Late to the party–my research, in the thousand most common English words!

In the spirit of XKCD, and thanks to the Up-Goer Five Text Editor, I bring you, my research, explained using only the thousand most common English words (well, some of those thousand get used more than once, and many do not get used at all):

I study the forces between the small things that make up the cells in our bodies. What makes this hard is the fact that these things are surrounded by lots of water and even smaller things. Sad to say, finding the “perfect” right force means adding up every possible way to place all of them, so I make trained guesses about what I can leave out. It is hard to believe, but true, that the most simple guess works pretty well. The written form of the guess has been around for two hundred years, so we have a lot of cool and fun and fast ways to use it on the biggest of the small things I study. I use a weird and fun way that almost no one else uses, but I care a lot that it’s the right way and I have my reasons (perhaps I have people problems? =).

Anyway, it used to be really hard to make our guesses better because small things are, well, small, and hard to study in their normal setting, and the water forces are even harder to study! So it used to be hard to see where your guess didn’t work.  Today things are way better because computers are big and fast so we can study pretend waters and small things on the computer! (Please understand, though, that doing this takes a whole lot of numbers, that you add together and other stuff, over and over again!)  Then any normal bright person can, after many years of school, make a new guess and see if it works or doesn’t.

A few years ago I learned about a new kind of guess as to the forces between water and my small things. The new guess looked pretty cool and important, but the people who made it were having a hard time making their computers get the right number out, and even when they did get the right number out, they had to wait for a very long time for it. I was happy to be able to help them get the right answer fast (I had been working for a long time on a class of guesses that is a lot like their new guess).  It was nice to work with them because I don’t think I ever would have made that guess.  Even better, I know enough about making pretend waters on a computer, that I was able to get some exciting numbers that say the new guess might really be better in some important cases! That was fun, and now I’m working to make the guess better still.


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