I wanted to see the play for several reasons:
1) I am a physicist
2) I am a practising Roman Catholic
3) I find Alan Davies and David Baddiel very funny, normally
I have never had a problem with being a Catholic and a physicist. To me quantum mechanics is so beautiful and weird that it seems to go hand in hand with a creator and if we consider that the Universe started from a “big bang” why shouldn’t a creator have caused it to happen.
The character of Edie annoyed me from the start. Personally, I never felt the need to go and bother my lecturers about my beliefs. I was too busy trying to understand the subject.
I did enjoy Edie and Henry’s dialogue about spin and quantum entanglement.
In quantum mechanics and particle physics, spin is an intrinsic form of angular momentum carried by elementary particles, composite particles (hadrons), and atomic nuclei.
As the name suggests, spin was originally conceived as the rotation of a particle around some axis. This picture is correct so far as spin obeys the same mathematical laws as quantized angular momenta do.
As Henry explains “an electron isn’t really spinning like a top” and Edie replies “The electron is spinning in all possible directions. At once. Only at the point of measurement, of observation, can it be said to be spinning in a particular direction.”
Edie continues “If you pair, say, an electron with another electron and then really separate them you find one electron spins in one direction and the other electron spins in the opposite direction”.
Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance.
Edie’s view is that if you actually believe in quantum entanglement you may as well believe in God.
In act one we also meet Henry’s wife Virginia who is a committed atheist and Tim, a computer science lecturer, who is Henry’s friend. The dialogue for these two characters was reasonably amusing.
The play got interesting again when Edie and Henry use science to prove Jesus turning water into wine at the marriage in Cana.
This gives Henry and Edie an idea of writing a book that gives scientific explanations for things that happen in the bible.
Edie describes an aspect of quantum physics “everything exists in a cloud of probability. Everything’s a wave function. Until the moment of observation. Us seeing the world is what makes it seeable”. “it’s quite a strong argument for the existence of God”.
For Edie, an example of a miracle is a single photon passing through a double slit at the same time.
Edie describes God as the Infinite Observer and invents the “God constant”.
Henry’s (and Edie’s) book is very successful.
I’m sorry I really didn’t like this act. I thought the idea of the creation of a new branch of Christianity with Henry as the “Messiah” as completely daft. The only good thing to come out of it was how it showed how awful social media can be. The fact that Virginia had to go into hiding because of the comments made about her was very sad.