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Of Six-Packs and Working Weekends

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  • Of Six-Packs and Working Weekends

    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
    THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE, Brian Greene, 1999, 2003
    ```(annotated and with added bold highlights by Epsilon=One)
    Chapter 11 - Tearing the Fabric of Space
    Of Six-Packs and Working Weekends
    Nothing focuses the mind of a physicist like a healthy dose of competition. Aspinwall, Morrison, and I went into high gear. It's important to note that this meant one thing to Morrison and me, and quite another to Aspinwall. Aspinwall is a curious mixture of upper-class British sensibility, largely a reflection of the decade he spent at Oxford as both an undergraduate and a graduate student, infused ever so slightly with a prankster's roguishness. As far as work habits go, he is perhaps the most civilized physicist I know. While many of us work deep into the evening, he never works past 5 P.M. While many of us work weekends, Aspinwall does not. He gets away with this because he is both sharp and efficient. Going into high gear for him merely amounts to notching up his efficiency level to even greater heights.

    By this time, it was early December. Morrison and I had been lecturing to one another for several months and it was starting to pay off. We were very close to being able to identify the precise shape of the Calabi-Yau space we were seeking. Moreover, Aspinwall had just about finished his computer code, and he now awaited our result, which would be the required input for his program. It was a Thursday night when Morrison and I finally had confidence that we knew how to identify the sought-after Calabi-Yau shape. That, too, boiled down to a procedure that required its own, fairly simple, computer code. By Friday afternoon we had written the program and debugged it; by late Friday night we had our result.

    But it was after 5 P.M. and it was Friday. Aspinwall had gone home and would not return until Monday. There was nothing we could do without his computer code. Neither Morrison nor I could imagine waiting out the whole weekend. We were on the verge of answering the long-pondered question of spatial tears in the fabric of the cosmos, and the suspense was too much to bear. We called Aspinwall at home. At first he refused to come to work the next morning as we asked. But then, after much groaning, he consented to join us, as long as we bought him a six-pack of beer. We agreed.
    Table of Contents
    .......The Elegant Universe
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