The building where François works is a one floor construction with the shape of a T.
Originally, when it was erected at the end of the XIXth century, it had three floors. But because the Bay area is subject to frequent powerful earthquakes, in the fifties the building was judged to be a hazard.
The upper floors were demolished, and only the ground floor was kept.
The horizontal bar of the T is the main corridor, where are the professors's and secretaries's offices.
In the vertical bar of the T are located the students's offices, a small conference room, and the lounge where people can have tea or coffee or just make a pause.
The atmosphere in the department is at the same time studious and laid-back. It is easy to go and talk to professors. Some of them even never close their door.
On Thursdays at four o'clock, is formal tea hour in the lounge. Everyone is invited to come, though it is not mandatory.
It is a pleasant moment to forget one's studies, and to get to know each other better.
François enjoyed very much this atmosphere much less formal than in France.
Once he came to the department carrying in a basket his two black kittens.
As soon as it was known that two adorable young cats were cavorting in the main corridor, all the secretaries stepped out of their offices.
Judith: Oh, how irresistible is this one! What's his name?
Melanie: And that one? How hilarious!
F.: That's Cauchy.
Cynthia: These are funny names.
After a while, Bradley, the chairman of the dept, arrived and told François:
Bradley: Look François, it's nice to entertain the department with your pets, but the work of the whole place has come to a halt.
Bradley: The secretaries stopped typing anything. They are no longer answering the phone. We cannot work anymore.
Bradley: Please take them back and don't bring them again.
With the help of Judith and Melanie, François captured his kittens and went home.
The next morning people asked him:
- What have you done with your animals? You didn't bring them today?
F.: No, no. They enjoyed their visit yesterday, but they were tired afterwards. Mathematics is not for them.