Decrypting God's Language, and Other Items From Professors' Crackpot Files

Many professors quietly keep them, either hanging in the back of some file cabinet or stashed in the digital recesses of an e-mail account. And when work gets too stressful or they need a chuckle before bedtime, they pull out those messages — the ones that are too weird, funny, or creatively punctuated to throw away.

Scott A. Hughes, an associate professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received a 22-page, single-spaced screed this May just begging