Confidence that the publication of a deluxe facsimile edition of Professor Brian Thrupiece's Elementary Glossary of Culinary Bio-ethical Terms would generate worldwide interest was hardly surprising or unjustified, such is the reputation of the author and his book in thinking circles from Alaska to Australia. That it would spark controversy was almost certainly not, however, what its publishers intended.
However, forensic examination of the manuscript sections of the new edition by Danish scholars using - ironically - advanced photogrammetric techniques developed by Threadbone Photo-Digital Laboratories has, without question, set the detective cat amongst the scholarly pigeons!
By magnifying and subjecting to intense scrutiny a portion of one of the pages, Professor Lars Resorte and his colleagues have revealed a hitherto undiscovered scribble/doodle which appears to question the origins and perhaps even the authorship of the famous Thrupiece Table (TT).
The rudiments of of the Thrupiece Table were first revealed to the public at the RSCBE's Cuban Conference in 1967. Professor Thrupiece's pioneering work caused initial confusion (“Confusion Reigns as Professor Grinds the Numbers”, Havana Bugle, September 11, 1967), though historiographers would later recognise that this was the unveiling of the "Holy Grail" of bio-ethics - a fully portable “flat-pack” periodic table of bio-ethical ambiguity. Key was the establishment of the scrupular weight of coleslaw at 1.02thru [CLw = 1.02]. Thereafter the elucidation of all succeeding semi- ambivalent equivalences under normal pressure and at room temperature followed as a matter of course.
The new analysis is said to reveal equations in the 1964 Glossary manuscript "remarkably similar to those employed by Professor Thrupiece in his 1967 presentation" but - crucially "in a hand not obviously the Professor's own". Further, a note underneath the equation and clearly in the Professor's hand reads: "Hat's off Audrey old bean". Speculation is rife that Audrey refers in fact to Ms Audrey Badminton-Court a close younger colleague of the Professor's at the time and later Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Okeford Fitzpaine.
Asked if this meant that the critical breakthrough which lead to the establishment of the Thrupiece Table had been Ms Badminton-Court's rather than the Professor's, Professor Resorte was equivocal. "I don't know that we can say that", he said, "research is a collaborative matter and even if the equation is Ms Badminton-Court's or perhaps one dictated to her by Professor Thrupiece, progress from the raw equation to a meaningful table still required considerable effort and skill".
Even so, the revelation is set to trigger further questions which Mrs Amanda J Threadbone, literary executor of Professor Thrupiece's estate was not keen to answer. Asked today if she was keen to answer any questions, she was clear: "No", she said, "not keen at all."
The marginalia analysed by Professor Lars Resorte and his team with an enlargement revealing their astonishing findings.