You can breeze through a Ph.D easily enough: work on a solid and time-tested model, come up with some obvious hypothesis, test it with a sure-thing protocol and then publish one or two papers in low-impact journals. Voilà, please be sure to pick up your diploma at the door. You're not exactly on your way to starting up your own lab or getting that research chair (yet, you'd be surprised), but you've got the printed credential.
But it's not every Ph.D in ichthyology -the field of zoology dealing with fish- that winds up not only shaking up the field itself but also wave-physics, neurology, photonics, information theory and psychology.
Like her Ph.D.
She got lucky enough to be part of a team of zoologists set to explore a remote and virgin indonesian jungle. New-species-discovery almost guaranteed. The fish would be hers.
The trek through the jungle was hellish to say the least, but sometimes life makes you pay in advance. Just three days after having established a base camp, she found it in a small river. To her, a small yellow fish, probably a cyprinid, some relative of the goldfish. It got strange when she asked a colleague to look at the yellow fish, colleague who argued in a laugh that the thing was green. As she looked back at it, it had turned orange. When another coworker was asked to settle the argument, he said the fish was red. An intern admitted that to him, it seemed to be a shade of purple. A lead researcher actually asked what fish they were talking about. Someone stared at the fish for a good half-minute and puked up his lunch.
It seemed nobody was seeing the fish in a same color, while a minority either got dizzy or even nauseous looking at it. If one just looked away or even blinked, again the color changed. And it was even invisible to another minor fraction of people. Pictures and film, analogous or digital, turned out overexposed.
An inquiry with the closest living people revealed that the fish was known to the locals as the Liar Fish. His peculiarity was known to them, hence the name, and some shamans were said to stare at the fish for hours to enter a state of trance. The fish would turn black upon its death.
She's now home from Indonesia and the scientific community is in an uproar. What lies at the heart of the Liar Fish's lies?
The involvement of a natural form of camouflage seems unlikely as each person perceives a different color. Vision neurologists are wondering if photoreceptors are somehow getting fooled or if something else could be happening downstream from the retina. Quantum physicists are talking about photons somehow getting "un-entangled" and "re-entangled" with each observation event, or in laymen's terms, when a guy looks at the fish. Some information theorists are suggesting that the photons bouncing off the fish could contain an encrypted code that manages to hack the very root of the visual cortex. Others are saying the fish could be affecting observers through secreted toxins, although it would then seem strange that only the fish's color would be altered. Even the paranormal fringe gets in on the action and most popularly talks about the fish telepathically suggesting a color to each individual.
The confusion is, for now, total.
One night at home with the liar. Tomorrow, he moves in to a nice big tank on the campus.
She will try to figure out how he is lying to us, and how we are letting him do so.
Because it takes two to make a lie.
I you've read all of that: special thanks! No need arguing the "science" in here, I just wrote this for fun.
✎I give full permission to *DeviantDolls for the display of this deviation in the club's gallery✎