And Gutenberg Lived Here: Enough With Schroedinger’s Cat Already

It’s conference season here in Gutenberg Land.

And since the U is out,

but the foreign speakers, visiting scholars, and of course main plenary speakers are arriving,

things are getting really hot.

As in:

for those who don’t know about Gutenberg U,

one of the most interesting facts is the symbol of the university,

the twin towers.


at the front of the U an ancient horse cavalry stall,

with widows’ walk and conning tower,

that was turned into, for some odd reason,

the main math lecture hall,

and a very picturesque masonette rabbit warren math student dorm.

In beautiful old oak

and ancient desks you can’t get out of easily,

if you were at one of the ongoing series of late night sangria parties.

That was from after the end of WWII

till the late sixities.

A time when,

as it said in the teaching assistants’ contracts,

to the duties of the assistants belonged:

chopping wood,

removing fallen bricks and cleaning them,

cleaning and restoring books to the library,

and feeding and milking the professor’s goat.

Yup, goat.

Now, of course, the times have changed.

There are no longer professors with goats.

Only with ancient Citroens,

known over here as the five buck duck,

which is what they used to cost back when they still had a crank to start them.

Which was one of the duties of the nineteen seventies students.

Today, what with moon rocks,

and linear accelerators,

and Max Plank institutes in ever increasing amounts,

the front of the university has been appropriated by the admin people,

who have their own entrance with entry card and everything.

Not to mention a fountain and roses!

Math is now at the back of the U,

near the twenty-something story student dorm that is now empty,

since no student can stand the ever-increasing noise of the Frankfurt airport’s ever more copious 10 pm to five am fly-overs.

And this is where you also, in a long-stretched square of balconied buildings,

find Physics, Computer Science,

and Psychology.

(none of us understand that either)

And, of course the mensa,

the flying saucer shaped University dining hall.

(And no,  they did not move and reconnect the underground tunnel between the old biology department, and the old dining hall.

Not that there wasn’t a lot of speculation when the linear accelerator was connected,

the bio department started pushing narcoticized sheep on guerneys into elevators in the nearby bio sciences department,

and the university dining hall suddenly stopped serving mystery meat and started serving tofu steaks.

The result of which was a lot of discussion about the fact that a vegan protest group had secretly blocked the underground tunnel half way.

Which, since this is a U known for a department of Romance languages which tore down the walls between two departments and moved their books in secretly at night,

and a chem lab where someone forgot to install water pipes in the emergency showers

no one really disbelieves.

There is, of course, also the fact that absolutely no one,

under threat of severe whiteboard withdrawal,

mentions the words Schroedinger’s cat any more.

Yes, Schroedinger’s cat has well and truly disappeared.

And, except for the theoretical physicists,

and Penny,

on The Big Bang Theory,

apparently no one else really noticed.

Or cares.

copyright 2016

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