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University of BTSC: Masters of Science degree in Steelerology Required Core Course 201: Using Quantum Mechanics to Understand the Baltimore Ravens (and their Fans).

Course Requirements and Notes:

A pre-requisite of this course is Course 101 - Pittsburgh Steelers: Greatest Football Team Ever - A Case Study with 6 independent test trials. If you have not already passed this course, a waiver must be obtained by your Department Head, Prof. Coolong, or Dean Bean.

Course 201 does not utilize Theoretical Physics Superstring Theory as applied to laces on footballs. The use and application of such theoretical scientific inquiry can more readily be found at Junior College institutions such as DBN State offering such courses as "Footbal Fisiks", or The Inorganic Chemistry of Alpo.

It has been widely reported that the Baltimore Ravens employed highly paid outside consultants in the previous off-season to answer the franchise's long standing question of: "How do we get past the Pittsburgh Steelers and Win the Super Bowl?"

Given the recent history of the Ravens' inability to solve this problem, this question, and the bitter and divisive debate that has exploded in the Baltimore Beatdown ("BB") blog sight over the possible solution(s), has led the University of BTSC to marshal its not inconsiderable resources to offer a course to help students desiring to matriculate with an MS Degree in Steelerology to better understand the Baltimore Ravens, their fans, and why they bother themselves with such an impossible-to-solve problem. To do so however, we have eschewed the use of "third party football "consultants" and will be utilizing the most cutting-edge scientific theories of the day.

Course Summary:

In quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that the more precisely one property of a particle is measured, the less precisely the another can be controlled, determined, or known. Most typically, the properties measured in basic quantum mechanics are position and momentum. However, in this course the student will apply this principle to the study of the small, so very very small, almost insignificant, quantum particle known as the Ravens Particle.

When one property of the Ravens Particle, (e.g. Flacco as an elite NFL quarterback -defined by his overall collective body of work as determined by passer rating, yards per pass, number of touchdown passes, etc.) is measured by scientists such as Dr. MaLoR, the ability to measure, or quantify, the second property of the Ravens Particle (e.g. the Ravens as Super Bowl Champions), becomes less precise, much more difficult to determine with any degree of certainty, and less likely to be realized. This uncertainty (and the increasing frustration of Dr. MaLoR) in the inability to quantify this second property, reflects a superposition state in the quantum Raven Particle. A superposition state is one where all possible states, or conditions of the particle exist at the same time:

  • Flacco has a high level of skill and the Ravens are a Super Bowl champion;
  • Flacco has a low level of skill and the Ravens are Super Bowl champions;
  • Flacco has a high level of skill and the Ravens are not champions,
  • Flacco has a low skill level and the Ravens are not champions.

This superposition of existence creates a probability quantum wave front embodying all of the above mentioned possibilities, which will exist in and for every football season, now and forever, until the outcome is no longer a probability, but rather the Ravens particle has reached an end-state of existence, a collapsing of the probability quantum wave front into a single state of being.

So the Ravens and their fans ask themselves "...when, oh Lord, when will we win the Super Bowl...if we got so close this year but failed, when will it come to pass?" Determining when the superposition of the Ravens particle will collapse into an end-state with the desired properties is beyond even the greatest minds of today, but in this class we will learn to apply some further concepts towards understanding this phenomenon.

In 1935, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger devised a thought experiment (called the Schrödinger's Cat Experiment) asking the question: when does a quantum particle in a superposition state stop being so, and become one or the other.

In our adaption of his theoretical experiment, we assume a Ravens Field Goal Kicker ("FGK") sealed in a windowless box attempting a field goal, and a Geiger counter attached to a small, slowly decaying radioactive particle, so small that maybe in the course of 60 minutes, one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, maybe none decay; if the Geiger counter detects no radiation, the kick is good; when the Geiger counter detects radiation, the kick goes wide left. The question raised is: in that 60 minute period, is the field goal good?

An extension of this theoretical experiment is the Wigner's Friend Experiment, which assumes a friend of Wigner, who is a Baltimore Ravens fan, performs our Field Goal Kicker experiment after Wigner leaves the laboratory. Only when he returns does Wigner learn the result of the experiment from his friend, that is, whether the kick is good or not. The question is raised: was the state of the system a superposition of "made kick/happy Baltimore fan" and "missed kick/sad Baltimore fan," only determined when Wigner learned the result of the experiment, or was it determined at some previous point? Wigner believed if a material device (e.g. a laser beam covering the area between the uprights, connected to a bell that rings if a football breaks the beam) is substituted for the conscious Baltimore fan, the superposition nature of the quantum wave function remains, meaning all possible outcomes exist simultaneously, unless observed by a conscious Baltimore fan. (Note that this requires the observer only be conscious, it does not require a minimum threshold of intelligence, which would allow even DBN members to conduct this experiment.)

One aspect of Wigner's experiment however, was his belief that the observing fan must be in one state of consciousness or another, and thus with more than one fan observing, multiple states of consciousness would exist, and thus the probability quantum wave front collapses into a single end-state, either the kick is good, or it is not.

In other words, with millions of people (observers) watching on television as the Ravens field goal kicker approaches the ball (two possible outcomes, or "states" - makes it or doesn't), and he shanks it wide left, the possible potential multiple realities of the Baltimore Ravens and their fans collapses into a single end-state, a state of choke-dom and not being in the Super Bowl.

Thus, the conscious observations of the Baltimore fans on their BB blog site about the 2011 NFL season are immaterial to the reality of the 2011 NFL season.

This can also be illustrated by the Baltimore Ravens attempts during the 2011 regular season to pre-determine, or influence, the collapsed state of the Ravens Particle quantum wave front by artificially imposing characteristics of their desired end-state through the repeated application of a liquid substance onto the highly charged sub-particle known as the Harbaugh-Whines particle.

Given that such practices invalidate inviolate scientific practices of experimentation, as well as general standards of football behavior, we must further adapt the Schrödinger /Wigner designed experiment by following a growing belief in the field of quantum physics that consciousness in the observing fan is necessary to the quantum mechanical measurement process, and the presence of multiple states of consciousness observing the experiment, (i.e. the actual number of conscious Baltimore fans), representing multiple levels of consciousness (e.g. sober, inebriated, etc) is irrelevant.

This brings us to our last and final concept of quantum mechanics that is required to be understood to successfully pass this course and achieve full understanding of the Baltimore Ravens and their fans: the Many Worlds Interpretation.

Originally formulated by American physicist Hugh Everett in 1957, as a "relative state" theory, this school of thought has undergone several re-formulations. It is an aspect of quantum mechanics that asserts the actual reality of the probability quantum wave front, but does not agree that upon conscious observation, either by a single observer, or millions of football fans, the probability wave of the Ravens choking collapses into a single end-state.

Meaning, unlike everyone else's perception of reality (e.g. Steeler fans), whereby a resulting effect for a given cause is the only reality, such as:

the Many Worlds Interpretation posits that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, and exist, representing a separate "reality" for each possible outcome of a given event. The Many worlds interpretation avoids the need to postulate that multiple states of consciousness causes collapse - indeed, that collapse occurs at all.

According to this "Many Worlds" theory, when the Baltimore fans observed the results of the Ravens' ill-advised rushed field goal attempt, the universe they inhabited splits into two; in one split universe (the original) the Ravens go home empty handed once again, as they have done in 7 of the past 10 years; in the "other" (so far, only theoretical, except in their own minds), the Baltimore fans have a Super Bowl that has eluded them for the past 11 years.

Of course, that second split is subject to further conditioning via events that take place in that "other" reality. The conditional state of that reality is subject to whether Flacco plays like he did against the Steelers, or like he did against the Jaguars; for each condition, the Baltimore fans' reality will split further into an additional two universes.

Thus, through the integration of several theoretical concepts of Quantum Mechanics, we can better understand the basic building blocks of the universe, the core scientific reasons for how this reality we exist in operates, and come closer to understanding the Ravens and their fans and their own collective little reality, a reality where their quarterback really is a champion caliber player; a reality where even today, they really are getting ready to play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl of their collective minds.

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