Monday, July 05, 2010
One of the most pressing outstanding problems in modern-day physics, both at a theoretical and at a practical level, is what has become known as the Cheese Uncertainty Principle. Despite his well-known antipathy to Quantum Theory, it was Einstein himself who first began to outline the theoretical work that lead to the formulation of The Cheese Uncertainty Principle.
Put simply The Cheese Uncertainty Principle states that the precise amount of cheese left in any fridge can only be known when the fridge door is opened, and furthermore the precise quantity of cheese in the fridge depends entirely on the state of the observer opening the fridge door. Normally the more a particular foodstuff from the fridge a person opening the door needs or wants the less there will be, usually there will never be quite enough, especially the closer the fridge experimenter is to the Shopping Event Horizon.
However, as Einstein himself noticed, this general principle seems to break down when it comes to cheese. The amount of cheese available in any fridge seems to bear no relationship at all to how much cheese is bought in the first place and – problematically for theoretical cheese physicists – absolutely no relationship seems to exist between how much cheese has been used and how much still remains within the fridge.
Everyone has had practical experience of the Cheese Uncertainty Principle. We have all been to the fridge after a week of heavy cheese use: say a week of home-made pizza, cauliflower cheese, cheese soup, cheese scones or something like that, only to discover that there still seems to be plenty of cheese still left in the fridge. However, at other times, it is possible on opening the fridge, when you can only remember having one sandwich with very thinly-sliced cheese, to find there is hardly any cheese left at all.
Yet, counter to all common sense views of how the physical world works, it is possible only a day later to find the whole situation has reversed itself. For example, a day after the fridge seemed full of nothing but cheese, on opening it all you can find is a small lump of dried hard and cracked cheddar, whilst on other days after the fridge seemed almost devoid of cheese it seems to be full of cheese, in many varieties, including ones you have no memory of ever buying in your entire life.
Cheese physicists now hope that the new device at the European Cheese Agency headquarters in Switzerland, the Large Emmental Collider, will be able to answer these perplexing questions, once it is set up and running properly, and the current problem with it running out of crackers at the vital moment of the high-speed cheese collisions has been solved.
It is hoped that once these cheese collisions take place, then physicists will be able to discover traces of the theoretical cheese particle known as the Cheddar boson, that most theories of cheese credit with the spontaneous quantum fluctuations that result in the creation or destruction of cheese when there is a piece of cheese in a state of rest within the fridge.
Only time will tell if the various theories of cheese can be confirmed experimentally, and we could see the first ever signs of cheese being created in the laboratory.