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Viva Brighton Issue #60 February 2018

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COLUMN ........................... Lizzie Enfield Notes from North Village “If you think you understand quantum physics then you probably don’t,” says quantum physics advisor. He is a doctor of gravitational lens fields – or something like that. It’s a complicated field. I’ve been reading the Dummies Guide to Quantum Physics and, frankly, the bar for dummies has been set too high! It’s more like rocket science, and trying to get to grips with it has been making furrows in my forehead that I think have become permanent. But I’m taking the gravitational lens doctor’s pronouncement as a good sign. Because I definitely don’t understand it. So perhaps that means I do? Why the attempt? And why is this relevant? This month’s theme is chemistry after all. Did she get the wrong email from the editor? No. Nor has it passed me by that it’s Valentine’s month: love is in the air and the Tinder test tubes will be overflowing with sexual chemistry. And I know that sexual chemistry is driven by pheromones, the chemical signals that trigger sexual interest. Some bright spark has even invented a dating app that involves a mouth swab to match you with someone with compatible pheromones. Maybe the police could run it? They have the DNA database and maybe helping people find love is the way forward in crime prevention? So, theoretically, chemistry is the perfect theme for me this month. I have a new book coming out. It’s a love story, told over a lifetime, in reverse. But it’s inspired not by sexual chemistry but quantum physics. In reality, my reality, rather than a quantum one, this was initially just multiverse theory: the one that says our universe may be one of many parallel universes peopled by many versions of ourselves, leading multiple possible lives. The novel’s called Ivy and Abe. They meet at different times of their lives, in different parallel universes. Each time they are drawn to each other but in each universe things play out differently. It’s a potentially endless book but I’ve restricted it to ten or eleven different scenarios played out across 75 years. Once I’d started with the concept, I got reading a little bit about quantum physics and watching a lot of Brian Cox. I found that there are other aspects of quantum physics, which can be applied to love. Quantum entanglement is one: a theory that two particles which have once interacted will continued to be affected by the other, even if separated by great distances. That’s Ivy and Abe too. So I’ve spent the past couple of years trying to understand a little of quantum physics and then apply it to these two gravitationallens-field-crossed lovers. With some success. “You know an awful lot about quantum physics,” my editor said, having read the first draft. Which may, as my friend pointed out, mean I know nothing at all. Just a bit more than I do about chemistry. Illustration by Joda (@joda_art) ....39....

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