“There’s someone whose judgement I trust implicitly in these matters. I’d like you to send your data to him for further consultation. Robert McKlusky at the Dallas Center for Meteorological Research is perhaps the world’s foremost authority on…”
Moshesj interrupted Thomas mid-sentence. “I’ve already sent it to him; and probably anyone else you’d think to suggest. ‘Bob’ was also highly skeptical at first but I won him over after he reviewed my data and crunched the numbers. Now he’s very enthusiastic to collaborate on the research. Although I do have the most extensive lightning study in the world, my data is mostly limited to the Middle East. The overwhelming majority of it was collected when I worked at the Tel Aviv Weather Institute with the Rabbi. I’m hoping to cross-reference it with Bob’s global, long-term study to develop a more rounded, international picture of things. In all, I have a team of about 20 top meteorological scientists who want to assist me in studying this amazing phenomena. For this reason, I’d like to either request an indefinite leave of absence from my duties here; or to ask if you’d like to join my team.”
Although a bit of a blow to his ego, the doctor was too befuddled that a major research project was forming right under his nose; to be miffed about being asked to join his understudy’s project. Hearing that Robert McKlusky and many of his scientific idols were on board; was more than enough incentive to accept. He had been waiting years to take part in such a revolutionary project. “With a ‘who’s who’ of learned researchers, at the very least there will be some exciting new theorems formulated”; He reasoned. Immediately he set out to use his marketing savvy to secure the essential funding. He created a professional looking presentation to show the international grant committees what their general objective was. Having research money was the necessary lifeblood of science in the modern age. Thomas wisely avoided mentioning the Rabbi’s suggestion that thunder might be the actual voice of the Old Testament creator! Otherwise their donations would be limited to ‘The 700 club’ and ‘PTL international’. Just the thought of being in bed with such nefarious, anti-science crusaders made him shudder involuntarily.
And so the ‘International Lightning Research Team’ (I.L.R.T.) was born. Espousing an ambitious mission statement to unlock the mysteries of the repetitive pattern, they pooled together their areas of individual expertise and resources. Having the diverse ‘think tank’ of scientists was essential for the project to succeed. The eerie shadow of monetary funding was always looming overhead and threatening to cripple their study. Those dark clouds are the unpleasant reality of research. Financially speaking, each member carried their own weight from local grants and donations. The collective group would then share their unique findings with the rest of the team members across the globe. The senior member from each regional division handled all the public relations duties by doing promotional tours in the local press circuit. This served to generate excitement and donations at the local level. There has always been an unnatural marriage between Science and the institution of popular public opinion. Something that it depended upon to survive. The mythic concept of ‘pure’, unfunded research is a fairy tale. In the real world, the methods employed and results achieved are always under intense scrutiny by commercial or governmental interests. That unholy matrimony is accepted as a necessary evil or trade off.
Much like the successful DNA project to map the human genome; the I.L.R.T. made remarkable progress in the short span of 13 months. The lion’s share of their incredible productivity could be related to so many different personal perspectives and research angles. What Robert McKlusky’s lightning data lacked in specific detail, it made up for with almost 20 years of general information. His meticulous files provided a much greater span of time and geographic areas of study. The team waited on pins and needles as his research was entered and cross-referenced with the master database.
To the surprise and initial disappointment to all, his data did not match or overlap with Mo’s pattern. Initially upon seeing the conflicting results, a few disenchanted team members lamented that their efforts had been a waste of time. Further detailed analysis however revealed that both databases contained distinctive, unique lightning patterns! No one had been prepared for the possibility of more than one pattern. As available records from different geographic areas were complied and scrutinized, they all revealed the same situation. Each geographic region of the planet had its own, individual lightning signature!
Their excitement over making such Earth-shattering discoveries was dampened slightly since they still couldn’t explain ‘why’. Little-by-little, the pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together but each of the amazing findings were still too vague to ‘see’ what they represented in the overall picture. It was like the incredibly difficult task Michelangelo faced when painting ‘The Creation of Man’ on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. From the awkward perspective of lying on a scaffold and looking up at the nearby ceiling, a person would be too close, to see the oversized characters in their entirety.