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


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  1. #1

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

    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.

    * * *
    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:35 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
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  2. #2
    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.

    * * *
    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:36 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

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  3. #3
    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.
    * * *

    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:37 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

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  4. #4
    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.

    * * *
    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:38 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

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  5. #5
    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.

    * * *
    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:39 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

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  6. #6
    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.

    * * *
    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:40 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

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  7. #7
    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.

    Last edited by Courtjester; February 8th, 2015 at 08:43 PM.
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

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  8. #8
    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.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  9. #9
    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.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



  10. #10
    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.

    * * *
    Even though the darkest clouds are in the sky,
    You mustn’t sigh and you mustn’t cry.
    Spread a little happiness, as you go by.

    Hidden Content



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