Code to zero - WiseHealth

Friday, 25 May 2018

Code to zero



Suddenly he looked up. He had discovered Something. He understood number theory.
That was a major clue. Most pages of the book in his hand contained more equations than plain text. This was not written for the curious layman. It was an acaden-lic work. And he understood it. He had to be some kind of scientist.
With mounting optimism, he located the chemistry shelf and picked out Polymer Engineering. He found it comprehensible, but not easy. Next he moved to physics and tried A Symposium on the Behavior of Cold and Very Cold Gases. It was fascinating, like reading a good novel.
He was narrowing it down. His job involved math and physics. What branch of physics? Cold gases were interesting, but he did not feel that he knew as much as the author of the book. He scanned the shelves and stopped at geophysics, remembering the newspaper story headlined U.S. MOON STAYS EARTHBOUND. He picked out Principles of Rocket Design.
It was an elementary text, but nevertheless there was an error on the first page he looked at. Reading on, he found two more—
"Yes!" he said aloud, startling a nearby schoolboy who was studying a biology text. If he could recognize mistakes in a textbook, he had to be an expert. He was a rocket scientist.
He wondered how many rocket scientists there were in the United States. He guessed a few hundred. He hurried to the information desk and spoke to the grayhaired librarian "Is there any kind of list of scien-
"Sure, " she said "You need the Dictionary of Ameri-

KEN FOLLETT can Scientists, right at the beginning of the science
He found it easily. It was a heavy book, but never.
tion.
theless it could not include every single American scientist. It must just be the prominent ones, he thought.
still, it was worth looking at. He sat at a table and went through the index, searching for anyone named Luke.
He had to control his impatience and force himself to scan carefully. He found a biologist called Luke Parfitt, an archaeologist called Lucas Dimittry, and a pharmacologist called Luc Fontainebleu, but no physicist.
Double-checking, he went through geophysicists and astronomers but found no one with any version of
Luke as a first name. Of course, he thought despondently, he was not even certain that Luke was his name. It was only what he had been called by Pete. For all he Imew, his real name might be Percival.
He felt disappinted, but he was not ready to give up.
He thought of another approach. Somewhere, there were people who knew him fte name Luke might not be his own, but his face was. The Dictionary of American Scientists carried photos of only the most prominent men, such as Dr. Wernher von Braun. But Luke figured he must have friends and colleagues who would recognize him, if only he could find them. And now he knew where to start looking-for some of his acquaintances must be rocket scientists.
Where did one find scientists? At a university.
He looked up Washington in the encyclopedia. The entry included a list of universities in the city. He picked Georgetown University because he had been in

Georgetown earlier and knew how to get back there.
He looked for the university on his street map and saw that it had a large campus covering at least fifty city blocks. It would probably have a big physics depart ment with dozens of professors. Surely one of them would know him?
Full of hope, he left the library and got back into his car.

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