Page 4. " the Post Office Tower "
BT Tower
Public DomainBT Tower - Credit: David Castor

Now known as the BT Tower, this alien landmark was for many years the tallest structure in Britain.  Built to transmit microwave communications, at 620 feet it is high enough to beam signals over the Chiltern Hills.

The tower was constructed between 1961 and 1965, at the height of Cold War fears.  Its round design was chosen to best withstand a nuclear blast: the only buildings left standing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were round.

A revolving restaurant was installed on the 34th floor, but following a non-fatal bomb blast in 1971 it was closed to the public.

The view from the 34th floor

Bizarrely, the tower was, for several decades, an official secret, and was not included on Ordnance Survey maps:

I hope that I am covered by parliamentary privilege when I reveal that the British Telecom tower does exist and that its address is 60 Cleveland Street, London

- Kate Hoey MP, 1993

Page 6. " the biography of Darwin which in turn has something to do with a Conrad novel "

The work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) on the theory of evolution by natural selection had a profound impact on author Joseph Conrad (1857-1924).  The novel in question is probably Lord Jim, a "morally fraught" seafaring tale whose protagonist - according to Redmond O'Hanlon in Joseph Conrad and Charles Darwin: The Influence of Scientific Thought on Conrad's Fiction (1984) - retraces the evolutionary journey of mankind.


Page 7. " trigeminal neuralgia "

Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve (the fifth cranial nerve), which is responsible for sensation in the face.  The condition causes intense pain in the lips, eyes, nose, scalp, forehead, gums, cheeks, and chin.

Trigeminal Neuralgia Surgery (Warning: Contains explicit scenes)

Page 9. " removal of a pilocytic astrocytoma "

An astrocytoma is a type of brain tumour that originates in star-shaped cells called astrocytes. This type of tumour doesn't usually spread outside the brain and spinal cord.

NeuroWiki Entry

National Brain Tumour Foundation Fact Sheet

Page 14. " He watched Hale-Bopp with Rosalind and the children "
Public DomainHale-Bopp - Credit: Philipp Salzgerber

The most widely observed comet of the twentieth century, Hale-Bopp was visible for 18 months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the Great Comet of 1811.


Page 18. " Schrödinger's Cat "

This BBC4 video explains the paradox:

Page 22. " mostly piano works by Bach "

Listen on Spotify:  The 'Goldberg' Variations   The Well-Tempered Klavier   Partita  No.2 in C Minor    by J.S. Bach