Schrödinger’s Grant

When one applies for a grant to fund research, or any other activity, the success or failure of that grant application cannot be known until the email or letter comes in, either confirming funding or denying it. For this reason, one’s proposed research can be described as both funded and not funded, until that dreadful email comes in and the wave function collapses. This paradox, formulated by Catherine Scott in an effort to cheer me up, shall hereby be referred to as Schrödinger’s Grant (inspired as it is by the famous thought-experiment of Erwin Schrödinger).

Of four grants I have applied for in the past year to fund further research on the Red-throated Caracara, one has been funded, two have been denied, and the fourth is in this state of limbo.

This is a fine way to think of things, and one can always be optimistic, but is it really wise to pin one’s future on such unpredictable events? Sometimes it seems the height of foolishness.

Of course, in the  Many Worlds interpretation of grant funding, there exists a possible universe where  Red-throated Caracara research is a top priority and ALL the grants are funded, the Nat Geo special is watched by millions and I have a full time job doing tropical research…

7 thoughts on “Schrödinger’s Grant

  1. Ah, living by the whims of others. It is horrible. (You should try arts funding for your work…that is a whole other black hole of despair!!)
    You are such a talent….the caracaras need you, we need you, and the whole universe of scientific grant folk need your work in whatever direction you turn your sights. And Nat Geographic well, one day will be calling.
    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you have such a broad knowledge of doing research, different areas of potential this and other studies to do, the unique bugs/animals/birds you find and share with us……
    I have no doubts you will go far in this world.
    That Catherine lady, by the way, is one smart cookie!

  2. Sean, don’t forget that it is ultimately the observer (i.e. you) who is responsible for the collapse of the wave function. Without the ‘observer’, Caracara research would remain in a perpetual state of quantum superposition. Your role in all this is to practice your powers of intentionality; literally ‘will’ your research into existence. . .

    All this talk of manifesting reality got me thinking . . . If a Caracara calls in the forest and no one is around to listen, does it still make a loud and obnoxious sound?

  3. I am all too aware that I am responsible for collapsing the wave function!
    Regarding the loud and obnoxious sound….though we may not hear them at all times, I would say that yes, their calls are probably capable of tearing the fabric of spacetime locally and seeping into other universes. When the inhabitants of those universes come calling with their death-rays, we will know who to blame.

  4. How clever, I think so many people relying on grants for funding would love that 🙂 Your passion is evident and I wish you the best of luck with your funding, I want to see that Nat Geo special one day!

  5. Pingback: Six months of loud birds, photography and science! | Ibycter

Comments are closed.