Another Quantum

So were you, back in 2008, among the many wondering what a Quantum of Solace was, and probably coming up blank? Did you eventually give up and put it out of your mind? Well, there’s another quandary at large that might trouble you for a while, and for the same reasons as before. Royal Caribbean International have launched the new name for their new oceanliner(s).

It is… wait for it… “Quantum of the Seas”. (I learned this from an ad break during the Oscars last weekend.) Now, the “of the Seas” bit continues a tradition of names over the years that mostly all make sense. Here they are:

Adventure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas
Brilliance of the Seas
Enchantment of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas
Freedom of the Seas
Grandeur of the Seas
Independence of the Seas
Jewel of the Seas
Legend of the Seas
Liberty of the Seas
Majesty of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas
Monarch of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas
Oasis of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas
Rhapsody of the Seas
Serenade of the Seas
Splendour of the Seas
Vision of the Seas
Voyager of the Seas

(I say “mostly” since I’m not sure what “Independence of the Seas” means exactly, unless it is about maritime law, jurisdictions, and so forth, but you could imagine a context in which it would a phrase that makes sense.) But I’m really stuck when it comes to “Quantum of the Seas”. How do these names come about, I wonder? Did someone just think the word “Quantum” would look cool there, or was there some deeper thinking? (Examination of the video I linked to above did not help. There were just lots of people saying things to camera about how “powerful” a word it is and the usual misunderstandings about the phrase “quantum leap” that is so common – somehow it is used to mean a huge leap forward, whereas it is, ironically, perhaps better thought of as something incredibly small.)

Grasping for the Physics implication of what a Quantum of the Seas could be, I went for the idea that you might try to find the smallest basic particle giving rise to the phenomenon, in the sense of a photon being a quantum of light (and electromagentism in general), or the Higgs particle the quantum of the Higgs field, the phonon the basic particle of vibration in various contexts in describing materials, and so forth. For Quantum of the Seas then, I abandoned an H2O molecule as too obvious and frankly too reductive, and reached for… perhaps a soliton of some kind? Does that work? Maybe not. Or I could take the good people at RCI at face value and imagine that they are telling me that if I were to combine a large number of these “Quantum” ships in the right way I would in fact get a sea of some sort? That would be a most impressive example of an emergent phenomenon, wouldn’t you say?

The search for understanding continues…

-cvj

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12 Responses to Another Quantum

  1. r3df1ve says:

    I think the thing to be truly amazed by is the number of people who had to agree to this usage, and the rediculous sums of money they earn for making such decisions.

    I think some of the confusion comes from the hocus pocus new age ‘we are all energy and vibrations/waves’. There is a whole market for this stuff revolving around the idea that the word ‘quantum’ is something deeply spiritual and vast.

    The idea that a quanta is the smallest unit of something is drowned out by pop culture snake oil salesmen. This is why we need media friendly scientists!!

  2. mindless says:

    Everything is better with “…of the Seas”!

    Photoelectric Effect of the Seas

    Axion of the Seas

    Conformal Anomaly of the Seas

    Supersymmetry Generator of the Seas

    Operator Product Expansion of the Seas

    An Exceptional Theory of the Seas

    Perturbative Gauge Theory as a String Theory in Twistor Space of the Seas

  3. Clifford says:

    @aj_405 Ah… the good old days! Hi!

    -cvj

  4. Clifford says:

    mindless: – That’s hilarious! And true!

    -cvj

  5. Clifford says:

    r3df1ve: “This is why we need media friendly scientists!!” – Indeed.

  6. Philip Shane says:

    Maybe because it sails through the quantum foam.

    Or perhaps it simply refers to the size of your cabin.

  7. Clifford says:

    Phil: Of course!! Brilliant!

    -cvj

  8. Kramer says:

    Just fyi,

    A quantum of solace = “There, there…”

    Clearly without the second “there” you don’t have it.

  9. Philly Rob says:

    Basing the thought process on Synectics, which used to be popular as an innovation and creation tool in business years ago, I offer the following interpretation: Royal Caribbean oceanliners are [meant to be] discrete momentum carriers of fixed amounts of humanity and cargo across space from one emitting land source to another absorbing land sink without loss, in contrast to the macroscopic continuum behavioral limit of ocean and sea waves, including tsunamis, dangerous shorebreaks, rip currents, and tides. The characteristics of said vessels are clearly derived from and microscopically substantiate the continuum behavior of oceans and seas and therefore qualify as “Quanta of the Seas.” Of course, this might also serve the marketing needs of submarine builders by extension.