Mens Temporum . UK

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Naming the Director

Returning to the thoughts behind my choice of characters’ names for my novel, I had named the scientifically qualified director of the time warping building Adrian Bellaine. I had previously given him the name Adrian in the original short story which inspired the novel, but the name seemed to have been an arbitrary choice. The only real Adrian that I could recall was a fellow scholar back in my time at boarding school, but the character didn’t seem to have been based on him and I couldn’t even recall whether science had been a speciality of his. Equally the origin of the surname Bellaine in my mind was unclear and my only feeling about it at the time was that it sounded Scottish. That feeling seemed mainly to have originated from the word “ain” meaning “own”. In reality this very rare surname does appear to have existed in Scotland in the past.

Early in 2017 I read a paper by Adrian Kent, professor of quantum physics at Cambridge, about the nature of consciousness and, wanting to write to him, I discovered elsewhere that his name in his email address there was A.P.A.Kent. That fact in itself possibly explained my thoughts about my schoolfriend Adrian back in 2011, whose initials were memorably A.S.A.J. The similarity of the structure of the two sets of initials was striking. I wondered whether I could also determine any connection between the surnames Kent and Bellaine, which at first sight looked doubtful. My mind doesn't primarily register Kent as a surname because Kent is the place where I live. Assuming that my mathematician’s desire for symmetry had played a part in my choice of the name Bellaine I guessed that if the professor’s surname related to the place where I was located then equally the surname Bellaine should relate to his location, i.e. Cambridge. Taking into account the way that back in 2011 I had thought about the word “ain” I realised that I had constructed the surname to imply “Bell’s own” and my own mother’s close ancestors were in fact a family of stonemasons named Bell who had lived in Cambridge. Hence the hoped for symmetry did exist, that the professor’s ancestry related to where I was while my ancestry related to where he was.

I had originally been attracted to the professor’s work by its possible relevance to the nature of the phenomenon that I was researching, but the apparent connection with my fictional science director had not been associated with that work at all but just with his full initials, which didn’t even appear on the documents of his that I had read, so it was actually my desire to write to him that had made that connection apparent. Otherwise I wouldn’t have seen any significant connection between Adrian Bellaine and Adrian Kent worth investigating. Maybe it isn’t that significant though. Who can truly say? However, if there really were a project which could reach into the future and acquire information from people there then no doubt Professor Kent would be a prime candidate for the post of director there.

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