Blinding me with science

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Einstein quote on our bookmark favors.


One of the wedding projects I’m most excited about has to be our table names.

Ever the classy geeks, Spence and I agreed early on that it would be fun — delightful, even! — to label our guest tables for famous writers and scientists instead of traditional numbers, an homage to our individual passions. I won’t unveil all my literature-themed choices just yet, but the physicists? Well, I’ll spoil a few of them.

If you’re anything like me, science remains a nebulous idea that brilliant minds ponder while I eat cupcakes and watch “Downton Abbey.” The fact that I’m marrying a physicist remains a source of hilarity, especially because I barely passed a chemistry class in high school. (Never made it to physics.) Our educational backgrounds vary wildly and are often entertaining topics of conversation, especially because my science-minded questions tend to go like this:

“So what is physics, exactly?”
“How big is the universe?”
“What’s the difference between ‘theoretical’ and ‘experimental’?”
“Is your work like ‘The Big Bang Theory’?” (Answer: yes and no.)

Because many of our guests may not be familiar with Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman or James Clerk Maxwell (ain’t no shame in it), I’ve started crafting table tents to sit on the appropriately-named tables. There will be cards for the writers, too, but most of my choices — like William Shakespeare — should be familiar to friends and family.

The scientists, though? The scientists? Spencer’s hand-selected choices might as well be in a foreign language. Here’s a sentence I actually just typed, with help from Wikipedia:

“An American theoretical physicist who assisted in the construction of the atomic bomb, Richard Feynman is known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of super-fluidity of supercooled liquid helium.”

Um, whut?

Look, I know I’m not dumb. I’m an editor, a columnist — a well-read, frizzy-haired dynamo. But when it comes to anything scientific, I’m the one standing there scratching her head like a cartoon character.

I could fall down the Wikipedia rabbit hole all day, clicking on endless topics to sort out concepts others spend years studying . . . or, to simplify my life, I could just go ahead and pester my fiance about them.

He’s so cute when he tries to explain quantum mechanics to me.


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16 thoughts on “Blinding me with science

  1. Haha I totally understand! An overwhelming portion of my friends at college are math and science people and, I like to think I am smart. I am an international studies major with an emphasis in politics. I speak Russian. But more than half of what they tell me goes straight over my head.

    I love the table setting idea! Very cool!

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