Flown by a US Air Force plane from California to Canada, and from there to Florida and on to Washington, the Russian astrophysicist George Gamov gave a lecture at each stop, and saw --- in one of the few quiet moments, which he spent in a crowded cafe on Fifth Avenue, because he was supposed to wait --- WITH HIS OWN EYES the rotation of the atoms and subatomic particles, their spinning, and the universal revolvings of the molecules, the planets, the swiftly rotating stars, the galaxies and the clusters of galaxies. It seemed to him a uniform, general movement divisible by the spin numbers 1.5 and 1, like that of a very complex clock or like the music he had once heard in St. Marks Cathedral in Venice, having traveled there in the 1930s with Stalin's permission.

On the back of his check he scribbled down the observation as a mathematical formula, an observation which at first sight might have seemed to be nothing more than an irritation of the eyes, like blood corpuscles dancing across the pupil, when someone who has been sitting in the sun stands up too quickly. Afterwards he couldn't read the quickly written note. Never again did he see the world so precisely.

--- From The Devil's Blind Spot
Alexander Kluge
(New Directions)
Send us e-mail


Go Up     Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH