The travails of the writer, indeed. While I type away in semi-obscurity on a screenplay for a musical cartoon, and while Anthony Lane (not Lewis, as a few readers pointed out. They just look so much alike, though…) puts aside his Mont Blanc to wrestle with publicists for Harry Potter tickets, there are people who not only write and publish, they contribute significantly to the expansion of human knowledge and our understanding of the universe.
Beginnings of a Neutron Star Burst, NASA Animation Still
One example from today’s issue of Nature: “Gravitationally redshifted absorption lines in the X-ray burst spectra of a neutron star,” by Drs Jean Cottam, Fritz Paerels, and Mariano Mendez. (The NASA News page is a little more colloquial: “Exotic Innards of a Neutron Star Revealed in a Series of Explosions”. See the final draft of the paper on astro-ph, the Napster of Astrophysics.)
Don’t ask me to explain it to you. When one’s wife is a high-energy astrophysicist, gravitationally redshifted absorption lines are just one more of the mysteries of women you hope to understand, some day. I do know, however, that she is made of rather exotic matter.