Twenty years of schoolin' and they put you on the day shift

Look out kid it's somethin' you did
God knows when but you're doin' it again

I started my physics career as a condensed matter experimentalist at MIT, and as such I was brought to Cornell as a Xerox fellow. I went once down into the bowels of Clark Hell, where there was a professor with an army of people slaving away in dark cubicles, and I promptly decided to join instead the field theorists who owned a beautiful rooftop view of the Ithaca hills and Ithaca skies. One fateful day Toichiro Kinoshita came up with a Feynman integral and asked me whether I could evaluate it for him. No sweat, I worked for a while and not only did I integrate it, but gave a formula for all Feynman integrals of that topology. It was only a bait. He came up with the next integral on which my general method miserably failed. Then he came with the next integral, and then it was like Vietnam - there was no way of getting out of it. I was spending nights developing algebraic languages disguised as editor macros so that synchrotron experimentalists would let me use their computer; we were flying in small planes to Brookhaven, carrying suitcases of computer punch-cards; and by four years later we had completed what at that time was the most complicated and the most expensive calculation ever carried out on a computer, and the answer was:

{1 \over 2} (g-2) = {1 \over 2} {\alpha \over \pi}
- 0.3284...
+ (1.183 \pm 0.011) \left({\alpha \over \pi}\right)^3.

To compund the misery, a respected physicist of teutonic bend expressed doubt in the correctness of my new formula for (g-2) extracted from the electron self-energy, because I only checked it for the cases where we used it. So I wasted some time proving a theorem in graph theory, appendix of paper I. I'll never do that again.

At the very end, I dreamed that I was a digit towards the end of the long string of digits that we had calculated for the electron magnetic moment, and that I died by being dropped as an insignificant digit. I was ready to move on.