Sunday, December 15, 2013

Annus Mirabilis

 This is my friend Peter.  I’ve written about him on this blog before under the character alias Peter the Russian.  He’s a self-admitted fruitcake.  A frustrated teacher.  An embattled British expatriate of Asia.  A run of the mill lunatic to anyone he’d bump into him on the street.  He’s also about to become one of the most famous men in recent history.
(Wild Halter Top Spandex Man on Roller Blades Dancing at Taichung Jazz Festival, 2013)

 Peter has already had quite an amazing life, born in Birmingham, England, he was the trumpet player in the classic 80’s band Fine Young Cannibals.  (Wait, what’s that you say, the black spandex clad boys that brought us “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Good Thing” didn’t have a trumpet player.  That’s because the manager kicked him out a few months before MTV made them a household name.  Nobody wants to see a pasty white brass player in black spandex, do they?)
(Old Apartment Building, People's Park Jazz Festival, 2013)

 From there Peter moved to Marseilles where he lived in a bordello as a bag man for a famous French Madam, then years as a motorcycle super racer on the Isle of Wight, and finally to Taiwan, where for the past few years we’ve become companions and confidantes. 
(Peter gives his H2H Presentation:  Hydrogen to Human)

 Whether cooking up curry in his tiny aromatic apartment kitchen or standing in the park listening to jazz (like in the pictures above at the Taichung Jazz Festival) or sitting in the dark corner of my apartment while his son plays with my daughter … we have talked endlessly about the universe… and by universe I mean, the gap between traditional laws of physics and quantum mechanics.   
 Because Peter has stated…that after over 35 years of patiently doing mathematical equations by himself, (what he calls “The Mathematics of Authority” attempting to disprove why one set of numbers has authority over another and thus proving that authority cannot exist) he has eventually accomplished what no other person in the history of the world has done:  Connected Einstein’s Theory of Relativity: E=MC2 , to that of Quantum Physics. 
 He has it, that equation that betters Einstein, that proves how to travel faster than the speed of light, that explains black holes and dark matter, and why humans act and behave in the way they do… in essence:  A Theoretical Equation that is the Answer to Everything…  short and sweet  printed on a T-shirt. 
(Hartenstein Girls Chatting up Peter's Son)

 Of course, nobody will listen.
 Let’s backtrack.  To be honest, half of what Peter tells me I cannot possibly comprehend. That’s why we have Paul, (Yes, the two most interesting men in Taiwan are named after Christian saints).  Paul is an amateur mathematician, who joins us for these late night meetings in my kitchen where we sit in the soft darkness arguing with one another about math and philosophy.   The two of them scribbling numbers and equations from Newton and Schrodinger  and me pointing to quotes from Aristotle’s Ethics and Plato’s Republic. 
 Peter has stated now, that after all these years of working privately, and after the last few years of sitting with Paul and I at night, he has finally finished the mathematical work.  That he has submitted it to Oxford who rejected him as a complete heretic and nut job… because he did not follow protocol (what fellow there didn’t look pasty in black spandex in 1984?) AND… now he’s searching for a buyer, going instead to corporations.    It got me thinking… about Einstein, of course.
(Hartenstein and Daughters at the Taichung Jazz Festival, 2013)

 In 1904, Albert Einstein was a complete bust!  He’d scraped through university, mostly by copying the notes of a friend, and graduated without distinction.  Desperately, his father wrote to a famous physicist begging to give young Albert an apprenticeship, but never heard back.  Albert took at job as a 3rd class patent clerk in Bern, Switzerland, but failed the civil service exam to move to 2nd class.  He was struggling, in debt, his life going nowhere.  Then he impregnated a woman from Serbia and the child was put up for adoption, no record of her is known and she probably died soon after.  Pictures of Einstein at that time are not the beloved and carefree white haired genius with wagging tongue and winking eye we know today.  Not at all.  Young Albert Einstein was a pasty, chubby, black curly haired pudge!  (Imagine a short haired Ron Jeremy, a face not even porn could love)  If you met this young Einstein on the street, you’d cross quickly thanking your stars he didn’t ask you for money or a favor.
Which brings me to my reason for writing this… what if, just what if, you were another patent clerk in that office in Bern.   What if, every day you sat down with Albert and listened to his frustrations about money and his complaints about class struggle and had to reject his offers for administrative advancement?  You don’t have to speculate because if you’re like me, you have dozens of people like that in your life.  Our professional lives are full of half-wits and savage louts… but what if, on the rare chance, you met the brilliant Albert who showed you his physics… if you had met this Einstein just one year before 1905, his Annus Mirabilis (miraculous year) when he turned the world upside down with four published papers that revolutionized humanity’s understanding of the universe and earned him a Nobel Prize?  What if you were sitting at the table with this man arguing and postulating and saw his greatness before the world knew even a whisper of him?  What’s it worth?  Anything?  What do you do with this information?  Have you ever met a true baffling intellect the world wants nothing to do with?  Because I have.

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