This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.
The smooth floors and walls sucked any joy out of the people it enclosed. The laughter of children echoing in the hallways. Slowly, giggles getting distorted into sobs of desperate mothers. It had terrified me years ago as a young man. Later, mothers called me charismatic and warm. My fellows saw ambition and focus. A kingdom needed a king, and that was me.
“We had to transfer a patient from Dr. Murphy to you, Professor.”
Without changing his tone, the assistant continued to read out the medical summary of the patient.
“I’ll do a quick scan to map the diffuse tumor in the brain stem. We can go from there.”
“Understood, I’ll make sure to notify the mother that it might take a little longer.”
Another day, another patient.
The big doors slid open revealing his piercing chestnut eyes and dangling feet. The room was cold and dark. It housed nothing but a bed too big for a twelve-year-old. Small hands held on to a diamond encrusted crown.
“What are you doing here on your own? Where is the nurse?” I asked surprised.
“I know my way around here very well, sir,” a faint voice told me.
“Well have you ever seen something like this before?” I said while pointing at the device in his hands. “The shiny parts are made of diamonds with tiny holes. We are going to use these to measure what is going on in your head. I am one of the inventors, so you are in good hands!”
An appeasing voice responded, “That’s very cool, Professor.”
My enthusiasm about my invention, and decades of research, had crashed on to a lethargic face. That wasn’t going to stop me though.
“The little holes contain locked particles. Every time the cells in your brain send out an electric signal, they will send out a magnetic one as well. Depending on what magnetic signals are coming out of your brain, the particles in the diamonds are going to do cool things.”
“Like what?” he asked as his freezing fingers caressed the inside of the crown.
As I kneeled next to him, I said with all the amazement I could muster in my voice “They shoot out all colors of the rainbow. It tells me where in your brain you have a lot going on. I am going to capture all those rainbow particles and send them with tiny wires down to a supercomputer underneath us.”
Well, I was immediately intrigued. It’s not that common to know such a term already. I had found the hook to pull him into my amazing world.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. Little energy packets with their energy depending on the magnitude of the magnetic signals reaching each diamond. How did you know that term? You must be very smart!”
“My mom is a physicist. She used to talk about it all the time.”
Suddenly it dawned on me. We were still alone. It was as if my breath could echo in the room.
“Where is she?” I nervously asked.
“She doesn’t like to see me anymore. Since the diagnosis, she can’t look at me the way she did before.”
My heart was slowly sinking in my chest. Even though, his voice wouldn’t reveal how much it had hurt.
“Doctors keep giving her more pills. She hasn’t been the same. It’s like she is completely gone.”
A cabinet full of awards had not prepared me for what was about to come.
“She is the reverse of me. We know why I am sick and not why she is. Every part of my body is failing. My face is sinking, I keep falling, I… I am going to die, and she is going to live with this forever.”
My gut-feeling told me this kid didn’t believe in Santa and neither in lies of uncomfortable doctors. Finding treatments for psychiatric diseases had been a problem. To the point that people proposed creating brain-computer hybrids. However, running the risk of destroying the last part of what made his mom herself due to electrocution felt somewhat unappealing. I didn’t know what to say.
“It’s okay Professor. We can just start the scan. I am used to it by now.”
He had put the crown on his head as a wounded king trying to portray strength to his distraught servant. Through diamonds every part of his brain was being mapped. It was dead silent.
“You know… s-some people think that quantum physics is at the basis of how the brain works,” I stammered.
With the words barely out of my mouth, a feeling of embarrassment engulfed me. Was this really the most appropriate answer I could come up with? Confused eyes looked at me searching for any meaning behind what I just said.
“Like diamonds shooting photons in my head?” he asked with a little spark in his eyes.
“Euhm, in a way. There are many theories, not all equally likely. Some think shielded molecules in your cells can stay entangled with each other. That means if they are far apart, maybe in different cells, their state will still be linked.”
“Shielded like in a diamond?”
With nimble steps only a child with its head in the clouds could take, he came towards me.
“We can build a diamond computer in the head of my mom!” he announced loudly to the world.
While the sentence sunk in, it became more real. What if we could build a quantum computer and artificially correct for her thoughts. Not a drug, but a self-designed network as a cure. A quantum brain computer. Not electricity, but magnetism, photons, and quantum entanglement.
“We would need to figure out a lot first. There is much more available than just diamonds,” I smirked.
“We need to get to work! We have a lot to think about.”
As the image of the scan lit up my face, a deep sigh left my mouth.
“For sure it is. It’s a lot to think about.”