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

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

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

The Uncertainty Principle cover artwork

Luminaire Prose Award silver logo and link

“On the precise and lucid pleasures of his prose and the largess of his fancy, Wachman spies the connections, visible, subtle, and metaphorical, between the mechanics of the universe and those that try to make him children.”
—A. Jay Adler,
author of Waiting for Word
and adjunct professor of English, Queens College, CUNY



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

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About The Uncertainty Principle

• Essays on Conception, Infertility, Birth, and Quantum Mechanics
• Published by Alternating Current Press
• 5” x 8” Perfectbound Trade Paperback
• Cream Paper, 146 Pages
• Print ISBN-13: 978-1-946580-23-8
• First Edition: February 2021
Permalink | Short URL: tinyurl.com/wachmanprinciple
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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.

About artwork for The Uncertainty Principle

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






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