Princess Pricklepants, Astrophysicist


Dear reader,

We have happy news!  We wrote a children’s book which we weren’t enthralled with so we set it aside and wrote a couple more children’s books until we found a story we really liked.  We’re in the (long, not very easy) process of illustrating it now.

This little story was mostly just created to force ourself to practice at illustrating (still working at it).  Hence there are no photos, though there are still many pictures with words under them.

The book itself will be a long slow slog since we’re going to be submitting to publishers and all that business.  If anyone has any helpful advice on that front, we’d be delighted to hear it.

And now we begin with our first nicely illustrated picture with words under it.

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Princess Pricklepants was sitting at the table with a nice cup of tea on a quiet day, thinking about things, which was her favorite thing to do.  After a bit of reflection she was overcome with an unusually strong feeling that she should do something good for the world, something big. Really big.

She ran into Sam, a trusted old friend who’d always been there, and had been in many adventures, despite what some pedantic nerds might say about it. “Hi Sam, I’m working on something big!”

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After fourteen seconds, Sam the sloth had finished asking, “aren’t you already big enough?”

Her Highness made a note to schedule another manners lesson with Sam.

“We need to have a talk about manners.  Soon.  But not yet, as I’m working on something big.”

After a long silence that implied quiet agreement, Her Highness wandered off to the study.

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Approximately ten seconds after she had left, Sam had finally finished saying, “no, but I didn’t mean you were big like that.” Alas, he saw Her Highness was already gone.  Sam hoped that was the end of the excitement for the day and decided it was time to slow things down a bit.

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Her Highness decided to develop a theory of astrophysics that explained dark matter more satisfactorily than current models. That seemed big in every sense.

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As she worked, it felt like she was in some kind of wonderful montage with a cool, kind of edgy pop soundtrack driving her quickly towards a discovery that would take far too long to describe in a narrative story format.

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She developed her hypothesis:

Dark matter is actually the interstellar dispersal of lost pens and socks!

So elegant!  It explained dark matter.  It explained the mysteries of pens disappearing all the time.  It explained singleton socks.  It fit the evidence – socks and pens both had mass. This was science and this was big.

She performed an experiment to test her hypothesis.  She took a nice pen out to a patisserie where she bought some nice macarons (mmm).

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When she returned, the pen was gone.  She then looked everywhere for it and even got helpers to look.  It was nowhere to be found, thus proving it was nowhere on Earth and must have drifted off into space.  Eureka!  Science!

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She brought her paradigm shifting work to the Forest Science Council to explain, but the idea that dark matter is actually the interstellar dispersal of lost pens and socks was received surprisingly poorly.  Mr. Badger went so far as to call the idea “tosh,” which seemed rather extreme. After a disappointing meeting, she returned home to have a cup of tea and work out a better plan for sharing her amazing new scientific paradigm.

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As luck would have it, that very evening the James Webb Space Telescope was brought online, and discovered remarkably unusual and unexpected forms in dark matter which the surprised space scientists described as “like a bunch of pens and socks.”

Princess Pricklepants was delighted to hear this news!  With this evidence, her science was even more science-y!

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She returned to the Forest Science Council to present her case with this new data, knowing there would be much less risk of having her theory labeled “tosh.”

Unfortunately, despite unimpeachable empirical evidence backing her case, the theory was still not well received.  Ms. Bluejay was still concerned.  Thus far the council had only seen a few articles on Facebook, but no serious academic work, and the Forest Science Council had just issued another advisory to not trust science journalism posted in exuberant articles on social media until one had reviewed the original research.

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Her Highness briefly considered renting a skywriter to send the message “Dark Matter: Really Lost Pens And Socks!” but deemed it impolite to write on the sky.  Also, skywriting wasn’t exactly scientific…  Still, it was fun to imagine.

She realized that she would have to write a paper including the notes and research from the James Webb Space Telescope space scientist people along with her own significant parts.

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Happily, once the Forest Council reviewed the work, they agreed that her work in the sciences was indeed valuable and significant, and the paper was published in their newsletter.

While it felt strange to have a story wrap up with so few twists, fairly minor conflicts, and personal stakes that really weren’t very high, she was pleased enough with the illustrations, and was honestly pretty relieved to know what had happened to all those socks and pens.

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“Sam, in my heart I’ve missed spending time on art history, manners, and related things, even if they aren’t big.  I suppose being small is still fine.”

“Silly Princess, your work on art and manners and that other stuff amuses, delights, and brings a bit of wonder to the world.  That’s no small thing.”

“Well thank you, Sam,” said Princess Pricklepants politely.

The End

 

 

 

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