The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


Disappearance of worlds, all is lost, every moment of every day, what is
right and wrong in this and any other picture, even the microbes change,
transmute, worlds crumbling, worlds unnoticed, deaths of worlds, our
deaths, our worlds among them

Disappearance of worlds, Edwin Schroedinger, the room in Arosa in the
Annex of the Villa Dr Herwig, here one can imagine the desk, the chair,
the books that were to change science, the air and its chemistry which has
long since disappeared (replaced by combustion byproducts, radiations and
other pollutants), the microbes in the cracks of the wooden floor,
seepages where the walls cornered, ceiling interstices, and all since
mutated, the particular smell of the place, the atomic-molecular
constitution of the room which has disappeared forever, the sound of the
snow perhaps, the coldness underfoot, perhaps the fire and its specific
smokes and crackles, Schroedinger's pen, unobserved, the richness of the
leather, the muted sounds coming from without, the air of excitement in
cause of the reinvention of the physical worldview of the universe, the
glazed sky, the cold crystalline air, the surfaces cold nearer the floor,
warmed elsewhere, to the touch of Erwin Schroedinger, these moments, the
memories of Schroedinger, his may loves, the woman who shall forever be
unknown, his accommodating wife, the paper unruled perhaps, his amazing
concentration, remnants of holographic notebooks, the winds and rattling
panes, perhaps the sounds of wolves, animal scurrying in the underbrush,
iced trees and long walks leaving damp spots, slight stains, in the room
where Erwin Schroedinger compiled and completed the reintegration of the
physical Weltanschauung of atomic and subatomic physics, the buildings
perched on the hillsides, the peaked roofs, the dark gables and white
exterior walls, the windows pursuant to the inn-keeping of warmth and the
inhabitation of Erwin Schroedinger and the women who accompanied him, the
distant sounds of vehicles, the Christmas of 1925, the new year of 1926,
the smell of food, coffee or tea, in the room, the love-making of Erwin
Schroedinger, the completed meals, the food taken away, the quality and
color of the plates, the cups and saucers, the metal slightly cold to the
touch and taste, of the spoons and forks and knives, the slight scarring
of the body of Erwin Schroedinger maturing into early middle age, the
women and the solitude, the specific references surrounding him, papers,
notebooks, the presence of the telephone, the quality of its ring, the
electric lamps and the dusk of falling snow, the worrying and the hounding
of equations, the explanations of variables and constants, mathematics of
quantum physics and vibrations of atoms, eigenvalues and functions, the
distractedness of Schroedinger approaching the shores of universal forms,
subtle background of chimney smoke, the inkwell and the black ink, the
book of Schlesinger on differential equations, the sounds of laughter in
the room of Erwin Schroedinger, the tinkling of glass from another room,
smells of meats and vegetables suffusing the space of wave equations and
the presence and slightly sexual smell of the unknown woman and Erwin
Schroedinger, the air at 1700 meters in the Alps, the shadows and presence
of the Weisshorn, the pulmonary tuberculosis of Erwin Schroedinger, the
Viennese cook and the healthy cuisine, the small sounds of the pen moving
across the page, slight cough of Schroedinger looking forward to the
coming year and many more, the deep and sincere belief in the value of
physical theory, the startling sound of a bird in the distance, echoing
against the slopes, the rumours of Davos, mice scuttling across the floor,
drifting snow outside, the windows darkened momentarily with a wintered
squall, somewhere a crying kitten

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