Dr Henry Billingsworth was a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist and all-round renaissance man. In the course of his long career, he had held sub-atomic particles in the palm of his hand, excavated lava from the centre of the Earth and invented a whole new mathematical function which supplemented the old-fashioned plus, minus, multiply and divide to create a unheard-of fifth way of doing sums. At present, he was absorbed in his new experiment – observing evolution in fruit flies.
‘Look,’ he said to his assistant, pointing to one of the flies. ‘That one’s evolving. Just round the legs, at the back. Can you see that?’ His assistant nodded and made a note. Billingsworth grabbed the notepad from him. ‘You’ve got to make notes more quickly – look, it just evolved again and you nearly missed it.’
Sometimes Billingsworth thought he should just fire all his assistants and take care of everything himself, but there was simply too much work to be done. After all, if he spent all night in the lab, when would he find time to attend to his personal project, translating the novels of Shakespeare?