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The Uncertainty Principle: Essays on Infertility, Conception, Birth, and Quantum Mechanics by Joel Wachman

The Uncertainty Principle: Essays by Joel Wachman The Uncertainty Principle header banner

The Uncertainty Principle:
Essays on Infertility, Conception, Birth, and Quantum Mechanics by Joel Wachman

The Uncertainty Principle cover artwork
• Essays | Nonfiction | Science Writing
• 5” x 8” Perfectbound Trade Paperback
• Cream Paper, 146 Pages
• Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-946580-23-8
• First Edition: August 10, 2021
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Starting in the subatomic realm where matter and energy converge and nature seems fickle, and zooming out to consider history on a cosmological scale, the author wonders why there is not enough room for one more child in the universe. With curiosity, compassion, and wit, the essays in The Uncertainty Principle introduce the reader to the fundamental patterns of the universe that influence our existence. In “What Little Boys Are Made Of,” the caprices of quantum interactions at the beginning of time initiate a chain of events that leads to the birth of a child. “Entanglement” addresses the bizarre behavior of subatomic particles that can communicate at a distance, and muses that human beings might be connected in ways we do not understand. In the title essay, a fragile embryo clings to life, and its fate is uncertain until the last moment, when mass and energy, time, love, and hope combine to reveal the truth. Filled with rich, lyrical prose, The Uncertainty Principle is not just a book for the science-minded; it’s the story of life, relationships, family ties, and the humorous entanglement that binds us all together.

“Entanglement”: Third-place winner of the 2017 Luminaire Prose Award
“What Little Boys Are Made Of”: Sixth-place winner of the 2017 Luminaire Prose Award

Content warnings: sexual content (tasteful), pornography, medical masturbation, infertility procedures, scientific sexual processes

Cover design by Leah Angstman. Interior artwork created by Bun Art and Tati Bordiu.

Perfectbound Trade Paperback $16.99

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“From quantum entanglement to cold fusion, Joel Wachman spies the connections, visible, subtle, and metaphorical—which is hardly, in the world of The Uncertainty Principle, to say unreal—between the mechanics of the universe and those that try to make him children. In Wachman’s delightful telling of the disagreeable struggles to inseminate his Ruby, ‘the world is not really made of stuff at all. At the smallest level, it is made of influences.’ Among these influences is the pain of the couple’s efforts on the precise and lucid pleasures of Wachman’s prose and the largess of his fancy. Or as he joyously foresees, in relating to his yet-unborn son the boy’s forelife among the particles and waves, ‘Look! Look! There you are. Deep inside that quantum spark. How marvelous, you crumb of universe.’”
—A. Jay Adler,
author of Waiting for Word

The Uncertainty Principle is a unique and beautiful synthesis of literary prose and physics. Joel Wachman’s command of both the art and the science is something truly impressive.”
—Dr. Michael Litos,
Professor of Physics at University of Colorado–Boulder

About Joel Wachman

JOEL WACHMAN’s essays have won awards from Alternating Current Press and Sycamore Review and a runner-up place for the Wabash Award. His work has been published in Harvard Review, the Boston Globe, two anthologies from Universal Table Press, and elsewhere. His father was a scientist and his mother a schoolteacher, so naturally he became a critical thinker who loves literature. After earning a Bachelors in Cognitive Science at Harvard and a Masters at the MIT Media Laboratory, he spent a decade in Paris. There, he published a series of chapbooks, Par Avion, which was sold by bouquinistes along the Seine. Now working as a computer scientist, Joel builds information systems for a research institute that develops treatments for cancer. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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