The Fateful Encounter

There was a young man from Natal
And Sue was the name of his gal
   He went out one day
   For a rather long way—
In fact to see the Suez Canal.

The young Natal thought his oasis
The best of all possible places;
   For it had a mirage
   In the form of a large
And affectionate female curvaceous.

But the young Natal was put in distress
The lioness he met left him a mess;
   They returned his entrails
   By the regular mails
And the rest of his body by express.

The lioness stood before Justice Percival
Who said, “I suppose you’ll get worse if’ll
   Send you to jail,
   So I’ll put you on bail.”
Now wasn’t Judge Percival merciful?

Gustav Tjgaard

The Submission of Two Practical and Pragmatic Solutions to the Elusive (but meaningful) Problem of How to Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert

“One” The Theoretical Physics Methods

1) The Dirac method (quantum mechanics)

I assert that wild lions can ipso facto not be observed in the Sahara desert. Therefore, if there are any lions at all in the desert, they are tame. We leave catching a tame lion as an exercise to the reader.

2) The Schroedinger method

At every instant there is a non-zero probability of the lion being in the cage. Sit and wait.

3)  The Quantum Measurement Method

     We assume that the sex of the lion is ab initio indeterminate. The wave function for the lion is hence a superposition of the gender eigenstate [1] for a lion and that for a lioness. We lay these eigenstates out flat on the ground and orthogonal to each other. Since the (male) lion has a distinctive mane, the measurement of sex can safely be made from a distance, using binoculars. The lion then collapses into one of the eigenstates, which is then rolled up and placed inside the cage.

4)  The nuclear physics method

Insert a tame lion into the cage and apply a Majorana exchange operator on it and a wild lion. As a variant let us assume that we would like to catch (for argument’s sake) a male lion. We insert a tame female lion into the cage and apply the Heisenberg exchange operator,  exchanging spins.

5)  The Newton method

Cage and lion attract each other with the gravitation force. We neglect the friction. This way the lion will arrive sooner or later in the cage.

6)  The Special relativistic method

     One moves over the desert with light velocity. The relativistic length contraction makes the lion flat as paper. One takes it, rolls it up and puts a rubber band around the lion.

7)  The general relativistic method

All over the desert we distribute lion bait containing large amounts of the companion star of Sirius. After enough of the bait has been eaten we send a beam of light through the desert. This will curl around the lion so it gets all confused and can be approached without danger.

8)  The Heisenberg method

Position and Velocity from a moving lion can not be measure at the same time. As moving lions have no physical meaningful position in the desert, one can not catch them. The lion hunt can therefore be limited to resting lions. The catching of a resting, not moving lion is left as an exercise for the reader.

 

“Two” The Experimental Physics Methods

1)  The thermodynamics method

We construct a semi-permeable membrane which lets everything but lions pass through. This we drag across the desert.

2)  The atomic fission method

     We irradiate the desert with slow neutrons. The lion becomes radioactive and starts to disintegrate. Once the disintegration process is progressed far enough the lion will be unable to resist.

3)  The magneto-optical method

We plant a large, lens shaped field with cat mint (nepeta cataria) such that its axis is parallel to the direction of the horizontal component of the earth’s magnetic field. We put the cage in one of the field’s foci. Throughout the desert we distribute large amounts of magnetized spinach (spinacia oleracea) which has, as everybody knows, high iron content. The spinach is eaten by vegetarian desert inhabitants who in turn are eaten by the lions. Afterwards the lions are oriented parallel to the earth’s magnetic field and the resulting lion beam is focused on the cage by the cat mint lens.


[1] Because of the uncertainty principle, statements about both the position and momentum of particles can only assign a probability that the position or momentum will have some numerical value. The uncertainty principle also says that eliminating uncertainty about position maximizes uncertainty about momentum, and eliminating uncertainty about momentum maximizes uncertainty about position.