Planck Meets Fleming

So yesterday at Pinewood Studios they announced the name of the upcoming second James Bond film in the new series that (excellently, in my opinion) re-envisions the Bond movie universe. Last year’s first one was “Casino Royale”, you may recall. Did you hear what the next one will be called?

“The Quantum of Solace”.

No, really. You can hear a bit about it (and the Ian Fleming short story it is based on – in which “the smallest unit of human compassion that two people can have” is discussed) on NPR here. What an amusing collision of physics and mainstream culture.

This just begs me to speculate, in two movements:

  1. Shouldn’t this smallest unit of human compassion, this quantum of solace, which is presumably a bosonic particle (as the photon is for light), have a name? Any ideas/suggestions? Solacon? Compasson? Empathon? I bet you can do better…. answers in the comments.
  2. casino royaleLast year in New York I took part in a shoot for King magazine where a group of mostly entertainment and fashion people (and …er… yours truly) all dressed up and played around on a casino set with the standard-issue roulette wheels, blackjack tables, mysterious-looking beautiful women, and so forth. The theme was Casino Royale, you see. You can read about it here and here. So while it might have been thought by some to be a stretch for the magazine to include a physicist amongst those featured (and of course I think it was creative and laudable that they did – see my thoughts), now it’s all perfectly poised for a physicist to join in a shoot with such a Bond theme.

    Me and the Tux are looking forward to 2009*… Physicists out there: I suggest you do the same (Tux, Ball gown, Little Black Dress, etc, as appropriate).


*Or the months soon after the film’s release, anyway.

(Cross-posted to Correlations.)

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11 Responses to Planck Meets Fleming

  1. onymous says:


  2. Clifford says:

    Oh my…! Brilliant. And that’s funny for a whole host of reasons (to do with a paper I wrote with Peet and Polchinski in 1999). Are you cleverly making reference to that, by any chance?



  3. Clifford says:

    You know, I really wish I’d thought of that. It’s so good.


  4. onymous says:

    Yes, I don’t think I would have thought of it without the example of the enhançon.

  5. Elliot says:

    How about a Cheneyon?

    He doesn’t seem to have much compassion at all.


  6. efp says:

    The ‘up’ emoticon?

  7. Yvette says:

    Can’t beat the suggestions here. I will say, though, that I always wanted to be a Bond girl primarily because it annoyed me when the nuclear engineer couldn’t pronounce “nuclear” and “atomic” correctly. If I were running around the world with an international spy I’d nonetheless say the words right, dagnabbit!

  8. pedant says:


    How did these boffins mangle such simple words? Nucular (like Dubu’ar) or unclear (c.f. Murray Gell Mann’s ‘squalid state’)? Atomic like Blondie? Whatever, Roger Moore was the man. Not that any of it is real, of course.

  9. Supernova says:

    This title reminds me of the Patrick O’Brian book The Nutmeg of Consolation (part of the series that starts with Master and Commander). I haven’t read it yet, though, so I can’t say whether solace is sufficiently similar to consolation as to warrant use of the same basic nutmeg unit.

  10. Clifford says:

    pedant – No, no, no! Roger Moore’s Bond degenerated the whole thing into a farce, or Carry-On movie. I love Carry-On movies as much as the next person, but I want a Bond Film to be a proper spy thriller. For the longest while the best Bond films (i.e. in the Bond tradition with the Bond feel) were made in America and were not Bond at all – a good example is the set of Bourne films, started marvellously by Doug Lyman (and finished marvellously by Paul Greengrass… the last one arguably equally British and American). Even True Lies knocked the socks off pretty much every modern Bond film. Bond films became a laughing stock. I’d even prefer to see an Austin Powers movie over almost any of the Pierce Brosnan ones.

    Except for the brief interlude provided by the two long-forgotten-but-really-good-considering Timothy Dalton movies, the films were pretty dreadful bits of camp nonsense for the longest while, from Moore onwards. This new “relaunch” of the series is just fantastic, recalling the very early Connery ones, which were really splendid.

    Of course, you’re welcome to disagree!! (And all the Roger Moore-Bond fans out there.) Don’t get me wrong…. I still end up fondly watching Bond movie marathons on some channel in a hotel somewhere on a trip. Guilty pleasure mixed with nostalgia…