Poems from a Notebook [#328]
Presented below are selected relevant extracts from the lab notebooks of Dr. Andrew Antonov, Ph.D., made during his time at the Everett Institute, Calif..
Excellent first impressions of the Institute. Construction of the DeWitt torus almost complete. Cavern now fully excavated and installation of main structure — 256 x electromagnet-bearing segments; monitoring equip.; coolant infrastructure — approx. 60% done. Est. on-line date still mid-April. V. exciting.
Social for new arrivals 7pm 10/3. (See if I can get out of this.)
Meeting Dr. S. (David — v. informal!) re. shake-down phase, 11am, 3rd floor under level. Seems like a nice guy — not one comment about my age.
11th March [scribbled horizontally along page edge]
I have discovered a truly marvellous woman, whose intelligence, beauty and wit this margin is too narrow to contain.
12th March [circled in red]
555-6022 ext. 141
Paper for I.A.Q.P.S.
Topics for smalltalk
Instrumentations planning meeting. V. intense. Much debate as to direction in which to proceed. Think I managed to convince most there (inc. Dr. F.!) to see sense and pursue the Zurek route.
[diagram of Deutsch tensor (probably rev. C design, before adoption of Wheeler filter) with the name ‘Sarah’ written around it 21 times]
What did I do wrong? She isn’t answering my e-mails. She won’t pick up my calls. What did I say? I realise that this journal isn’t really the appropriate forum for these questions, but I feel I have to write them down, to get them out of my head somehow before they burrow out of their own accord. Oh, Sarah...
Dr. F. asked, during the morning update meeting, whether ‘our prodigy’ was expecting a call from the Nobel committee, since I was checking my phone so often. Got up and walked out. May also have told him to go fuck himself. What’s happening to me?
I think — for the first time ever — I am beginning to appreciate the appeal of those pseudo-sciences: psychology and anthropology and their ilk. How seductive it must be to imagine that you can understand what goes on inside another’s mind. But a brief survey of the available literature yields no obvious inroad to that body of ‘work’, and the imminent completion of the torus doesn’t allow me to dedicate even the small proportion of my intellect it would require to the necessary reading.
I am unable to sleep properly, which I fear may be affecting my work. Decided to take David into my confidence re. S. and ask his advice. No help whatsoever. Suggested I “acted cool” (!) stopped calling and writing (!!) gave S. some space (!!!) Basically: inaction. (!!!!) Useless.
Initial power-up tests show DeWitt torus running as expected. Power consumption within estimated bounds. All instrumentation reports positive.
But you know what? Who cares? Seriously? Who could give a fuck? She’s posting photos of her and some other bastard to her Facebook page. Well, f— No. No, I can’t bring myself to say it. I can’t bring myself to hate her. I just can’t. I just
Our love has decohered, it’s waveform collapsed from a million happy probabilities of you and I to the single total probability that now we will never be us.
First readings from the Zurek apparatus to establish baselines v. erratic. David suggests that this is because we’re seeing an almost-infinite number of alternate universes coming into being every second. Dr. F. calls this fanciful. I can’t believe that it’s only been a month since I met her, that I’ve already lost her.
They tell me that my paper to the I.A.Q.P.S. was a resounding success. S. wasn’t there to see it, which is all that could possibly matter to me.
Found first pos. readings from the walls of the Tegmark-Hilbert corridor. Theoretical framework seems to be holding. This means that we are getting closer — that I am already getting closer to achieving my short lifetime’s work. Why can I feel no joy in this?
We continue to increase our knowledge of the nature of the corridor. It appears to have a constant radius (within accepted margins) around an axial line running through the γ dimension. (Or — “Our whole reality is trapped inside a cylinder” — David, of course. If ever the need arises to publish a children’s pop-up book of our findings, I can think of no-one better suited than David.)
A landmark day! We have inferred the presence of other corridors (“parallel universes” as David would have it) beyond our own. They appear to be spaced closely to our own (“pressing up against us, like individual strands in co-ax”) and cause a distortion in the membrane. Their number appears to be extremely large but finite. Celebrations all round. Dr. F. declared that we would all get Nobels. Oh, how I wish that Sarah was here to share it with me. I tried to call her, but she still wouldn’t answer.
Oh you stupid STUPID man! This is what happens when you let yourself lose focus — you miss the obvious solution right there in front of your face!
I think I have proved that by making certain adjustments to the Zurek apparatus it is possible to introspect the condition of our own universal wave function, as reflected in its effect on the membrane of the Tegmark-Hilbert corridor. This is a significant step forward.
David came to see me today — he has guessed the new direction I’m taking our research in! “You think that somewhere, in some parallel universe, you and her are still together. You’re trying to find that universe.” As always he reduces everything to crude simplicity — I expect he thinks there’s something poetic, romantic even, in his choice of words — I explained it far more succinctly for him in the universal language of math — but in broad terms he is correct.
We have effected information transfer through the membrane. The energy requirement was massive and will need to be increased in the near future. Dr. F. (who thankfully David has agreed should remain in the dark about the true nature of our work) has obtained an undertaking from our military sponsors that such resources will be made available to us. (This caused David to remark that — “They’re happy to give us the power because they think we’re building a weapon, but if they knew the truth we’d probably end up in prison. I hope the universe you’re looking for makes more sense than this messed-up one we’re living in.” I fear I shall never truly understand him.)
Another visit from David. We spoke at some length — the discussion unfortunately veering off into areas of no consequence — moral, ethical, philosophical — some of David’s thought exercises are laughable — all hinting that my relative youth and inexperience are clouding my judgement — but for some reason his final question, asked as he was leaving, stayed with me: “And what are you going to do when you find your parallel paradise? Assuming you can find a way to cross the membrane. What are you going to do about the guy who got the girl? The other you?”
I believe I have it, the signature of the universe — (ah! David! Your language infects me!) — I am searching for.
At last. After 134,592 membrane inspections we have found it. And not a moment too soon. The General grew impatient long ago. I fear he may soon withdraw his support. I must act quickly.
Final preparations are complete. The transfer capsule has been installed and secured away from the main equipment. We begin power-up within the hour. Sarah — my love — I’m coming for you.
If it pleases the court, the proceeding extracts are presented as Exhibit 1 in the case of The People vs. Dr. Andrew Antonov in the matter of the murder of Dr. Andrew Antonov.