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Mr. Sievert, a fictional character

A funny story. Today I happened to be around the lab used to inhabit back in 2014-2015 with Oscar and the MCAD lab ratz. A smudgy pic, here:

Back in the day Oscar was actively involved in a low-cost X-ray camera project that was supposedly going to make the world a better place. One of the challenges was to find vendors of some alien technology crystals, willing to collaborate on the project with us. As a very open and communicative guy it wasn't long after he found a few companies ready to send their quotes. Here is the place to mention that even a tiny chipped piece of these scintillating materials costs a fortune, so no sober company would have wanted to send out a free sample to a random guy at some university. Oscar kept bumping into a dead end with free sample denials which at some point led to his frustration. It was time to change strategy.

And so Mr. Sievert was born. As a professional in his 40s, Mr. Sievert was a successful manager in a prosperous company doing cutting-edge miracle devices for the medical industry. Coincidentially he happened to be doing this together with some folks from the local university. He was a confident man, who knew what he wanted, and if his project was successfull he was ready to order a stackfull of crystals. Mr. Sievert shared an office with the MCAD lab ratz, and also happened to have the same telephone number as them. See where I'm going? Oscar forged some clever fiction, just as we've been taught in academia.

It wasn't long after our phone transformed into some kind of a hotline receiving a few calls daily. Oscar now got showered with sample offers, most of them paid, but still, there was some free lunch from one company too, which in the end eventually led to the termination of his quest for scintillators. Unfortunately, the project was doomed from the very beginning as the core idea wasn't really feasible with the technology we wanted to use, which in itself is another comical story to cover some other time.

And so, the project was over. But hey, Mr. Sievert was not forgotten - at all. The phone kept ringing daily with people looking for an imaginary character that never existed, but shared a name with the great Rolf Maximilian Sievert. It was funny at the beginning as nobody in the lab except us knew what the Mr. Sievert story was about. In the summer of 2015 Oscar completely abandoned the X-ray project and moved over to an AI research lab, while I went to try my luck working in isolation on a tropical island. Mr. Sievert was long forgotten, or so we thought!

Two years later I came back to the same old lab. In the meanwhile the place got refurbished, people had changed, but the landline phone remained there. And so, during a hot summer day of 2017 the phone rang. As usual I waited a bit and picked up the phone, guess what?!

— Hello! This is Lisa calling from Ducky Duck Crystals Ltd. Can I speak to Mr. Sievert?

Date:Sat Apr 14 12:00:00 CET 2018


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