He was happy with me, I believe. Once, though, when I came back from MIT—I'd been there a few years—he said to me, "Now," he said, "you've become educated about these things and there's one question I've always had that I've never understood very well and I'd like to ask you, now that you've studied this, to explain it to me," and I asked him what it was. And he said that he understood that when an atom made a transition from one state to another it emits a particle of light called a photon. I said, "That's right." And he says, "Well, now, is the photon in the atom ahead of time that it comes out, or is there no photon in it to start with?" I says, "There's no photon in, it's just that when the electron makes a transition it comes" and he says "Well, where does it come from then, how does it come out?" So I couldn't just say, "The view is that photon numbers aren't conserved, they're just created by the motion of the electron." I couldn't try to explain to him something like: the sound that I'm making now wasn't in me. It's not like my little boy who when he started to talk, suddenly said that he could no longer say a certain word—the word was "cat"—because his word bag has run out of the word cat. So there's no word bag that you have inside so that you use up the words as they come out, you just make them as they go along, and in the same sense there was no photon bag in an atom and when the photons come out they didn't come from somewhere, but I couldn't do much better. He was not satisfied with me in the respect that I never was able to explain any of the things that he didn't understand. So he was unsuccessful, he sent me through all these universities in order to find out these things and he never did find out.
-Richard P. Feynman
-Richard P. Feynman
I had a little bottle inside of me that was filled with music,
Made of crystal that wouldn’t let it escape
It would try, but reverberate, and only when I opened my mouth to sing a tune would it come out in melodious liberation.
I was scared to open my mouth.
I didn’t want my bottle to run out.
So I refrained from listening to Beethoven or Mozart,
And focused my attention on paintings and art.
One day, I held my baby in my arms,
I wanted to sing for her—she was too young to understand Monet.
So I sang and sang and sang and sang, ready to sing enough to empty my bottle.
But it never ran out.
Instead, it dug a hole at the bottom and sucked my sadness,
And made it into something beautiful.