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.
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