Sunday, January 21, 2007

No, not that QED

Not long after my older daughter Kiera was born, one of my college physics buddies decided that a good baby gift for her would be Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman's QED. Not surprisingly, it's been relegated to the bottom of the book stack for years, but she recently discovered it and has been carrying it around "reading" it.

Yesterday I was engrossed in a conversation with my husband in the car when Kiera piped up from the back seat, "Mommy, what does Q-E-D mean?" As a scientist and Latin scholar, this is a question I've been asked and have answered many times. Without thinking, I went into mindless didactic mode, explaining, "Well, Q.E.D. stands for 'quod erat demonstrandum', which in Latin means, 'which was to be proven'."

My husband said, "I thought it was 'quantum electrodynamics'." Oh, yeah. He's right. Feynman's QED does, in fact, stand for that, although the far more common "Q.E.D." frequently seen at the end of mathematical proofs is as I had explained. "Sorry, Kiera, the QED on your book stands for quantum electrodynamics."

"NO, MOMMY, this book is called Mumble's Quick Tap Dance!"

I decided not to argue with that one.


Geigerin said...

Awww! I miss Kiera! Already getting into quantum electrodynamics... Why am I not surprised? ;)

NOOOOOOOO! You found it! *falls to knees* Just kidding. You can look at it under one condition: This is between you and me.

firezdog said...

And in Greek QED is OED, HOPER EDEI DEIXAI -- "What had to be shown" -- but in English OED is the Oxford English Dictionary.