“This is the story of me leaving Harvard – on the way to become a famous Physicist & how I became a famous detective instead. I dug into my journal & I am going to share the interesting bits of this transformation. In my academic terms, I was hunting Laplace but ended up in the infinite loop of Fourier.”
19th October 1946 (Saturday)
The invisible matter
My name is Jeff Davis, a Phd final year quantum physics scholar in Harvard University Department of Physics. I hail from a small town of England near North Cumbria, beautiful little town with the scars of World War II. I am on my way to achieve the sole goal of my life – Become a famous theoretical quantum physicist. But strange events have happened in my life, rather I can say in past 7 days of my life. Events that can only happen in my final year thesis have happened for real. So how does that involve me? Well, putting it in a nice way, now I am a part of it.
My final year term started on 20th day of July 1946. Finally my concurrent theoretical research on existence of dark matter & multi-dimensional exchange of energy in sub-atomic particles is taking shape. If successful I will be the next happiest man after JJ Thompson. My equations prove that an atom is made up of rather more sub-atomic particles than just electrons, protons & neutrons. But I am still stuck in simplifying my awkwardly complex equations. My final year aim is to follow the steps of Albert & formulate a simplified universal equation to describe the sub-atomic physics. Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Plank are few of my role models & off course Albert.
Life was on track until the 12th day of October, 1946. I received a telegram from North Cumbria stating one of my cousins – Henry had suffered a major brain disease and was in the state of paralysis & this happened in one day. Reasons were unknown; a fully healthy man with no apparent reason got his brain dis-functional. I packed my bag & boarded newly launched Pan American Aviation craft. It was Saturday & the aircraft was airborne by 9pm in the evening. It took me 12 hours to reach North Cumbria as I had to take railroad from Bournemouth-Hurn Airport in London to North Cumbria. It was a usual gloomy cold morning of England; rain was drizzling on my ear high hat as I walked towards my home. Strange silence surrounded the house. I knocked on the door to see my mum’s sad face. I stepped into the living room to the strong smell of burning coal from the fire place. Removed my cloak and placed my hat on a hanger. I went into the guest room to see my paralyzed cousin. He lied on the bed motionless & cold. “It has been 2 days now Jeff, we are trying to feed him liquid and soluble but his body is rejecting lately” my aunt spoke. I kept my calm strong and tried to ask few questions. “Aunt Marge, how did this happen, did you or anyone notice anything unusual. I can see there is no epidemic nearby. So, evidently this is not any wide spread disease.” Mum and aunt Marge asked me to take a seat & mum said “I will make you a cup of tea while you listen to Marge”. Aunt Marge sat beside Henry’s cold feet & spoke softly “He is the strongest man I have ever seen; well for me he is still a boy – brave, dedicated & smart. He served the Royal army with his full honor & fought against the Germans at the France strong hold. But he was under Royal army protection even after the war got over. I never understood why though. He came back home in summer 1945. He has been very normal physically & mentally; until recent events.” Mum came back with three cups of tea. Aunt Marge kept the cup on a table nearby and continued “Strangely, Henry started speaking in the sleep lately. Well, it was not something that we can overlook.” I cleared my throat & asked “Aunt, everyone speaks in the sleep when they enter a phase which scientifically called REM phase. Did you hear anything in particular?” She replied “Yes, he speaks in German!”
There was a momentary silence in the room. “So, did he learn German when he was serving the Royal army in France border?” Aunt replied “He didn’t even understand German when he was awake. I spoke to him about this many times. He always replied – Mum I have no idea how I can speak a language if I can’t understand it. We have also noted another peculiar but strange happening with him. From past one month he has been vomiting a lot even though he was in perfectly good health. That might sound quite common but we have noted he only vomits whenever there is a lighting strike close to our house. I dunno, but how can a human body react to thunder & lightning?” My mind rushed back to Harvard in Nano-second. I started thinking about “Lightings are nothing but discharge of large amount of energy stored in charged particles and ions in clouds. How can they interact with human brain? But Aunt Marge spoke about Henry only reacted to lightening that stroke near the house. That means it has something to do with ionization of air. Human brain generates minor electrical charge while passing information across neurons. May be somehow his brain interacted with the ionized air & that has completely shut down his brain neurons. Hmm, sounds reasonable. The only way to stop the ionization of air is to seal this room with lead or aluminum foils” Then I spoke out loud “Okay, Aunt Marge I have understood what has happened. We have to seal this room with aluminum foil.” Mum & Aunt Marge were thoroughly confused. Mum spoke “I you say so, we have aluminum rolls in the store house, we can use those. “Yes. Let’s do it right away”.
It took us three hours to seal the room properly. I told Aunt Marge “Nothing to worry, just keep feeding him. Now that lighting strikes won’t affect his brain, there is a hope to bring him back. It was around 7pm and dusk was upon North Cumbria. My father had just come back home from his cotton mill factory. He was happy to see me but also sad to see Henry lying motionless on the bed. “I presume it must be your idea to seal the room, eh Jeff, hope this works!” We had our supper around 8pm and I went outside to sit on the porch. Few minutes past, Dad came out with 2 pints of beer in his hand & spoke sitting next to me “It’s really terrible what happened with Henry. Poor Marge, since Roald was killed in the first Great War, Henry was her world. It’s good that she decided to stay with us. Atleast she has some company in this tough time.” I took a large gulp of beer & spoke “I dunno if it’s strange or Henry is highly unlucky to be in this situation.” “Yes, I would say it’s rather unlucky, being a captive in a war changes you” Dad said. “Henry was captured by Germans in the war? Did Aunt Marge know about it?” I spoke with a surprised accent. “No. She doesn’t even need to know. Henry asked me not to bother her with this information. Anyways, he was only captive for 3 weeks. Royal army could able to retrieve Henry & 4 other privateers safely. Henry told me, he remembers to be conscious only for a week. He has no recollections of other 2 weeks. Strange!”
“Indeed, Strange” I exhaled & chugged my beer pint to finish. Weather outside was changing – Dark cloud covered the sky & it started raining. I hoped my aluminum foil solution to work. While I & dad were on 3rd pint of beer, we witnessed a strange event. A large patch of dark cloud was missing revealing stars beyond the sky. We were awestruck. I have never seen this phenomenon before. Suddenly there was a major lightning strike next to our house. I ran inside to check on Henry. Aunt Marge was already there holding his hand & speechless. “Aunt Marge! Is he okay?” She didn’t reply. I checked his breath. “No. No. No.” Henry had stopped breathing. Henry was dead.
I couldn’t see Aunt Marge crying anymore. I was angry on myself for being so helpless. We arranged a funeral within 2 days. We let the Holy Father & church mates do their final rituals. Before the burial, I asked my father “Can we weigh his body before the burial?” He was surprised at my strange question. I asked him again “How did he weigh when he was alive”. He replied “178 pounds”. The next day, Dad called few of his cotton mill workers to send a weighing machine. We weighed Henry’s body. I was stopped breathing for a while as I stared at the dial – 175 pounds. Dad snapped me out and asked “Jeff, what’s the matter?” I spoke in a choked voice “His brain is missing, vanished, evaporated – 3 pounds missing.” “What?” Dad replied. “How is it possible?” “We have to get X-ray done on him. We have no other choice”. I kept mum & Aunt Marge out of all this. Few hours before the burial, we took henry’s body to nearby hospital & did an x-ray scan. “As suspected, his brain is missing” I spoke calmly & continued “Lets finish off with the burial proceedings. I need to do some more research on this” We finished the burial on 18th day of October. My brain was a cave of an angry tiger – so many questions & no answers. I packed my bag, hugged Aunt Marge, kissed mum & whispered into dad’s ear “I will solve this at any cost. You stay in your wits & take care of aunt & mum”. I took the late night aircraft to Harvard. I sat in the aircraft seat staring at the passing dark clouds and questioned myself “He was captured by Germans & don’t recall 2 weeks. What happened there? Why there was a strange opening in the clouds that day – anything to do with dark matter? Why was he reacting to lightening – Was his brain neurons interacting with surge of energy? How can his brain go missing without any physical damage – has something happened at sub-atomic quantum level? I am sure only my equations can solve this mystery”
– Jeff Davis