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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CraneSacrifice For The Better Good?Manfred was a graduate student in Nuclear Physics at the university where I had worked. He was one of 6 out of 200 who started the program and got as far as he did. Manfred set up his project in what was called the “Pit” which was the area next to the large cyclotron where the “beam” could be extracted for experiments. “Targets” could be placed in the beams pathway and the reactions observed. Each graduate student was assigned time to complete his experiment and therefore because there was a waiting list, the experiment had to be completed in a reasonable amount of time. There were others waiting “in the wings” so to speak. Manfred slept on a cot in the research area and ate from the vending machines that were placed in the hallway. It was a 24 hour, 7 day per week operation. He had to precisely plan his project according to the characteristics or results that he was expecting in order to complete his thesis for his PhD in Nuclear Physics.Suddenly one day he yelled out, “I got it! I got it!” Because it was evening and I was the only person other than Manfred working, he came running at me and said, “Come on, come on, I will show you.” With that he told me to look down a long tube to see a liquid floating in what appeared to be a glass jar at the end of a long hollow tube running into the cyclotron. “Look, look,” he said, “you are the only human being other than myself who has seen it.” What it was was the result of a nuclear reaction that produced an element into a liquid. “You have witnessed the end of my having devoted my entire life in creating or proving. My theory has now been established.”Manfred received his Doctorate Degree and moved on to another university. It was not long after that I received word that Manfred had ingested a highly toxic substance while conducting another experiment. It was only a matter of time when he would die as nothing could be done to save him.128

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