Chapter 11 is done.

I updated the chapter structure and timeline of The Pi-Effect, building upon yesterday’s results. So far I estimate 21 chapters in total, eleven of them finished.

I gave Chapter 10 a partial re-work, establishing Prof. Leonid Sussman as the mastermind behind the scientific development of the new generation of quantum computers. This will become important toward the end.

Just now I finished Chapter 11, in which a bit more of Grayson and his role in the events is revealed. I intend to keep chapters dealing with Grayson relatively short and use them as a parallel thread in the plot which is going to merge later on with the main thread.

As proof and a little teaser, here is the beginning of Chapter 11:

An airy 1,500 square foot apartment on the top floor of a glitzy apartment building  in Seattle’s Fremont district with a view of Lake Union doesn’t come cheap. It is definitely not a place anyone familiar with Grayson Louderman would have expected him to live. Money and taste just weren’t qualities one would readily associate with him.

A tiny, messy studio with empty pizza boxes on the coffee table, a fridge stocked with Red Bull and a Hustler magazine on the nightstand, sure. That’s where you’d see him living.

However, you’d be wrong.

Most pieces of furniture were second hand, but their combined presence lent the place a cozy and artfully hand-picked character. Instead of pizza boxes it was physics books and in place of Hustler an issue of Annals of Physics. The fridge, though, was indeed full of Red Bull.

Grayson had inherited a sizable chunk of money when his father died. It had bought him the apartment but – more importantly – it had bought him the luxury to educate himself in his only field of interest: physics. Not by attending schools and university lectures – that required getting way too close to other people for his comfort. He relentlessly devoured all the books and articles available on the subject which his slightly lopsided but highly intelligent mind soaked up like a sponge. In three years’ time he had become a de facto world expert in quantum physics of whom nobody had any idea he existed.

And Grayson liked it that way.

Right now, he was sitting in his study, at the desk facing the window with a view over the lake. But instead of appreciating the sun starting to dissolve the overcast sky, his attention was riveted to the computer screen.

His eyes moved from left to right and darted back again as he was absorbing line after line of a dense text onscreen. From time to time he would scroll up to check a previous passage before continuing. There was also a video embedded in the article which he played. Colorful blotches and a haphazard network of lines reminiscent of a spider web did their little song-and-dance which lasted for a few minutes.

With the video finished, Grayson let out a soundless whistle. Then he scrolled all the way back up to the top of the article and re-read the title: “Evidence of a Dual Dream State in Dogs” by Elizabeth Crowling. This article was new, having been published in the online section of Neuroscience Quarterly only a couple of hours ago. This article spoke to him. This could very well be the evidence he was looking for.

Apparently a researcher at Boston University by the name of Elizabeth Crowling had managed to capture the brain scan data of a dog in just the right moment, when there were two dreams present at the same time. Obviously Crowling had access to the new kind of quantum neuro probes and had combined their output with a pretty ingenious way of analyzing and presenting the data. It allowed direct visualization of the emotional state of the neocortex at a level of detail never seen before.

Grayson had to get up and walk around to better think this over. He walked into the kitchen, opened the gleaming fridge and took out a can of Red Bull. He gulped down half the can of the fizzy caffeine brew and allowed himself a satisfying burp.

Then he started to walk around the kitchen table. Round after round. Clockwise.

True, his theoretical work had predicted that this might happen. But only in a very sketchy way which would never stand scrutiny of the scientific establishment.

True, he had found an ingenious extension to Heisenberg’s uncertainty relationship taking it into realms no one had contemplated before. But the equations couldn’t be solved on paper. Not in a general way, only in certain limited cases. The general solution needed a computer. And if the computer model could explain the origin of Crowling’s brain data, he had the proof he required!

Grayson stopped for a second and debated another Red Bull. Deciding against it for the moment, he changed direction and resumed walking.
[…]

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