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It's About Time
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It's About Time
Ups and downs in the world of quantum physics
[1,475 words]
Liilia Morrison
Writer and artist living in South Florida
[August 2016]
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It's About Time
Liilia Morrison

“Time travel is impossible.” Dr. Bleczy said. The professor of quantum physics spoke in a heavy accent, probably Central European. Hadley Hall, largest of the university’s three auditoriums, was packed. Ninety percent of the audience, however, was not physics students. Most were unaware of the energy formula, black holes or the concept of big bang. They were there because of a name. That name was Dr. Bleczy.

Who was this man and why this crowd? On an ordinary Tuesday morning lectures in Hadley Hall were attended by a handful of dedicated students. These men and women would graduate to major scientific contributions. The rest needed this course to pass the curriculum. Skidding by during finals, their goal was not knowledge, but a degree. With that piece of lambskin, doors would open to jobs and careers, often with the help of family or friends.

Why, then, did so many students jam the hall today? The regular professor, Dr. Hausleiter, was in Bern. Most of the class had no idea where Bern was. To their relief, it was in another country, another continent. Not many people liked or appreciated Dr. Hausleiter. It was hard to hear him. He mumbled his way through a lecture, scribbling illegible notes on a giant green board. He often blew his nose. Living in an abstract world of formulas and theorems, the man was oblivious to heckling, jeering and the flight of spitballs from higher rows.

This university had clout. Its president had been a world leader. Front-page news for years, he spent his prime in the public fish bowl. Now, seventy-six years old, he seldom came out of his office. Few knew where his office was.

The president had made a call. He did not physically make that call. It was the chief aide in his well-staffed office who made that call, in the president’s name.

“The president would like you to present a guest lecture during the university’s science symposium.” Formal words and salutations were exchanged. The little doctor, for Dr. Bleczy was only five foot four, gladly agreed to fly to this major university, all expenses paid.

As in world affairs, so in lesser forums, public relations can make or break an institution. The warp and woof of knowledge, so important to this university, had fallen prey to the mercy of public opinion.

“A bum, what a bum.’ People buying the morning edition stampeded the paperboy. The headline blared ‘Bolensky full of baloney.’ Bolensky, a distinguished member of the faculty, was caught using his laptop to answer a detailed question for a radio show. A jealous friend had turned him in. Bolensky had to return a large amount of prize money. Of course, his career was ruined.

The president had weathered much worse storms in his career. It was a major crisis, nevertheless. Without its image of credibility and high moral values, the university’s list of donors and charitable contributions would dry up as quickly as Bolensky’s career had. A good offense is the best defense, the president reckoned. Bring in names, names the public loves. Make a big splash. Invite the public. They will put the Bolensky disaster in the back of their minds. History showed how keeping the public happy with various entertainments kept many a kingdom from falling apart, no matter how tarnished it may have been.

Why then, did the president invite Dr. Bleczy to speak on campus? Why did Dr. Bleczy cause sleepy, unmotivated students to cut other classes and fill Hadley Hall this Tuesday morning, not to mention hundreds of local residents?

The answer lay in part with the wife of Dr. Bleczy, Ann Gorgen.

Ann Gorgen, brilliant writer and entertaining speaker, had for years been number one on science fiction bestseller lists. Of late, her stories were turning hackneyed. She was out of ideas. On a dare, she pursued the professor sitting at a table in a ski lodge in Zermatt. Dr. Bleczy, drinking coffee after a difficult symposium on the Hadron Collider, was delighted to meet this attractive, well-endowed woman. He was lonely, she, bored.

Her literary coterie referred to him as Mr. Gorgen. Since their liaison, most her ideas now came from Dr. Bleczy’s scientific ramblings. She spent hours in his library questioning him, soon turning this information into pseudo-scientific tales.

An easygoing soul, Dr. Bleczy ignored indirect barbs about this marriage. These soon became obvious insults. One day, he put his papers down and walked to a nearby lake. Something had to give. His was popular. He was not. Her income was larger than his. Her latest book sold to larger audiences, now including scientists marveling at her revolutionary insights.

But that wasn’t it. He threw small pebbles onto the lake’s smooth surface, watching them skip over the water, feeling like a boy again. He heard gulls cawing overhead. Then he knew.

Even in their intimate moments, which by now were rare, she dominated him. At a particularly tender moment, she would “Admit it. You’re wrong. Admit it.”

He knew she meant his theory about time travel. “Yes, dear,” he would say.

That was a lie. Time travel, by all his calculations, was impossible. He had sacrificed everything, to prove it. Yet, Ann’s writing now made a point of proving him wrong. Her masterpiece, released last year, was “Captain, I’ll See You Yesterday.” Its sequel “Captain, I’ll Always Remember Tomorrow,” just came out, swamping bookstores.

The captain, dripping with animal magnetism while negotiating difficult voyages in space and time, would search through millennia for his great love, who uncannily resembled Ann.

At that moment Dr. Bleczy resolved to stop the nonsense. She was, after all, his wife. He rushed back to his study. He threw aside the article on pi mesons he had planned to present to that university. Instead, he pulled out his prize article, the one he had hidden from Ann in the past.

Then he compiled a list of international journals, mailing off the same article. It proved conclusively the impossibility of reversing or advancing time. Of course, past and present were quite dependent on coordinates. Of course, they could be played with and had already been, depending on the axes chosen. That’s where the difference was.

His entire concept had one axis – the point where z crosses x and y. What was it? Homo sapiens. That was the revolution. To his knowledge, he was the only scientist who put pragmatism into quantum physics.

Now he was ready to tell the world. Once the world surrendered to his brilliance, he believed Ann would, too. His obscure Germanic roots now called. He was warrior man, she, weaver man. That was the difference. She would return to weaving twisted tales around her warrior, succumbing to his great sword of scientific knowledge.

A question arises here. Why would the physics hall be packed when Mrs. Bleczy, that is Ann Gorgen, was nowhere in sight? After all, it was her name and fame that by osmosis made Dr. Bleczy a celebrity, too. He had never won a science medal, had barely been approved as doctor of philosophy on the strength of his thesis, nor would he ever make a tenth of the money his wife made.

As rumor had destroyed Bolansky, so rumor could revive the image of this university. Not only were people whispering that Ann Gorgen would make a surprise appearance after her husband spoke, but she would hand out free iphones to all in attendance. Afterwards, there would be a giant barbecue in the plaza. All buildings of the university sprawled it, like rays of the sun.

This event eclipsed the Bolensky incident. Images of people eating ribs and flicking their new iphones filled the media. The university was the good guy again.

Epilog: Bolensky’s caper was soon forgotten. New scandals of much worse magnitude, soon occupied the public mind. He became a successful salesman of cell phones.

The president, pulling many favors from his past, as well as creating some new ones, including a large bill from the cell phone company, turned the university into a credible place again. With greater public awareness, endowments tripled.

The Bleczy’s marriage improved. Ann decided her husband had more entrails that she gave him credit for. Nor had any other man put up with her ways and she was not getting any younger. Her books are now relegated to obscure thrift shops, replaced on book lists by more sophisticated, less ego driven writers.

Two Japanese and one Peruvian scientist shot down Dr. Bleczy’s theory two years after it hit the scientific world. It is now a quaint pit stop in the journey of quantum physics. Surprisingly, a phrase the professor said in a less than notable interview, caught on with the public. Today, this phrase is on everyone’s lips. It brings much comfort and inspiration. Few know its author. Those who do, smile when they say it, remembering the little professor who only stood five foot four inches.




"awesome" -- Matthew Mark, USA.
"Yes, I agree." -- Barfield.


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© 2007 Liilia Morrison
July 2007

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