From: Andrew Howard
Location: Reston, VA
Mr. Bear -
I was asked to write a paper on the science behind Schrdinger's Plague for my Literature of Science Fiction class. In the course of researching the paper, I stumbled across the introduction you wrote for it in your Collected Stories. You mention that Benford and Cramer dispute the physics involved and give "John Bell" as the clue. I can only assume that their reasoning somehow involves Bell's Theorem, but I can't for the life of me reason out how.
The best I've been able to come up with is that Parkes' hypochondriasis is somehow a local hidden variable and thus disallowed, but my understanding is that the local variables would have to be intrinsic to the particle in question. Another possible explanation that occurred to me is that the fact of Parkes' hypochondriasis is information and thus cannot be transmitted meaningfully through superluminal effects. This, however, is not an intrinsic part of Bell's Theorem. More of a corollary, which allows it to play nicely with relativity.
Is there any chance you could point me in the right direction? I hadn't planned on writing anything more complicated than an overview of Schrdinger's Cat, the Copenhagen Interpretation and the Schrdinger equation, but I'm having a hard time letting go of this "John Bell" clue. I'd appreciate whatever help you can give me. Thanks, also, for writing a great story. I enjoyed it.
From: Greg Bear
Sounds to me like you're farther along than I could ever be. And if you figure out the reasoning behind their objections, please let me know!