How are we funded, Professor?

“This will be your first lesson in real science,” said the Professor, heaving a roll of extension cord into my arms, “Problem solving. Not the phooey you’re taught in classes.”

“Oh really,” I said, smiling.

“Yes, you’ll have little use of your conventional knowledge in this lab. Could you plug that into number three, please.”

A yellowed sheet of canvas was tossed aside, revealing a strange apparatus, an impressive weave of metal and cable. The Professor, tools in hand, descended on the machine.

When it comes to the electronic or mechanical, scientists work like bees. I watched as connections were secured, bolts tightened, and mirrors precisely aligned. However, it soon became clear that such modern equipment had no place in our humble lab.

“How are we funded, Professor?” The question was innocent enough.

“Think of it as, government funding,” he said, flipping a switch, “it’s inelegant to say, but, we’re planning to rob a bank.”

The machine came to life, and I found the Professor wasn’t joking.

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