Parental fear and why I should win the Nobel prize for physics

A physicist who is trying too hard.

Quantum mechanics the hard way (source:

I love science. I love that there are millions of people working to understand the world around us. I love that as part of their work that they will make observations, build hypothesis, define test methods as to whether their hypothesis are valid or not and then test them. But most of all I love that scientists then publish the results in the hope that somebody will either verify or trash their conclusions. Yes, they are happy to have their conclusions trashed because it increases our overall scientific knowledge. There are very few professions that are as open-minded to new evidence, or as willing to change their minds, as scientists.*

The multiverse theory in action (source:

The multiverse theory in action (source:

Now, within quantum mechanics (bear with me) there is massive disagreement over the structure of the universe. To keep it simple (because it needs to be for me to understand it) there are scientists who believe that there is one Universe, and others that believe there are an infinite number of universes, where anything that could have happened in our past, but did not, happens in one of these other universes. Think Sliding Doors but with less winsome smiling and more death and violence.

The problem with this many-worlds theory, other than people saying “that’s not science, you’re just making that up”, is that it’s impossible to prove.

Until now.

I am about to introduce new information and test method that should prove the many-worlds concept, and you get to read it here first.

Let me start at the beginning. Before becoming a parent, everybody gives you advice. They tell you about how tired you’ll be, or how you will be amazed at your child’s first smile. They will tell you that it all goes so quick, to cherish every moment because before you know it they will be having children of their own. But there is one thing that nobody tells you about, one thing that you have to discover all by yourself.

The fear.

Parents live in fear of what may happen to their children. We see danger everywhere. Most of us parents learn to deal with this fear, sending our children out into the world with a permafixed smile on our faces and a strong Gin and Tonic in the house.

The thing is, why do parents fear so much. When I walk down the road I feel totally secure, so why is it that when my six-year old walks down the road I see him tripping over the kerb, falling into the road and being squished by a passing car? When I see my two-year old climb the slide in out garden, why do I always envisage him tripping over the top step to land face first on the ground below. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much ‘You’ve been framed‘, but I believe it’s due to something else.

Simulation of  Large Children Collider results (source: wikipedia)

Simulation of Large Children Collider results (source: wikipedia)

This is where my theory comes in. From many years of observation I believe I’ve discovered that people, on becoming parents, develop a special parental sense that allows them to detect what is happening in the other multiple universes around us.** Forearmed with this knowledge they are able to keep their children safe***. Us parents prevent our sons from putting their hand in the mincer, from allowing our daughters to bleach their own hair with toilet duck, because it only takes a glance to know that the child is up to something. We can see clearly what is about to happen and intervene before disaster strikes. Take that bats with your sonar, or homing pigeons with your in-built sat nav, us parents can pierce time and space with just a thought (though the price we pay is high blood pressure, a weak heart, premature greying and bags under our eyes.)

Anyway, in classic physics style, to test this theory I propose that we put millions of children into situations that raise the fear levels of their parents. We then ask the parents what they foresee happening and compare the results. If the parental answers are the same, given the huge sample size it should validate my theory. The cost of such testing would be enormous, but I have designed a device to do this – called the Large Children Collider – which could be built underground in Switzerland.

So there you have it, a clear, simple to follow test for the multiverse concept without the need of complex mathematics or any scientific knowledge. Now laugh at me, my science friends. I look forward to your apologies when I receive my Nobel prize.

* I appreciate that I’m ignoring hundreds of years of scientific scandal, rivalry and down right intransigence.

**This is not to be confused with the eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head sense that is also observed in teachers

***Yes, I know that the many-worlds theory talk about events that have happened in the past, rather than the future, but it spoils the gag so just leave it.

7 thoughts on “Parental fear and why I should win the Nobel prize for physics

  1. It’s a daily Physics experiment, where the question is “What’s the worst that could happen here?”. As Chief Safety Officer, there is a constant stream of calculations; is that rock he’s balancing on too big for him, is that water too hot, is that dog crazy or not. There should be a smartphone app that parents could hold up to view a situation which would announce “Unsafe!”.

  2. Yup. I support your nomination. But thanks for the hand-in-mincer image, which is not one I’ve got on my existing list. By the way, my “kids” are in their twenties and have left home, which opens up a whole new skill level of imagining other worlds, because you don’t even know where the kids are, so they could equally be under a bus as walking along a dark alley or getting into a car that’s driven by a psychokiller dressed as a taxi-driver, or happily at home in their kitchens with their wet hands on the electric socket or their HANDS IN THE MINCER….

    • My father told me the first 20 years were the worst. Then his father said the next twenty weren’t much better.
      You make a good point about whether our parental imaginings when we don’t see what is happening may also be linking in to alternate universes. I think it’s another area to explore.
      As for the “hands in mincer”, it was my pleasure 🙂

  3. Pingback: Parental fear and why I should win the Nobel prize for physics | Creativity From Chaos

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