After leaving the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) physics laboratory years ago, I crossed the Swiss-German border by high-speed train. Looking out the window of the carriage, I was enthralled by the scenes flashing by: a young couple embracing on an otherwise deserted platform, an old man standing by a rusty wagon with a missing wheel, two girls wading into a reedy pond. Each was just a few flickering frames, gone in the blink of an eye, but enough for my imagination to fill in a story.