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Irreversible Processes

Following his return from New York Ray Bonn attempts to settle back into the life he had before his whirlwind book promotion tour. He is now saddled with a new task of collaboration on a book that will finally resolve the unsolved issue of what causes the inevitable increases in entropy. He is tired and annoyed by Lesa’s insistence on romantic involvement and at setting him up for appearances before the home crowd of the Seattle Mariners. When their book is finally published and their technical papers are in demand, Lesa insists that Ray (not just she) should present some of their papers, so he agrees to give a requested keynote address at a premier conference on thermodynamics on the Oregon coast.

He gives the keynote but Lesa presents their paper to applause, and Ray realizes that although he is a celebrity for having hit home runs, Lesa is the real thing in physics. He is just along for the ride to a Nobel prize. They engage in a heated argument on this topic. Upon his return from the conference, he learns that his wife Helen has been hiding the fact that she is terminally ill. Ray cares for Helen assiduously for months until she insists with the support of their children and against his wishes that he take a break for a few days to give a requested lecture in California. [See excerpt.]

Lesa gives a memorable speech in accepting the Nobel prize for their contribution to thermodynamics. Helen, Ray’s life-long love dies after her lingering battle with cancer. He sinks into extreme despondency, after which he makes a slow recovery with a restored will to live that comes about by teaching a physics class at Stanford University.

He suits up for a final dramatic at bat at Safeco Field after which he humiliates the announcer and himself in an interview by lecturing on the probabilities of many things, an obsessive rant that many will remember as long as they remember Ray Bonn. Only after the retirement celebration does he find out that Lesa had been at the game doing color commentary on TV and hearing his rant. Their love, that had never died, reignites. They marry and very soon expect a son.