Haunting and evocative, I remember the music in your lecture. One day, by chance, I am a stranger appearing in your office and I ask. You reach for a pile of CDs. With the music you can lose yourself in physics; forget the room; be in the moment; fill the black board. In my charcoal drawings you recognise I’ve connected with something. The equations look right with their slight scrawliness. And this is the opposite of powerpoint, the deadly killer of feeling. A feeling connection with what you’re doing. You stop asking questions when the mind and spirit come together. Maybe this is a kind of progress. And there is colour and sound in mathematics. And doing physics is about creating a kind of resonance. Going home on the bus after a painting class and looking at the still life you made, you had an overwhelming sense of being in colour and form. We don’t know how things connect. Knowing the fundamentals won’t tell us. “Sophisticated primitiveness” is an apt expression. And some say the elements of colour, sound, symbol and number make us and appear in our dreams. We wonder about time......even in Schrodinger’s equation is a classical guy with a stop-watch. There are questions of interpretation. That the whole world is described by wave functions is the only consistent view. Our limitation. Our hard wired brains. The fascination of the human voice. A responsibility to awe.
Jonathan Halliwell is a theoretical physicist who is interested in the emergence of classical behaviour from quantum theory and the nature of time in quantum theory. He is also interested in quantum cosmology, the application of ideas from quantum theory to models of the very early universe.