“The Majorana Experiment” fans out from an account of Ettore Majorana, a genius of Italian physics who disappeared at sea in 1938 under mysterious circumstances.
A secret history of sorts, Majorana’s journey is a shadow line that traces the covert story of the creation of nuclear weapons. Majorana’s story became a myth after the publication in 1975 of Leonardo Sciascia’s novel “The Vanishing of Majorana.” The polemic generated by this publication spurred an impressive number of speculative theories, some more plausible than others, about the causes that pushed Majorana to cover up his tracks. One theory gained much currency over the years: Majorana orchestrated his own disappearance because of his anticipation of the deadly outcome of the discovery of nuclear fission.
The theory advanced in this constellation of works is speculative. Majorana operated a ‘quantum disappearance’ on himself: a passage from an embodied existence to a multiplication of ‘eigenstates,’ which can synchronically co-exist in different places, transcending the laws that link time and space. This abstract idea offers a vast territory for experimentation. It endows classical narrative with an open structure in which Majorana’s uncertain journey becomes a time capsule, a container for narratives that subsequent historicizations can potentially bestow with meaning, and which, in the present context of nuclear weapons proliferation remains surprisingly relevant.