believe this symmetry just happens. Doesn’t it amaze you?”

Marvin shrugs. “You know, they can pretty much predict all this stuff now. If you know the size of the particles, their spin and how fast they’re moving, you can calculate the force with which they’ll hit and plot out how the pieces will move, and where they’ll all end up.”

“It sounds complicated.” I say.

“It is. Theoretically, they could do it for anything, like an egg rolling off a table, or a car accident, but they don’t have computers that can run the equations efficiently enough’”not without over-heating. Some people think that if we did, we could even plot out people’s lives.”

Aubrey and I seem to share a sick obsession with theoretical physics, which play a huge part in this story, and also a sizeable part in the novel I’m working on right now. Reading this makes me wish I could’ve caught her at AWP and nerded out awhile.

4 Responses to “Showing PANK more love today.”

  1. lcrelyea February 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    I feel as if both you and Aubrey should know that subatomic particles are now helping compose symphonies.

    • Aubrey Hirsch February 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      Wow! That is amazing. What CAN’T subatomic particles do? Thanks for sharing!

      • ce. February 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

        Well, for starters, they can’t be measured with exact precision, but I supposed that’s more what we can’t do, not subatomic particles. So yeah. You right!


  1. SSM: “Hydrogen Event in a Bubble Chamber” by Aubrey Hirsch « - May 10, 2011

    […] know I vouched this semi-recently, but I don’t care. I’m rehashing it for Short Story Month because I have a deep deep […]

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