By Tom Brown
One could go to his office with a problem anytime. It was correspondence university so there weren't too many students to be a bother. You could ask him anything he could always give clarity. Sometimes he asked me to take some of his marking work it was a pleasure I was paid from research funds.
Heydeman's office was the desk and chair but more like a living room he had a special lounge leisure chair mostly for reading or just thinking and meditation. Sometimes he had something on his blackboard which he explained to me. Relativity or probability theory and so on. Those people were very interested in artificial intelligence research he was known as much as a philosopher than a scientist.
I remember on the minibus to the SAMS conference he explained to me the difference between cardinals and ordinals, which are of very different nature when infinities. At the conference he delivered a talk on his own personal theory in physics which was very original to say the least. At the end one guy jumped up pointing his finger roaring with laughter he literally thought Heydeman was really actually joking! He just kept his cool he kept his pose I found it very admirable. Maybe he was?! What a guy.
Once I went to the archives to get a journal paper for him it was on experiments where incredibly accurate measurements of gravitational acceleration on different substances was made. The experiments were done in a super vacuum. Serious discrepancies were found. The falling rates were not all the same.
This could be repeated and verified under identical conditions. Heydeman had his own theory. As for me, if there were indeed these discrepancies it could possibly be relativistic effects? We are talking of unbelievable precision. This sounds far-fetched already. The results certainly were unsettling. He had some theory on quantum logic as well which apparently at that scale differs radically from our usual accepted experience.
His inaugural lecture was quite controversial too as I remember he argued that mathematical thought was a product of human intellect and was not subject to some external absolute reality, that the human mind did not exist as distinct but as part of an external reality. That the mind and thought processes are actually part of the physical surroundings. The arguments were very convincing.
Professor Heydeman was my hero. As I had it he was the youngest person to graduate with a PhD in Mathematics in South-Africa at the time. The women liked him a lot and visa-versa. A very pleasant person and was only good to me, always immaculate with a suit tie jacket the works, and in this day and age.
He retired quite a while ago he is probably still at university involved with research, it must be great to be at a university with so many professors to stay on. They must really enjoy their work. Luckily the best ones and not the worst. I wonder sometimes how these people are we have not had any contact for number of years. I've been kind of out of circulation.