When Steve isn’t Steve!


Life consists of stories. Science is part of life. Don’t deny that. Enjoy it. 🙂


I found out about what is probably the most unexpected meaning of the word “Steve” in quite the excruciating manner. You ready? Here goes:

Jiving into the house, shouting “Honey, I’m home!” like I was Fred Flintstone, I was ready to embrace my wife, tell her about my promotion and receive a well-deserved kiss. Instead, I found a note on the wall in the kitchen.

Go, see Steve. it said. Combined with the fact that I had not been getting any sort of reaction from my wife while strutting through the front door, I felt deflated.

“Who’s Steve?” I heard myself say.

“What’s that?” my wife asked, appearing from behind the corner, staring at her mobile phone.

“Who’s Steve?” I repeated.

“Yeah, that.” she said, still fiddling with her phone. “Got us a table in a restaurant, you know —“

“You’re going out with —“

“With you, honey. Don’t be such an ass. I want you to meet Steve first, though. Gotta hurry, too, by the looks of it. Table reservation is at eight. It’s dark enough anyway, and, from the look of it, there’s a good chance we might catch Steve before we go to the restaurant.”

Then she did that thing that only wives can do, and I found myself sitting in the car shortly after. Halfway out of town and on our way into the middle of nowhere, I was finally able to raise this particular subject over the small talk again.

“What the–! Who is Steve? Can you tell me what is going on? Who is Steve!?”

“Relax, honey.”

She stopped the car by the side of the road. I knew from my tours with the camera that this was one of the very darkest places around. We got out and stood in the freezing cold.

“Yep.” she said. “It’s starting already. We made it!”


“Look up, silly!”

There it was in all its glory. S.T.E.V.E. You know, Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, a kind of aurora. Beautiful, inspiring, and utterly incomprehensible to me at that particular moment.

“Is that Steve?!?” I blurted out.

“Yes. And handsome, it is, too. What did you think Steve was?”

“I dunno.” I lied. “I certainly didn’t think, you were thinking about S.T.E.V.E.!»

«You forget that I’m the wife of a physicist. To me, Steve may, in fact, be a…wait a second. Ah, an aurora-like phenomenon documented by citizen scientists


“That’s what I read about it.”

“You learned that by heart?”


«Well done, honey, well done!”

Our laughter got lost in the wind on the moors as we embraced.

“I’ll get you for that one, I promise.” I said.

“So,” she said slowly, “they promoted you. Congratulations. To what exactly?”


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