View Full Version : Professor Jopp's Remarkable Feats : Beyond The Crunch And Others

January 10th, 2015, 08:06 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number One

Beyond The Crunch

It was perhaps predictable that the ranks of cosmic evolutionists would be augmented by Professor Ovis Jopp (pronounced Yopp), the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’, regarded by some as the greatest scientist of our time. Jopp says that although he has yet to apply a few touches, his contribution is the most significant one to date. He accepts that there was a big bang about 14 billion years ago, but opposes many cosmologists by maintaining that this will be reversed. The fearless Nordic scholar went further, predicting what will follow the crunch.

Never afraid to demonstrate his ideas, Professor Jopp tried out this one in a field near Narvik, where he took a gigantic green balloon and festooned its surface with blobs of clay to simulate the galaxies. Respecting his penchant for using the lowest technology for any given task, he employed student volunteers, who took turns on a car foot pump to produce a vast globe, into which Jopp had initially inserted his famous secret green box. Then the team, working on fast-retracting gantries at staggered heights, deflated the sphere with simultaneous pinpricks.

Recovery of the green box revealed the strange phenomena of post-crunch physics. The shrinkage will be so violent that not only will everything be squashed to a virtual zero point, but will then emerge inverted in an explosion following the collapse. There will be counter-galaxies, counter-solar systems and even a counter- Earth, where humans and buildings will be, as it were, upside down inside the crust, retained in place by reverse gravity. Waving a foot-long cigar of green seaweed, Jopp added that the new cosmos would have an emerald hue.

Earlier explanations of our universe will, the professor suggests, be overtaken by his findings. “We can forget Einstein’s E equals whatever it was,” he said. “My proposition is far more elegant. The mathematical notions are abstruse, but in layman’s terms, the resultant equation is IF=EP, meaning that implosive force equals emitted power. I don’t think there will ever be any advance on this.”

Not everyone agrees. Professor Jopp’s arch rival, the ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap, was scathing. “Jopp is an idiot,” he snapped. “He does not realise that apart from those in our solar system, all celestial bodies are thin, carpet-like structures. There will indeed be an implosion as they rush together, heaping themselves one atop the other before collapsing under their own masses, forming a sheet of infinitesimal thickness and virtually infinite length and width, from which nothing will emerge. Jopp will be a part of that flatness and I shall walk over him then as I do now. That might cure him of his obsession with green things. Also, the vapid Viking does not tell us what is inside his balloon. Is he saying that our universe is empty in the middle, with matter only on the surface of an arbitrarily conceived sphere? If so, perhaps he used his head as a template. Incidentally, he could have used, as I did last year, a soccer ball, paper hankies and a dash of nitroglycerine.”

Speaking from a Stockholm girls’ school, Dunderklap, five-foot-four in height and similar in circumference, did not explain how he will survive the compression, while Jopp will succumb. However, Dr D’s prestige is such that no disinterested party is willing to reject his contention, though it does not yet have a title or a supporting equation. When told of it, Jopp was dismissive. Beaming across his green-topped desk, he suggested that ‘The Axminster Theory’ might be appropriate, as he would soon pull the carpet out from under Dunderklap’s feet.

Time, or space-time, will tell which, if either, of these intellectual giants is right.

* * *

January 14th, 2015, 07:53 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Two

Power To The People

Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ yesterday rocked the world of physics to its foundations once again when he disclosed the result of his recent experiment with nuclear cold fusion. The professor, speaking in the green chamber of his Stavanger laboratory, was exultant. “This is perhaps the greatest boon to humankind of all time,” he said. “At a stroke, I have consigned to the dustbin forty-odd years of global research and milliards in expenditure. Soon, thanks to my efforts, people everywhere will have energy galore at negligible cost.”

According to the slender sorcerer, a grateful populace will be able to power up the world with complete impunity. Following his normal practice of working solo, Jopp first devised his equations, then put them to the test. He started from the premise that other scientists had been on the wrong track all along in trying to harness hot fusion, which he says is ridiculously wasteful. He also discounted the ‘cold’ efforts of others as unenlightened, since they were based on a faulty grasp of nuclear physics. “They sought to utilise what I have already demonstrated are non-existent sub-atomic particles,” claimed the professor, referring to his earlier work in that field.

He went on: “It is merely a question of manipulating the groat, which I described in a recent paper. The ingenuity lies in the low-tech approach. I took a tube of green plastic, into which I inserted two groats before sliding a number of jubilee clips along the outside and using a couple of them to crimp the ends. Next, using remote-controlled screwdrivers, I tightened the clips progressively, thus leaving the groats with, as it were, nowhere to go except into each other. I must confess that the first test was disappointing, as the slow progress towards fusion suggested that the operation would take 80 million years. I realised that more groats were needed, so introduced them, reducing the time factor by many millions. It was quite simple.”

The professor explained that any element, or any combination of different ones, can be made to fuse. “The larger the groat, the bigger the bang,” he quipped, doodling on a pad of green blotting paper. “I have already clarified that the mass of any atom is defined by the size of its groat. For example, that of the dominant uranium isotope produces two hundred and thirty-eight times as much usable power as does its hydrogen counterpart, hence the familiar term U238. However, one can choose one’s element, since all groats are identical in properties and vary only according to size.”

Jopp’s words leave some experts unconvinced, the main detractor being, as so often, the short, hairless, quasi-spherical ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap. Located in a Stockholm pole-dancing club, he was scornful. “‘Sage of Trondheim’ indeed,” he hooted. “I prefer to think of Jopp as the Norwegian nincompoop. As usual, he is in error. The only thing he has got right is his description of the groat. I admit that I was wrong in contesting his earlier findings in that area, and regret my reference to his theory as ‘groatesque’. However, having exposed his stupidity so often, I can afford to be magnanimous on this occasion.”

Brushing a muscular blonde from his minimal lap, Dr Dunderklap continued: “I have proved that cold groat fusion is possible, but in only one way. The desired effect can be produced by cooking groats in an oven made of dunderium, of which I have a monopoly. It is difficult to avoid being disrespectful to a man with so much facial hair as Jopp exhibits, but I will try to be objective. Let me just say that if you are intent upon scaling the heights of his intellect, you will get by with a very short ladder.”

Further developments are expected.

* * *

January 17th, 2015, 07:46 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Three

Chilled Out

The scientific world was stunned today by yet another revelation from Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’. Speaking to reporters in the green room of his fjordside home, the professor announced that he had overturned generations of misconception, by reaching a temperature below minus 273.15 degrees Celsius, which had hitherto been believed to be absolute zero.

Jopp – readers are reminded that his name is pronounced Yopp – stated that he had not set out to achieve this result. It was a digression from other work in the field of low-temperature physics. “I was just tinkering,” he said. “Basically, I proceeded as most others would have done, using adiabatic demagnetisation techniques. When I reached the lambda point of 2.19 degrees Kelvin, I was struck by a mental thunderbolt, realising that all my predecessors in the field had been wrong, in that they had applied theoretically sound cryogenic methods, but had been using the elements known to them. They lacked the vital ingredient of imagination.”

After passing around glasses of his home-made greengage champagne, the professor continued: “I leaned on my recent faster-than-light experiment, in which you will recall that I was obliged to manufacture a completely new, sub-hydrogenic element, joppium. It occurred to me that what I needed this time was something of even lower mass. I therefore produced a synthetic, ultra-light substance, which I call ovisium. I was at first inclined to name it in honour of my well-known but distinctly inferior contemporary – hardly a colleague, you may agree – Doctor Dunderklap. However, I heard that he had already named dunderium after himself, which seemed to leave only klappium as a possibility, and in view of a certain unsavoury predilection for which he is well-known, I feared that name might be misconstrued.”

When his listeners were restored to order, Jopp went on: “Once I had produced, thermally isolated and demagnetised a quantity of ovisium, the rest was easy. I gradually drove out the heat, which you will appreciate is merely molecular activity. However, there was one unexpected result, which arose as I progressed downwards a further 273.15 degrees, or precisely twice as far below zero Celsius as had previously been considered the lowest level. At that point, I was intrigued to note that my material showed the same behaviour patterns as it did at the freezing point of water. It appeared that as I continued to plumb the depths, the superconductivity I had observed earlier in the operation was lost, so I suppose one could really consider my experiment as U-shaped. I shall doubtless overcome this technicality, but even as it stands, the finding is remarkable and ranks among my best efforts to date.”

Reaction to Jopp’s announcement was swift. Within an hour, his leading opponent, the short, round, hairless ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap was found and interviewed in the doorway of a Gothenberg nunnery. He was pithy. “The imbecile,” he shrieked. “Apparently his lunacy has no limit. Naturally his experiment was U-shaped. Does the buffoon not understand what he has done? Clearly, his equipment failed in the intense cold. He went down one stem of the U, encountered the obvious malfunction, then went up the other U-stem, returning to zero degrees Celsius. It will be a blessing for all of us when the men in white coats take him away. Incidentally, I proved recently that by use of table salt and an ingeniously extended kitchen thermometer, it is possible to achieve a minimum of eight degrees below what is usually regarded as absolute zero. I saw no merit in publishing my conclusion.”

This one could run and run.

* * *

January 22nd, 2015, 02:17 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Four

Much Ado About Nothingness

Just when some of his critics claimed that he had, as it were, not a shot left in his locker, Professor Ovis Jopp has done it again. The lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’, addressing an assembly of distinguished European academics in Bergen, revealed today that he has succeeded in constructing a black hole. Astounded listeners heard his explanation.

The ever-genial Jopp was in an expansive mood. “Once one grasps the principle, the rest is plain sailing,” he said. “Rather like making an atom bomb. Classical theory suggests that a body the size of the Sun will eventually collapse to become a white dwarf. A somewhat larger stellar object will change into a neutron star, while an even bigger body will transform into a black hole. My genius lay in understanding that the operation can be downsized. One needs only a core, a distributor, a coating and an imploder. As a core, I used an old cannon ball. My distributor was a thick layer of polystyrene, moulded around the core. The coating was a spheroidal green canvas bag painted with tar and perforated in places to hold the implosive element, which was a sophisticated array of normal fireworks – good old-fashioned bangers.”

After pausing to take a swig of green chartreuse, the professor went on: “I put my assembly into a thick perspex globe, around which I inscribed a deep equatorial channel. Into this groove I placed a golf ball, attached to one end of a length of strong twine, the other end being fastened to the core through a borehole. To achieve detonation, I employed the same team of students I had engaged for an earlier test, this time supplying them with very long tapers, which they used to ignite all the fireworks simultaneously. The blast was distributed evenly around the core by the polystyrene, which has many tiny cells, making it ideal for the purpose. I observed the result with great care, the critical question being whether there was mass transference from the golf ball to the core. I did not precisely quantify this, but was quite satisfied that the ball, try as it would to maintain itself in orbit, was drawn inwards, proving that the core had all the properties of a black hole. This is a mighty leap forward for humankind and a tremendous personal achievement for me.”

Asked why he had devoted so much of his valuable time to black holes, the professor said that he had become disturbed by the confusion experienced by other scientists. “They were far too academic,” he stated. “They didn’t want to get their hands dirty and preferred to occupy themselves with unprovable claims to have noted a possible black hole in the constellation of Cygnus something-or-other. I, on the other hand, was mindful of the comment made long ago by a German fellow, viz: ‘Nur in der Praxis zeigt sich der wahre Meister,’ meaning that the true master reveals himself only in practice. Of course, you did not come here to learn of my command of languages, impressive though it is.”

Reaction to Jopp’s pronouncement was speedy. His redoubtable antagonist, the short, hairless, ultra-round ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr. Terps Dunderklap, had a withering response. Found at a women’s hockey match in Skaraborg, he opined: “I have for decades considered Jopp a cretin and nothing he does disabuses me of that notion. Can it be that he fails to perceive his blunder? Obviously, the twine connecting the golf ball to the core became twisted, so naturally the ball was pulled inwards. I have shown that it is impossible for us to construct a black hole, my equipment comprising a grapefruit encased in plastic explosive and heated by skilfully arranged electric fires, for remote detonation at the critical temperature. The result was negative.

Jopp plans further tests. Dunderklap predicts failure, plus danger to participants.

* * *

January 24th, 2015, 08:02 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Five

Per Easier Ad Astra

Having used the above words to open his speech today, Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ immediately apologised to the UK’s Royal Air Force for tweaking its motto, Per Ardua Ad Astra (By Hard Work To The Stars). He then revealed that he had solved the problem of travelling to Mars by what he called the short-haul route.

Sipping greengage wine, Jopp gave details of his experiment. “Like all great advances, it is elementary,” he said. “At its closest, Mars is, give or take the odd yard, about 35 million miles from us. Why is it thought necessary to undertake a journey of hundreds of millions of miles to get there? The answer is that earlier efforts involved the use of planetary motions to send probes on a long slow journey, because it is impracticable to make the vast fuel tanks needed to keep a spacecraft constantly under power during a direct trip. The ingenuity of my scheme lay in my realisation that the propulsive material could be burned here on the Earth.”

After pausing to let the audience grasp his idea, Jopp went on: “I decided that the best plan was to continuously pump fuel into a centrifugal machine. The site was a farm near Lillehammer. As propellant I used my newly-invented Joppanol. For the apparatus I adapted a conventional wind generator, painted green. I removed the blades and substituted a small model of a spaceship on one end of a thick chain, the other end of which was fastened to the generator’s hub. Thanks to practically unlimited fuel capacity, I was able to accelerate the spaceship to a speed which I calculated was well above the Earth’s escape velocity of seven miles per second. In effect, the construction is an immensely powerful slingshot. Believe me, we shall soon be reaching for the stars.”

Following thunderous applause, Jopp continued: “On reaching eight miles per second, I throttled down. However, there is no doubt that a larger version of my equipment will enable us reach Mars in a small fraction of the time hitherto regarded as a minimum. To provide suitable anchorage for my full-scale test I need a high sheer cliff. There is an excellent site near Geiranger. I may need to drain the fjord, but that is a minor obstacle. This is the greatest ever leap in the history of space travel. The system could be extended to take us far beyond Pluto and the planets Ovisius and Joppius, which I discovered a few months ago, though I did not publicise this.”

Apprehension was expressed by some scientists, in particular Jopp’s most vocal adversary, the short, globular, hairless ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap. Interviewed outside a Kristiansand female nudist camp, he raged: “If this madman is not stopped, he will kill all of us. An error of one millisecond and his spaceship will go down instead of up, boring straight through the Earth. The oaf does not understand that even if he were right in principle, there is no sense in a vertical mounting. A horizontal arrangement performs better, though never well enough.”

Calming down slightly, Dunderklap continued: “I was far ahead of Jopp in this field, proving last year that the necessary impetus cannot be produced. I modified a fairground carousel, to which I attached a six-foot spacecraft on a length of ultra-strong twine. As fuel I used my own Dunderol. The test results accorded exactly with my predictions. At the speed of just over five miles per second, the craft broke loose, destroying two telephone poles and a barn. By the way, I notice that Jopp does not tell us how his ark is to return from Mars. What about that, brainbox?”

This seems like a good time for us to keep our heads down.

* * *

January 28th, 2015, 07:42 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Six

Goodbye, Sci-Fi

Changing fantasy to fact is not a new experience for Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’, but even the most hardened physicists were shaken yesterday, when the formidable fjordsman announced that he had become the first Earthling to negotiate spacewarps. Feeding his listeners with green pralines, made for the occasion by his wife, he divulged that his discovery was virtually accidental.

“Like other great thinkers, I believe in validating my ideas in more than one way,” he said. “As you know, I have already demonstrated that my scientific contemporaries have gone astray in their thinking on propulsion systems for interstellar travel. I was not satisfied with a single contrivance, such as the space centrifuge I built recently. This time, the principle was still ground-based powering. I realised that if I had done that by one method, I could do it by another. Therefore, I produced a second revolutionary machine, which I call the ultracoil.

After an eruption of applause, Jopp went on: “Thank you, but it is not the innovation, brilliant though it is, that takes centre-stage here. I just mention it in passing. So far, I have made only one small model, four feet long in repose mode, and vanishingly small in its opposite, or taut condition. The full-sized version will be vastly more powerful. However, even the prototype has produced an epoch-making, if to some extent inadvertent, result.”

With his audience enthralled, the professor described his apparatus. “I will not bore you with the finer details of the appliance,” he said. “Basically, it comprises a wire spring of immense length – or height – which must be compressed. This can be done horizontally, by sophisticated hydraulic ramming, so subtle that I shall have to invent it myself, or vertically, by upending the relaxed spring and hauling it groundwards by means of huge winches of such complexity that here again, the design will require supervision on my part.”

“I was pleased to note that the device performed even better than I had imagined it would. However, that was as nothing compared to my feelings when the nose probe returned four days later, covered in a strange whitish substance, which I subjected to spectroscopic analysis. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that the Fraunhofer lines indicated that this matter was identical solely with an element found in a galaxy eighty million light-years from us. This could have come about only because my machine found its way through one or more of the spacewarps so beloved of those in the realms of fantasy, and – amazingly – returned. This is a sublime moment for the human race and a glorious one for me.”

Not everyone is overwhelmed. Perhaps least impressed is top anti-Joppist, the squat, convex, depilated ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr. Terps Dunderklap. Located at a go-go bar in Karlskrona, he was exceptionally trenchant. “Oh, the dolt,” he cried. “I noted his recent fatuous claim to have gone below the absolute zero level of temperature. Now he seems set to do the same with respect to intelligence. As it happened, one of my students was concealed at the site of Jopp’s preposterous experiment, and observed a total failure. The returning probe landed on the roof of Jopp’s own house and was doubtless later blown down by the wind. As for the spectroscopy, there is but one explanation other than that which Jopp mentions. The object shows the same Fraunhofer pattern as do pigeon droppings. Need I say more?”

Perhaps not, but he probably will.

* * *

January 31st, 2015, 07:45 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Seven

Packing Them In

Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ left fellow scientists stupefied yesterday, when he revealed the result of his latest endeavour, a scheme for compacting the numerous bodies of the asteroid belt to make a planet. Never the retiring type, the bonhomous boffin described his work as a towering accomplishment and an intellectual and engineering feat of the highest order. It seems he got the idea from a belief that there are twelve planets in our solar system. Having rejected Pluto and discovered Ovisius and Joppius as ninth and tenth, he decided to take a hand in giving us number eleven.

“Even I cannot describe the process as simple,” the professor told his engrossed listeners. “I sensed that the key was to produce a magnetic casing, much as those involved in nuclear fusion try to contain plasma. As always, I employed the lowest workable technology, my scale model being a ring-shaped tube of green plastic, part-filled with fragments of rock and metal, to simulate the asteroids. I suspended this tube from an electric ceiling fan, substituting thin strands of wire for the blades, then rotated the apparatus to simulate the celestial objects.”

Following a long ovation, Jopp continued: “Next, I constructed a miniature solid-fuel rocket, which is effectively a sophisticated version of those made by the space pioneer Robert Goddard. My device was in the form of a bobbin, bent so as to achieve the necessarily circular path. Around this contrivance, I wound a length of magnetised wire. On ignition, the rocket behaved exactly as I had predicted, describing a spiral route, round and round the tube’s exterior, unwinding the wire as it went. Thus, I achieved confinement of the rock and metal oddments to a narrow pathway within the torus, clear of its internal surface.”

Silencing further applause with a raised hand, the professor went on: “I then cut the tube, sealing one end, after which I activated a pneumatic hinge, which straightened the bend in the rocket, then I directed the craft to the open end of the tube. Using a ram attachment which I had built into the rocket’s nose, I employed the engine thrust to force the fragments in upon each other, much as one would pen cattle or sheep. The result was a compact ball, jammed against the sealed end of the tube. The test was complete and demonstrated clearly that the principle, applied on a larger scale, would enable us to, as it were, wrap up the asteroids into a single tidy bundle, giving a planet which I shall name in due course. I can well understand how you must feel, for I am still overwhelmed by the enormity of my exploit.”

There was a sharp response from Jopp-knocker, Dr Terps Dunderklap, the short, round, alopecic ‘Swedish Savant’. Found outside a gynaecology clinic near Trelleborg, he was caustic. “Jopp is demented,” he stormed. “It is fitting that his newest idea involves going round in circles, for that exemplifies his approach to science. Had he consulted me, I would have dissuaded him from this inanity, as I proved long ago that his plan is impracticable. Perhaps he will now tell us how he intends to upscale his addle-pated experiment to the real thing, which would involve a rocket seventy-eight miles long, plus nine hundred million miles of wire. It is a pity that he will not succeed. Were he to do so, he would doubtless visit his dream planet, to find it inhabited by little green men, and presumably women of similar hue. As he is a big green man, he would become their leader, much as a one-eyed person assumes that position in the realm of the blind. Mercifully, we would then never see him again.

Will these two great Norsemen ever agree about anything?

* * *

More of Professor Jopp's exploits shortly.

February 9th, 2015, 05:07 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Eight

Bottling It Up

An audience of leading international scientists was spellbound yesterday when Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ gave details of his latest – some say greatest – exercise in physics. The professor stated that he had become the first person to conduct a two-way experiment in which mass was converted into energy, which was then changed back into mass. Jopp said that he had in effect released the genie, then reconfined it.

“I rate this among the most satisfying of my many successes,” said the winsome wizard, admitting that his high spirits stemmed in part from a liberal intake of his greengage wine. “I grasped what others had failed to perceive, this being that what one needs is a miniature atomic explosion, one small enough to be reversed. The usual element, uranium 235, would not do, as the critical mass required to produce a chain reaction gives too drastic a result. What I needed was a very heavy fissionable substance. Learning from my experience in manufacturing ultra-light elements, I inverted my technique, to produce a massive transuranic one, which I call norwegium, in honour of my adoptive homeland.”

After much clapping and cheering, the professor went on: “The principle is the same as with uranium or plutonium, in that one must force together two sub-critical masses. However, with norwegium, the amount concerned is small, so a limited explosion results. I conducted the test in open land near Kirkenes, where I built a green chamber of lead-lined metal through which I passed a pipe, widened in the middle, with ends projecting beyond the container’s walls. I inserted a piece of norwegium into each end of the pipe and fastened powerful bellows to both extremities, then took one end, while a student manned the other. We generated an airflow, smashing together the sub-critical masses within the central bulge. The resulting denotation caused the pieces of norwegium to vanish temporarily. They had clearly been transformed into energy.

There was further wild acclaim before the professor was able to continue: “As I expected, the bubble almost burst. Now came the difficult part. To convert the energy back into mass, I had to contain it in an ever-decreasing space. I did this by lowering the roof of my chamber, as one sees in horror films, when someone is imprisoned in a room, the ceiling of which descends to crush the victim. My apparatus did the same, squeezing the energy into almost no space. Having allowed a brief stabilisation period, I raised the roof, entered the chamber and inspected the crushed pipe. I was gratified to find a number of small discs, which I analysed, finding that they were undoubtedly norwegium, and proving conclusively that I had turned mass into energy, then reversed the process. This is a masterly demonstration and a mighty landmark in scientific history.”

A swift riposte came from Jopp’s foremost foe, the shorn, stunted, ovoid ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap. Found sitting on the gatepost of a Varberg maternity hospital, he was acerbic. “Jopp has assuredly gone too far this time,” he screeched. “I showed years ago that what he claims is impossible. I even produced a super-heavy element, similar to his norwegium. The problem, as I made clear to everyone but the fjordland fathead, lies in the fact that in order to fabricate an element heavy enough to have the requisite characteristics for low-mass fission, the substance itself would be too unstable to hold together, so would break up spontaneously. With regard to the supposed temporary disappearance of Jopp’s new element, he was the only observer, and I would remind him that there are none so blind as those who will not see. As for the recovered discs, my chief researcher acquired several and established that they were heads of hobnails, obviously from the boots worn by Jopp’s assistant. Incidentally, I note that Greenfly does not say what became of the poor fellow.”

Pressed on this point, Jopp promised to investigate.

* * *

February 14th, 2015, 07:52 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Nine

Flat Earth

We are accustomed to sensational offerings from Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’. Only the themes remain mind-boggling. Speaking today to an invited audience in his fjordside home, recently enlarged by the addition of a lecture hall for delivery of his famous talks, the jolly giant unveiled his latest scheme.

The listeners, all science journalists, sat enthralled as Jopp, sipping greengage wine, told all. “I got the idea by noticing that the Earth is not quite spherical,” he said. “The equatorial diameter is slightly greater than the polar one. Now, it is clear that the difference concerned arises from centrifugal force, caused by the speed of our planet’s rotation. For an intellect such as mine – of which there is admittedly only one – it was but a hop to realise that a higher rate of spin would produce a more pronounced effect. I took the notion to its logical conclusion. If the Earth were to rotate fast enough, it would change from a near-sphere to a disc.”

After an outbreak of gasps, the professor went on: “I immediately seized upon the beneficial implications for humankind if the required spin-speed could be achieved. Within an hour, I had the eureka moment. What we need – and I have designed it – is a series of thrusters, mostly land-based, but with a few at sea, placed around the equator. I considered jet engines, but rejected that idea as too crude. Securely anchored rockets would do better, their velocities being made incremental, according to the number of sites. They would be ignited serially rather than simultaneously and could impart speed to any desired level. If hydrogen and oxygen were to be used, the exhaust velocity would be, I believe, 17,000 feet per second, which could be repeated as each stage burned out. With appropriate fuelling arrangements, the potential is virtually boundless.”

The assembled experts showed their appreciation with prolonged applause, then Jopp continued: “We could flatten the Earth to any degree, my preference being a disc with only a nominal rim-thickness. The Earth’s surface area is about 197 million square miles, so omitting the trivial width of the final edge, the top and bottom would each be about half that figure. We could drive shafts through the disc, to bring what are now antipodean places to within a few miles of each other. A good analogy is Emmentaler cheese – wheels riddled with holes, though the perforations I have in mind would go all the way. Of course, land areas would be spread out. The equatorial circumference of 25,000 miles would be extended, everything being, so to speak, hammered out. That is a small price to pay for the huge benefits in terms of travel.”

Self-appointed leader of the jopposition, the broad-as-he-is-long ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap, was dismissive. Located in an oak tree overlooking a Girl Guides’ encampment near Halmstad, he moaned: “I would like to say that words fail me, but I usually have a few when this clown’s name turns up. ‘Sage of Trondheim’ indeed. ‘Nutter of Norway’ would be a better title. Jopp doesn’t understand that his proposed whirligig would hurl into space everything within quite a distance of his new equator, scattering the Solar System with debris. Also, he has ignored the Earth’s molten outer core, which would squish out towards the perimeter. How is he going to drill through that lot? The holes in a Swiss cheese are as nothing compared to those in the head of this ignoramus. He should place all his rockets at sea, since that is where he is usually to be found. Will nobody put him into a straitjacket?”

Further vitriolic exchanges are anticipated.

* * *

February 17th, 2015, 09:19 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Ten

Pumped Up

There must be a limit to the number of superlatives that one person can attract in a lifetime, but it seems that boundary has not yet been reached in the case of Professor Ovis Jopp. The lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ was positively incandescent when he addressed yet another invited audience in his fjordside home. Having circulated the contents of a firkin of his now famous greengage wine, the master explained his latest brainwave.

“It was a synthesis,” he said, “and one that only an intellect of cosmic proportions could conceive. For some time, I had been thinking about the crudity of our techniques for leaving the Earth’s gravitational influence. Purely by chance, I heard a joke about an incompetent hoodlum, who was asked how he fared when trying to blow up a rival’s car. He said that he had come to grief by burning his mouth on the exhaust pipe. Obviously he failed to distinguish between blowing up and inflating.”

Calming gales of laughter, Jopp continued: “Yes, it was funny, but I saw beyond the humour. It has long been clear that our attempts to break free from the Earth’s gravity by using absurdly large amounts of chemical propellants are unsatisfactory. Further, I concluded that such methods as plasma and nuclear pulse systems are inadequate. Happily, I found a solution within a week of first addressing the problem.”

Applause was stifled by professorial arm-waves. “It is quite simple,” said the luminous one. “The well-known inverse square law gives the clue. If the size of a body is increased while the mass remains constant, then the surface gravity decreases as the square of the change in radius. I merely applied this to the Earth, realising that if the planet were to double in diameter without significant addition to its mass, then the surface gravitational force would be only a quarter of its present level.”

The professor paused to ensure that his point had sunk in, then went on: “With this in mind, and using my engineering skill, which someone kindly described as legendary,” – more clapping – “I designed a giant pump, which we could insert into the Earth’s crust, then, using the air around us, we would be able to inflate our planet to the required size. This operation would reduce surface gravity to only twenty-five per cent of the current figure, so we would be in a position to undertake space flight with much less propulsive power than we now need. I don’t like repetition, but confess that the idea has a passing similarity to my earlier one for increasing the Earth’s spin rate by girdling the planet with anchored rockets. In that case, distances between some places would increase, while this proposal would affect all points.”

Audience response to Jopp’s scheme was tumultuous, but not everyone is captivated by it. A typically acidic retort came from the ultra-round, super-critical ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap. Vacationing in Switzerland, he was found outside the ladies’ changing room of a ski chalet. Here, he is quoted verbatim. “Poor Jopp. He spends too much time fiddling with pieces of paper, which doubtless accounts for his inability to cope with the three-dimensional world familiar to most of us. He speaks of globes, but does not understand them. I would remind him that the formula for the volume of a sphere is pi times the radius cubed, times one and a third. To inflate the Earth as he envisages would require more air than there is in our atmosphere. Apart from that deficiency, how would we then breathe? As it happens, I recently perfected an anti-gravity device, but did not feel that the world was ready for it. I will give details in due course. Meantime, please ignore the Norse nitwit.”

We shall surely hear more of this.

* * *

February 28th, 2015, 07:48 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Eleven

Small World

We have long known that custom does not stale the infinite variety of Professor Ovis Jopp, any more than it did that of Cleopatra. Further proof emerged yesterday, when the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ entranced members of the world’s scientific community by telling of his latest exploit, triggered when he heard a British government minister say: “Nanotechnology will be huge.”

“I suspected the fellow was trying to elicit laughter,” said Jopp, “but I took him literally, at once apprehending that what he spoke of is significant. However, it is trivial compared to what is possible. I refer to worlds far smaller than those he had in mind. You will know that nano is the prefix for ten to the minus ninth power. That is only a start. We descend in stages of a thousand a time. After nano come pico, femto, atto, zepto and yocto, the last being ten to the minus twenty-fourth power. Such an array would be far more than enough for most experts in tininess, but I hurdled the supposed obstacle in less time than it takes to tell, without working up a sweat.”

The eminent egghead allowed a moment for the inevitable gasps, then proceeded: “The main problem was seeing what was what. As there was no instrument of sufficient magnifying power, I had to invent one, which I call the jopposcope. By the way, I have some pride in this tool, as it makes sub-atomic viewing quite simple. Having no particular objective, I contented myself with producing a soccer pitch on the yoctometre scale. That led me to think of the players, the football and so on. Plunging downwards, I reached the level of ten to the minus twenty-seventh power, for which I could find no prefix. Assuming that there is none, and without wishing to be presumptuous, I suggest that ovio might be adopted as a new standard.”

Quickly subduing more expressions of astonishment, the professor continued: “I appreciate that there may be few at present capable of understanding what I have done, but the same could be said with respect to others who have vastly outpaced their contemporaries. Anyway, that does not matter now. After all, I speak of a world which I alone have seen. Let me just say that there seems to be no limit to what can be attained. As for the jopposcope, I need to introduce a few minor refinements and after I have done that, I shall be happy to invite anyone to inspect my latest work, which I believe matches anything I have done in the past.”

Though the immediate audience was rendered near-speechless, a sharp observation came within hours from Jopp’s premier castigator, the rotund, follically-challenged ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap. Enjoying his first sojourn in the USA, he was found loitering on the campus of one of the country’s most illustrious institutions – Vassar.

Dr Dunderklap is usually acerbic, and on this occasion he excelled himself. “Hah,” he scoffed, “another proclamation from the Ass of Alkmaar. It saddens me to think that we were both born in that Dutch town, on the same day and in the same hospital. Just imagine two people appearing in the world, so close in time and space and so different in mentality. I calculate the IQ gap between us as 250 points. Jopp is, as usual, way behind me. I went beyond his primitive ovio level long ago, when I reduced smallness to what I call the dundo stage, which is ten to the minus thirtieth power, thus producing a polo ground, a vast number of which could be put into the torpid troll’s enormous megadrome. No matter how far he delves into the microscopic realm, Jopp will never find anything there as diminutive as his own brain.”

A major rumpus seems likely.

* * *

March 4th, 2015, 08:00 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Twelve


It is increasingly difficult for many of us to keep abreast of the work of Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’. Speaking yesterday in his fjordside home, he informed an audience of science reporters that he had proved the validity of the theory of Earth crust displacement, adding that it was probably this, rather than meteorite impact, that overwhelmed the dinosaurs.

Supplying his listeners with wine made by his wife from Italian gooseberries and dubbed by him Vino Verdi (he is an opera lover), the wily warlock explained that he was inspired to investigate the conjecture in question while walking in his garden. He said that the theory in question had attracted Einstein, admitting that the father of Relativity, along with Archimedes and Newton, had ascended to within hailing distance of his own intellectual eminence. “For me, and doubtless only for me,” – he chuckled – “it was not too difficult. I took one of my spherical green cabbages, a sheet of polythene, a jar of my own recently developed super-lubricant, which I call Ovilube, and a wok. I sawed the last item through the middle, top to bottom, setting the two halves slightly apart and putting them upon separate supports, placed to match the curvature of the vegetable.”

Pausing only to imbibe half a litre of wine, the professor went on: “I coated the cabbage with Ovilube, shrink-wrapped it in the polythene and placed it in the split wok, the inner surfaces of which I had also smeared with the lubricant. The cabbage represented the Earth’s main mass and the polythene its crust, while the wok was merely a suitable stand. I added putty to the top of my apparatus, little by little in a narrow ridge, recording the amounts. As I had suspected, a final increment caused abrupt inversion, my poles sliding through 180 degrees, the ridge of putty passing the slit in the wok and stopping exactly opposite its initial position. My calculations indicate that there is at present almost a polar equilibrium, and that an additional 800 million tons of ice to the North Pole would cause a half-revolution, analogous to that in my experiment. As a result, we in the northern hemisphere would find ourselves down-under. Briefly discarding my usual humility, I submit that this is the most elegant demonstration of its kind yet devised, and I cannot imagine that there will ever be a more convincing one.”

Though the audience reeled, disapprobation was not long in coming. Leading the charge was Dr. Terps Dunderklap, himself verging on the globular. The hairless one was located at a fashion show in St. Petersburg. His guffaws must have been audible almost as far away as his homeland. “I believe I have finally established what is amiss with the fool of the fjords,” he said. “It is a question of height. A brain at such an altitude as his must be oxygen-deprived and therefore not working properly. If I did not dislike Jopp so much, I would pity him.”

After interrupting his comments to view a little stuff-strutting on the catwalk – a blinding red and yellow number – Dunderklap continued: “I confirmed eight months ago that the notion of crust-inversion is nonsense, but did not publicise my finding, which was merely one result of several amusing experiments I carried out during an evening I spent entertaining some friends. My equipment comprised a medicine ball, a basin, a length of Cellophane, six ounces of petroleum jelly and some modelling clay. The test proved conclusively that there never has been and never will be such a swivelling as Jopp suggests. Further, his statement that so much mass would have to be added to the northern ice cap is as profoundly erroneous as the rest of his assertions. Anyone accustomed to delicate weighing would tell you that if there were a near-perfect balance, a minuscule addition to either side of the scale would be decisive. Incidentally, the ice around the North Pole is melting. What about that lot, Greeno?”

This wrangle may well absorb many physicists for some time.

* * *

March 7th, 2015, 07:45 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Thirteen

Like Nothing On Earth

The apparently inexhaustible Professor Ovis Jopp has done it again. Speaking yesterday to a select gathering at his home, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ dropped yet another blockbuster onto the scientific world, revealing that he had discovered a planet circling, or perhaps one should say ellipting, the Sun in the same orbit as ours.

“I must confess,” said Jopp, “that I got the idea while watching a film which purported to show that there was a ‘mirror’ Earth on the far side of the local star, but always out of our sight because it is constantly in precise opposition to us. Why not, I thought. You know that I am accustomed to discovering, even conceiving, planets, so this project was not a totally new experience for me. I worked on the Hardanger Plateau. My equipment comprised twenty skilfully arranged and ingeniously connected empty oil drums, painted green, a simple megaphone and an army surplus transmitter/receiver, in which I implanted the vital component, a piece of an isotope of my recently invented element joppium, which you may recall I used in an earlier experiment.”

Calming his excited audience, Jopp continued: “Realising that any other body in our orbit must be regarded as leading or chasing us, I worked backwards to achieve the swiftest possible connection. Imagine my joy when I picked up the first message. I will not tax your minds by explaining the linguistics involved, but I established that there is what one might call a shadow Earth, matching our planet in size but consisting mainly of gases, so having very low density and mass. This body would not be observable by any of our space cameras, as it is enveloped in an occlusion zone, which both prevents direct sightings and neutralises gravity. The latter characteristic explains why the planet is able to maintain its course, despite its low mass. Incidentally, I have not yet given it a permanent name. Until I do so, Earth 2 will suffice.”

Here, Jopp paused to light one of those mammoth green seaweed cigars which Captain Nemo might have envied. He then went on: “Our friends on the ‘other side’ are somewhat similar to us in appearance, though obviously rather less solid – ‘ethereal’ is the word. Happily they are not hostile. Also, I am delighted to say that they have among their number a scientist who is not so very far from being my equal, and who has perfected a method of sending messages in a direct line around our joint orbit, instead of spreading them in the usual electromagnetic way. I hope I am not being immodest in saying that the task of intercepting the transmissions seemed destined to fall to me. I feel sure you will understand why I have not indicated exactly how I used my apparatus. I do not believe the world is yet ready for mass extra terrestrial communication. These are early days and all will be revealed at the right time.”

A response to Jopp’s words came quickly from the ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap, who was vacationing in London, close to Holloway Prison. He was as forthright as ever, saying: “So, the cerebral Cerberus that protects Jopp from reality is still in place. I do not enjoy carrying out a further demolition job on him, but feel bound to say that I can refute his arrant nonsense. I investigated this matter a year ago, using twelve empty casks of Limousin oak, cleverly arrayed, a trumpet and a transmitting and receiving device, similar to the one Jopp employed, the difference being that my vital addition was a sliver of the element dunderium, which I produced a short time ago.

As I had predicted, the result was negative. My messages zipped around the allegedly shared orbit, returning home without having encountered any obstacle. Jopp’s supposed planet could exist only if it occupied one of the Lagrangian points, which are places of gravitational equilibrium, allowing a small body to hold its position because of a balance between two larger ones. There is no such spot at the location Jopp suggests. Take more water with it, Greenie.”

The professor riposted: “I have seen Twerpo’s figures which, if the champion chump could only see it, show that all of his communications took a fifteenth of a second longer than they would have done, had they not met Earth 2, which they were obliged to semi-circumnavigate. I’d like to know what Blunderklap makes of that.”

Another lengthy dispute seems inevitable.

* * *

March 14th, 2015, 07:55 PM
Professor Jopp’s Remarkable Feats

Number Fourteen

Face To Face

It has happened at last. Professor Ovis Jopp, the lean, seven-foot-two, green-bearded ‘Sage of Trondheim’ and his foremost detractor, the five-foot-four tall, five-foot-four round, tressless ‘Swedish Savant’, Dr Terps Dunderklap have had their first meeting since childhood. What a battle! There was never much doubt that the two men so often described as the Northern Lights would put on a spectacular show, but probably few guessed correctly how events would unfold.

Long before it took place, the encounter was attended by problems, among which was the question of venue. Jopp was unwilling to visit Sweden, while Dunderklap was adamant about not appearing in Norway. Denmark came to the rescue by offering a space in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens. Then there was the issue of a moderator. Jopp proposed his old friend Sir Dudley Stroan of Cambridge. Dunderklap countered by suggesting Dr Margaret Transpond of Harvard. It was finally agreed that, as both principals were born in Holland, a Dutch person would be appropriate. The job was accepted by the renowned palaeontologist, Ruud Djestiurs of Rotterdam.

A last-minute obstacle arose when the tee-total, non-smoking Dr Dunderklap objected to Professor Jopp’s insistence on availing himself of his well-known greengage wine and green seaweed cigars during the event. This was settled by an agreement that the gladiators would sit a minimum of four yards apart.

Those expecting a joust in the outer realms of science were doomed to disappointment, perhaps in part because a jarring note was struck at the outset by the master of ceremonies, who said he did not anticipate difficulties, as he was accustomed to dealing with fossils. That this attempt at light-heartedness discomfited the two behemoths of badinage was clear from their body language.

Owing to frequent audience participation, a totally accurate record of the verbal exchange that followed cannot be presented. Perhaps the best course is to recount what was audible, omitting interruptions. This is done below, as far as possible verbatim, beginning with the professor’s opening comments:

Jopp: The Sap of Stockholm and I have exchanged words only once since our formative years. That was when he phoned my secretary, demanding words with me. I gave him two, and there are no prizes for anyone guessing which ones they were. I suppose the reason why he persists in assaulting me is that he is resentful because, to use a stellar analogy, I outshine him by several orders of magnitude. Possibly the best comparison would be to think of us as featuring in the Hertzsprung-Russell star diagram, in which I would appear in the top right-hand quadrant – the supergiants – while Dundles would be at bottom-left, among the other dwarfs. Still, even such a body must have shone at some time, so maybe it is better to be a has-been than a never-was. As I recall it, the charmless cherub did once achieve fleeting notoriety by destroying his school classroom during one of his unfailingly catastrophic experiments. Pick the bones out of that, Your Hairlessness.

Dunderklap: This is a no-brainer, so will be about right for my supposed adversary – I cannot call him a genuine opponent, for to reach that state he would need to rise unimaginably from his present level. As for his invariably disastrous efforts in his laboratory, let me say that Jopp got the green tint in that silly beard as a result of his farcical dalliance with what he mistakenly regards as science. The visier of vacancy remains in denial, refusing to accept my superiority. Mercifully, I have to think of him only once in a while, and when doing so, I usually also call to mind the famous comment that genius involves 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Jopp has surely raised the latter figure to 100%, thus eliminating the former. By the way, I recall that his parents considered naming him Zeno, after the Greek gentleman famous for propounding paradoxes. That would have been fitting, as the riddle in this case is how Joppie managed to avail himself of the highest level of tuition, from which he emerged as a mental vacuum. My point, I think.

Jopp: The malignant microbe excels himself. He constantly snaps at the heels of his betters – how numerous they are – but never reaches their throats. Hardly surprising, as the poor fellow’s physique precludes him from eyeball contact with anyone of normal size. When called upon to refute the assertions of this querulous quack, I also call to mind the Arabian Empty Quarter. Compared with what takes place between the ears of the poisonous pygmy, that area is a hive of activity.

I am told that Dundie the Dismal has a laboratory. Pardon my sniggers, but he needs that like a Trappist needs a telephone. I don’t wish to make a habit of descending to his level, but as he has alluded to percentages, I can’t resist mentioning the recent findings suggesting that we humans share most of our DNA with chimpanzees. Klappers may well be unique in having chalked up the whole lot. Incidentally, he is wrong about my name. My parents were not thinking of Zeno of Elea – the paradox man – but Zeno of Citium, founder of the stoic school, and goodness knows I need all the stoicism I can muster when dealing with the puerile pest here. Also, if Dunno were right about my education and its outcome, that would be an irony, not a paradox. Another foul-up for the uncrowned king of the faux pas.

Dunderklap: Jopples is as arrogant as ever. He has more snot than a schoolboy’s coat sleeve. I don’t wish to go over old ground, but note that he recently spent some time addressing the vanishingly small. That seems appropriate, as it is a fair reflection of his mentality. Regarding the ridiculous jopposcope he claimed to have invented, I have proved to my satisfaction that ordinary electron microscopes, if connected cleverly enough – perhaps I am alone in being able to do this – produce perfect results, while avoiding the huge distortions inherent in Jopp’s absurd device. Incidentally, I find it quite amusing that he is always telling us that he needs to make further adjustments to his various gizmos and supposed findings. He reminds me – in that respect only – of Leonardo da Vinci, in that he has more unfinished work than a convention of builders. This is just a throwaway line, of which I have many. Are we now at forty-love to me? I am losing count.

Jopp: There is no need for the mobile misery to keep score, as the result was always a foregone conclusion. I don’t care to speak ill of the brain-dead, but if this mordant mole insists on exhuming our past differences, I cannot avoid thinking of his recent comment about the disparity between our IQs. I concede that he may be right about a difference of 250 points. If the scale goes up so far, I will accept a figure of 300 in my case. This would place Dr Dummkopf at 50, and considering that the norm is 100, that would make him a half-wit. This seems reasonable. He may have occasional synaptic flickers, but they are similar to the death throes of certain heavenly bodies, which usually shed a little light over a limited area. In case he fails to get the point, this is a compliment of sorts – goodness knows he could use one.

Dunderklap: The mindless mountebank is always offensive. However, as he has accorded me a little backhanded flattery, I will do the same for him. When he visited California a short time ago, I referred to him as the true San Andreas Fault. I now retract that remark, as it is clear that whatever may be produced by the geological feature concerned could not cause anything like so much damage as would result from the adoption of even the least maniacal of the jopperator’s demented ideas. I accept that he is a man of letters, the first ones that occur to me being d-o-p-e. Game, set and match, is it?

Jopp: Ah, all bitter and twisted, are we? I hardly need to defend myself against so feeble a foe, but the odd joppservation would not come amiss. It is strange to think that in his adolescence, the dunce of dunces had the makings of a physicist’s gofer, but he was deluded all along in considering himself a man of science. That was pure wishful thinking. When one considers the places where he is usually found by the media – I mean the precincts of exclusively female establishments – one cannot but regard him as an actual or a potential flasher. In fact I once sent him a dirty raincoat, but he didn’t get the message and never thanked me. I suspect that pipette is a word he associates with someone he might find in a dance hall. Frankly, I have lost patience with Dunderpate and any day now I shall drop-kick him into orbit.

Dunderklap: My self-appointed peer – surely no-one else could classify him as such – has an ego the size of all outdoors. It would save us all much trouble if he were to take on some mundane task. Just to protect everyone, I nominate him for the job of repointing the Great Wall of China. That would allow him to develop his crazy ideas without threat to the rest of us. He is bad enough with pencil and paper, so let us hope he never lays hands on a slide rule, let alone an electronic calculator.

Jopp: My less than learned friend – if I may corrupt the language of barristers – continues to disappoint us. He is a legend in his own mind. Having no taste for trading insults, I wonder why he abuses me so. Possibly the reason is his failure to match my feats. His first love was local astronomy. He should have stuck to that, as he has such a predilection for moonshine. Regarding his fatuous attacks on my work, I catch them like a ten-armed goalkeeper. By the way, Dumbcluck got his toy degree from one of those universities which bestow their accolades without requiring anything as inconvenient as study. I speak of Bachelors of Bunkum, Masters of Mendacity and Doctors of Dissimulation. A month’s national average income in these parts is about the going rate for the title of one’s choice.

Dunderklap: How sad that my antagonist cannot raise his game. As ever, his main handicap is lack of cerebral candlepower. I do not share his love of vilification, so with regard to our respective merits as scientists, I am content to let the public judge.

J: And so it shall, you imposter.

D: Humbug.

J: Cad.

D: Bounder.

J: Blockhead.

D: Ninny.

J: Dolt.

D: Booby.

J: Numbskull.

D: Jackass.

J: Loony.

At this point, the war of words and the attempts at mediation by the much-harried Ruud Djestiurs became unintelligible. A further confrontation seems unlikely, though the above-mentioned Ms Transpond has offered her services, on the basis that female intervention may impart a certain ameliorative influence.

These are dark days for science.

* * *

This ends the Professor Jopp series.

bazz cargo
March 14th, 2015, 11:56 PM
A tear in my eye. CJ me old penmiester, you end on an explosive note. Thankfully I read this after coming up with my own variation on the half wit witticism or I would consider myself a plagiarist.

It has been a long and trying week and I needed some humour to lift my spirits, thank you.

March 15th, 2015, 07:49 PM
Dear BC,

Thank you for the comment, from which I note that you seem to have been pleased to see the professor going out with a bang. I think one should always try to recognise when a good run comes to an end. Perhaps neither Jopp nor Dunderklap will ever recover from the ghastly face to face encounter recorded above. Anyway, I fear that the jolly giant will appear no more.

Best wishes – Cj