Ding-a-ling………..door creaks open……..footsteps to the counter……… pinging of palm on the bell to attract the shopkeeper’s attention…….sound of boots on stone floor as Albert pitches up from out the back.

Albert: “How can I help you today Sir?”

Herbert the punter: “Well tell the truth I’m looking for an equation that sort of covers everything really if you get my drift.”

Albert: “May I ask if it is for a special occasion?”

Herbert: “Sort of, I have been asked to give a lecture at The Dyslexic’s Scientific Convention in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch*in North Wales so you will understand when I say I’d like an all-embracing equation.”

Albert: “Bet you can’t spell that?” CHORTLE, CHORTLE

Herbert: “TH…….um… you’re right. Not a hope.”

Albert: “So Sir I get the feeling here that an equation without too many letters or numbers would tickle your fancy?”

Herbert: “Suppose it does really – I mean have you got something with a bit of oomph that doesn’t overly tax my developmental reading disorder.”

Albert: “Well let me think…….certainly your specific requirement means that my equivalent formations, the cosmological constant, the vacuum field equations and of course the Einstein Maxwell ones are positive non-starters as, I might add, is the polynomial form. In short any and all of these will leave you flummoxed. A shame actually as the vacuum field equations are on special offer this month.  However, I do have a new one in – state of the art mind and none too cheap – namely my Theory of Relativity appertaining to a wide range of consequences, which have been experimentally verified, including length contraction, time dilation, relativistic mass, mass–energy equivalence, a universal speed limit, and relativity of simultaneity. I really do think that that fits your requirements.”

Herbert: “Sounds spot on. How much?”

Albert: “Like I said it will cost a pretty penny say £15,000 – although should you go the cash route I could manage a 5% discount. Can’t say any fairer than that.”

Herbert: “Crikey that’s a bit steep. Tell you what, will you take a part exchange. I have about my person The Pythagorean Theorem and frankly I’ve never really got on with it.”

Albert: “The Pythagorean Theorem you say. Well it’s seen better days yet possibly I could off load it to a second hand dealer. Why not – I’ll give you £2,500 for it and that will leave you just the balance to pay; ideally in cash.”

Herbert: “Done – I have the requisite spondoolies with me as it so happens. Right here’s your money, now lay The Theory of Relativity on me if you don’t mind.”

Albert: “I think you’re going to like this Sir. ‘e=mc2’ they don’t get simpler or more profound than that my friend. You will take the breath away from the other conference delegates with this little beauty I can tell you – I suspect more than a couple of ‘bravo’s’ to boot!”

Herbert: “Wow, I’m cool with the ‘e=mc’ bit but you said ‘squared’ and that could be a little bit tricky as ‘Q’s’ are my nemesis and ‘squared’ sounds a bit ‘Q’y’ to me.”

Albert: “No, no you misunderstand – you simply chalk up the number 2, you don’t have to spell it silly you.”

Herbert: “Blinding – I couldn’t be more pleased than if you gave me a season ticket to the highly acclaimed Centaurus brothel in Rio. I can’t thank you enough. Right, next on my list is to order the train ticket to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – that’ll be fun for a dyslexic because as you may have determined I certainly can’t say it!  I shall take of my leave Sir.”





  1. In high school we actually had to learn about that place in Wales…well, we were just notified of its existence on account of its long and unpronouncable name. Do you know how to pronounce it?
    Anyway, great idea again…I was never great with physics in school, but this story definitely would’ve deepened my understanding of the theory of relativity considerably. Also, I think Einstein is getting screwed over by trading his theory for that old Pythagorean one:s

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