Hal Levison doesn’t like observing. A little inconvenient for an astronomer, you might think. Unless of course you are a theorist. Then there is enough for you to study – not in the night sky, but on your computer screen. And in your mind, of course. Not just one solar system, but hundreds, all slightly different. Not one universe, but as many as you might want. And Levison can do all this thinking anywhere he likes. Not only in the middle of the night, on a cold mountain top, but during the daytime, in his office. Or on the Côte d’Azur. ‘My work consists largely of thinking,’ said Inspector Morse, the protagonist of a British detective series, to his sidekick sergeant Lewis when the latter expressed surprise that his boss was not at his desk. ‘And today I choose to do my thinking on a bench in the park.’ And that’s just how it is. Contemplating, discussing, suddenly getting brilliant ideas – you can do all that just as well on the French Riviera over a glass of white wine. Perhaps even better.