I recently received an email from Lars Falk, a correspondent in Sweden, who informed me that physicist and Sherlockian Hans-Uno Bengtsson passed away. He was a great popularizer of physics and was famous for his fakir stunts performed to demonstrate the laws of physics, like lying on a bed of nails and walking barefoot on burning coals.
And I even found a very personal remembrance of Bengstsson on another blog, which recalled a very simple yet human occurrence to which he responded with the utmost grace and generosity.
Here's what Lars had to say:
Hans-Uno was a great Sherlock Holmes fan and his book “Trepiporsproblem och bagateller - 7 studier i Sherlock Holmes” (1993) (“Three pipe problems and trifles - 7 studies in Sherlock Holmes”) has done much to increase interest in Sherlock Holmes research in Sweden. Many of these contributions were published in Baker Street Journal. I was personally stimulated by his article "And the Calculation Is a Simple One" (The Baker Street Journal, Vol. 39, No 4, p. 232, December 1989) to propose an alternative solution: "The Two Percent Solution" (The Baker Street Journal, Vol. 52, No 4, pp.5-18, December 2002) and was very happy when Hans-Uno responded with a truly academic comment: “Extremely elegant article: I was almost convinced.”
And Bengtsson's influence certainly did not end with The Baker Street Journal. Indeed, he brought his physics expertise to bear on his love of Sherlock Holmes, with a piece called "The Depth Which the Parsley Had Sunk into the Butter" which was included in the second volume of the Baker Street Irregulars Manuscript Series, Scandinavia and Sherlock Holmes.
He was clearly a brilliant man who had many talents. Just the kind who would be drawn to Sherlock Holmes.
If you'd like to get a hold of his past BSJ articles, you can get the BSJ CD-ROM, which contains the first 50 years of the publication, or you can simply order a reprint of the article. Both are accessible over on the Baker Street Journal web site.
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