the physics of pure hell at sea
by bruce stutz
Alfred Osborne’s style is not to do one thing at a time. At the moment he is trying to get a major wave experiment going at a huge tank in Trondheim, Norway. But his PC refuses to communicate with his Mac. And while he’s working on that, he’s trying to revise some formulas that will drive the waves in the tank. His young colleagues from Turin, Italy—Miguel Onorato and Carlo Brandini, both unshaven, uncombed, and turned out in travel-worn attire—make suggestions in Italian, then pass Osborne a pen and a paper full of equations. He answers in English, redoes the equations, and passes back the pen and paper. They respond in English. He answers in Italian with a Texas twang. It’s a bit as if they were in the middle of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western—only this film is called A Fistful of Formulas. The intense man with silvery hair and blue eyes has the Clint Eastwood role, and he doesn’t need dubbing.