Quantum Mechanics Of Sandwiches In Lunchboxes
An extremely important aspect of hitchhiking is lunch. There are different ways to provide for lunch. I will discuss one of them.
Some hitchhikers prefer to prepare their lunch in advance. They make a few (2-120) sandwiches and put them in a specially designed lunchbox or lunchbag. This is also common practice among the people who have this idea stuck in their head that they have to frantically work at least eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, to EARN money in order to live and buy. Needless to say, an infertile thought.
What everyone experiences when applying this lunching technique is that the prepared sandwiches actually taste different at different locations. On the move (or at work) they taste fresh and revitalizing. On the other hand, if around lunchtime one finds oneself at the preparation location (home?) and discovers the completely forgotten lunchbox, one will find that the sandwiches have changed into a mummifying sponge-like substance. (It is not advised in this situation to leave the sandwiches for the next day. Unless of course you are one of those beings who likes its greens (and has the stomach for it.))
Some people might say this is a psychological phenomenon. Rest assured: IT IS NOT. This is yet another example of the consequences of the macroscopic form of Quantum Mechanics. Once the sandwiches are prepared and put into the box, their state can be described by a rather complex wave function. This wave function indicates the probability of finding an edible lunch in your lunchbox and it collapses to a definite state whenever the lunchbox is opened.
The thought experiment "Schroedinger's Cat" describes exactly what happens. In his thought experiment Schroedinger places a cat and a ham sandwich in a box. As soon as the box is sealed, the observer does not know in which state the contents are. The ham sandwich and the cat could still exist side by side, but the cat could also have eaten the sandwich. This situation can be represented by a complex wave function which is a superposition of the above mentioned states. At the instance one measures, that is, opens the box, the wave function collapses into a definite state which in this case is that the ham sandwich has invariably completely disappeared (unless of course the cat was dead to begin with).
The same is true for your own experiment. Open your lunchbox at home and the wave function invariably collapses to a state of spongeness. Open it on your way (or at work, heaven forbid) and it will revitalize.
I have to make one remark: finding the lunch edible at work does not mean that after you've just had a look what the state was and then closed the box, what you measured at that moment is definite. Not in the least: it can and will only get worse.
Let's have a look at the microscopic Quantum Theory to see what also happens in the macroscopic theory. Let us regard a hydrogen atom with one electron. The electron is now in a high energy state and it can drop to a lower energy state by means of spontaneous emission of a photon. The wave function describing this situation evolves in time. Measuring the state causes the wave function to collapse. If it collapses to the same higher energy state, after you look away the wave function restarts evolving. Finally, the wave function will have evolved so much that when you measure, the electron will have reached the lower energy state, in case of bread being a state of spongeness. Although not the appropriate application of terms, the expression "degenerate state" leaps to mind.
Of course, it depends completely on the initial degree of plasticity of the bread whether this process takes place. The well known saying says it all: "plastic in is plastic out."
The advice to be given here is: keep on moving.
This is also a very good tip should you want to avoid this paying activity that those working people insist upon.