Little Bell

Mid-1990s. University of Bonn. Professor Dr. Schmidt enters the classroom with books and papers under his arm, and his little bell. The topic: Game Theory in the Context of International Politics.

A graduate student moves to the front of the room to give his presentation. Hardly a minute into it a shrill ding-a-ling pierces the air. The students don’t dare move a muscle. “Ladies and gentleman. Time and again I simply must impress upon you the need to define the terms you use. You cannot simply throw complex terms around the room without having first clearly defined them!“

A few students risk rolling their eyes. The presenter sweats, squirms and stammers his way through his material. Professor Dr. Schmidt sits down in his chair, his left arm on his desk, in his hand his little friend the bell– ready to get shrill at a moment’s notice.