by Lorenzo Piccoli
Having finally submitted my Ph.D. dissertation, it is time I write the acknowledgments. When looking for inspirations in other manuscripts and books, I found several good ideas. In the end, I narrowed down my selection to four.
First, Nelson Demille’s Wild Fire, which starts like this. “There is a new trend among authors to thank every famous people for inspiration, non-existent assistance, and/or some casual reference to the author’s work. Authors do this to pump themselves up. So, on the off chance that this is helpful, I wish to thank the following people: the Emperor of Japan and the Queen of England for promoting literacy; William S. Cohen, former secretary of defense, for dropping me a note saying he liked my books, as did his boss, Bill Clinton; Bruce Willis, who called me one day and said, “Hey, you’re a good writer”; Albert Einstein, who inspired me to write about nuclear weapons; General George Armstrong Custer, whose brashness at the Little Bighorn taught me a lesson on judgement; Mikhail Gorbachev, whose courageous actions indirectly led to my books being translated into Russian; Don DeLillo and Joan Didion, whose books are always before and after mine on bookshelves, and whose names always appear before and after mine in almanacs and many lists of American writers—thanks for being there, guys; Julius Caesar, for showing the world that illiterate barbarians can be beaten; Paris Hilton, whose family hotel chain carries my books in their gift shops; and last but not least, Albert II, King of the Belgians, who once waved to me in Brussels as the Royal Procession moved from the Palace to the Parliament Building, screwing up traffic for half an hour, thereby forcing me to kill time by thinking of a great plot to dethrone the King of the Belgians. There are many more people I could thank, but time, space, and modesty compel me to stop here.”
Second, mathematician Par Wilfrid Hodges begins his work on Model Theory explaining that “if the book is not a success, I dedicate it to the burglars in Boulder, Colorado, who broke into our house and stole a television, two typewriters, my wife Helen’s engagement ring and several pieces of cheese, somewhere about a third of the way through Chapter 8.”
Third, Brendan Pietsch, now assistant professor of religious studies at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan, started his thesis with the following: “I blame all of you. Writing this book has been an exercise in sustained suffering. The casual reader may, perhaps, exempt herself from excessive guilt, but for those of you who have played the larger role in prolonging my agonies with your encouragement and support, well…you know who you are, and you owe me.”
Fourth, in one of his latest books evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen acknowledged “the National Science Foundation for regularly rejecting my (honest) grant applications for work on real organisms, thus forcing me into theoretical work.”
Make your pick.