What happens when you gather 200 of the world’s most serious scholars, isolate them in a wooded compound, liberate them from all the mundane distractions of university life, and tell them to do their best work? Not much.… All that changed in 1998 when several bored IAS members concocted a radical plan to break the grip of academic tedium. What the staid Institute needed, they believed, was a red-lining, full-blown, hard-driving Rock band.
From DNE’s Final Report, where you can read the whole story. This was one of the original inspirations for my Chapter 8, but I never got hold of the mythical Do Not Erase Final Report CD and the story got relegated to a footnote. Somehow Cédric Villani heard about it and gave them two pages at the end of Chapter 11 of his Théorème Vivant, now published in English as Birth of a Theorem.