by Ted McIrvine

Prologue to a novel, Finn and Belle

Very few neutrinos acquire Christian names. But when the Jornada del Muerto desert lit up with the “radiance of a thousand suns,” two very special neutrinos departed the Trinity Test Site and sizzled past Alamagordo heading northeast. Their names were Finn and Belle.

Finn and Belle were in a state of quantum entanglement, the weird condition in which two subatomic particles are coupled to each other no matter how long or how far apart they travel. Albert Einstein darkly referred to such states as “spooky actions” and never trusted quantum theory because such actions offended his metaphysical sensibility.

Two identical “Fat Man” nuclear devices had been constructed at Los Alamos, one for the Alamagordo test and the other for a military target that turned out to be Nagasaki. When the test was successfully carried out on July 16, 1945 at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time, Finn and Belle were among the billions of neutrinos created by the nuclear fission of plutonium.

Six and a half milliseconds after the Trinity explosion, traveling at the speed of light, Finn arrived in a bedroom in Winnipeg where Howard and Agnes McLean had made love the previous evening. During the brief time that Finn was in transit from New Mexico to Manitoba, ten thousand solar neutrinos had passed through an ovum in Agnes’s sleeping body without interacting. Just when Finn arrived, the ovum was fertilized by a sperm that had spent all night energetically swimming upstream. Finn improbably interacted with biological matter at that mysterious moment of conception.

Two and a half milliseconds later, Belle similarly reached a house in Rochester where Samuel and Ruth Lebewohl, early risers, had made love before leaving their bed. Ruth was in the shower. Belle arrived and interacted with an atom in Sidney’s sperm just as it fertilized Ruth’s ovum.

So it was that by the most improbable of statistical anomalies, two fetuses began their existence in a state of quantum entanglement before the physicists in New Mexico heard the sound of the first atomic bomb. When Kate Lebewohl and Hugh McLean were born in the spring of 1946, their lives were already linked.

Ted McIrvine used his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Cornell University in a career that included research management and academic administration. He helped start laser xerographic printing at Xerox Corporation and was a Dean at Rochester Institute of Technology. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and an elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, he has published many articles in scientific journals and has written for general audiences in Scientific American and in the book Dialogue on Technology, Robert Theobald, ed. Ted moved to western North Carolina in 2000 and became an active arts journalist. His Arts Spectrum column appeared weekly in the Hendersonville Times-News for eight years. Arts Spectrum is now online at, providing commentary on the visual and performing arts in western North Carolina. McIrvine also reviews classical music for the nonprofit Classical Voice of North Carolina at

About Trinity—I think of myself primarily as a writer of nonfiction. My first venture into fiction resulted in the historical novel, 1919, and I am now writing a second, more imaginative novel. In the tradition of Robert Olen Butler, this novel is being written directly from the unconscious. It links my varied interests through the lives of two protagonists, Kate the physicist and Hugh the musician, who share a mystic connection that is described in the prologue,"Trinity."