The book’s title promised little: “The Dynamics of an Astroid.” But it’s the most sited scientific work from the Victorian period. Most people say it’s because it’s author, Professor James Moriarty, was a notorious criminal. The argument is simple, if Moriarty hadn’t died trying to keep his criminal empire from disintegrating at the hands of Sherlock Holmes, no one would know about today. After all, Moriarty’s work is hardly as influential as Gauss’s.
Tran felt that this view was misguided. So when her mother got her a copy from a used bookstore (despite it’s infamy, it was rarely in print at any given moment) as a high school graduation present, she was happy to poor though it’s contents.
But the book doesn’t give-up it’s secret’s readily. Tran struggled with the book over the summer and had to put it to one side for her first year of college to concentrate on her classes. Over time, she went back to it. Slowly but surly she worked through everything and started to wonder something: was Moriarty’s example real?
In the book, Moriarty consistently refers to the example astroid’s peculiar course. Tran tried to use modern relativity theory to see if that solved the problem, but to no avail. And, through out the book, Moriarty keeps talking about how strange the example is.
In her last year in college, she worked out the astroid’s position and convinced one of the astronomers to book time on the telescope to look for it. She found it! Soon (well, soonish) it was confirmed by another facility. But it was close, really close. But that’s o.k. because Earth isn’t in the path.
After graduation, Tran looked at the book. On a lark, she read the last bit of the book. She rarely dwelled at the end of the book, since the meat of the book is all in the middle. But this time, she skipped to the end. The last line caught her eye:
“In the end, we can only conclude that the astroid’s path isn’t governed solely by natural forces, and that artificial forces must be working within it as well.”