Bad Physics Jokes

By cjohnson | February 13, 2006 10:38 pm

One of the reasons I love teaching is because there are times when you’ll never know what will occur to you mid-sentence, and then get incorporated into the lecture. No two lectures on the same material are ever alike… they get created afresh by your mood, your state of health, mind, body, the questions that get asked, and….. bad physics jokes!

Today I was demonstrating in my physics 408b class -Electromagnetism- what I consider to be one of the greatest (and most accessible) triumphs of theoretical and experimental physics working together: The fact that you can take Maxwell’s equations and show that they predict a wave-like phenomenon – which would have been interesting enough – but the prediction includes a specific value for the speed of propagation of of that wave, deriving it out of already known constants whose values were known from laboratory experiments in electromagnetism – and that speed is the speed of light! I still think that this is just one of the coolest things you ever see as an undergraduate in physics, and it still blows my skirt up even now.

So what was the bad physics joke? Oh, well, it really is bad. I was in the middle of saying that Maxwell’s equations are coupled differential equations, but that we can decouple them and see something interesting (what will turn out to be the wave equation) by simply curling, a practice which still survives to this day as an Olympic sport…..

There’s a lot of pleasure to be had in gagging with laughter while twelve young faces sit there stonily looking at you as though you’re nuts. That reaction just makes me laugh even more, and it feeds on itself. Took me a bit of time to recover.

Sorry about that joke (I won’t explain it….you had to be there and it is sort of an in-joke). It just occured to me mid-sentence. I can’t stop these things. (By the way, I saw somewhere on the web that my ipod Planck joke, an excellent opportunity to explain a bit about the physics of the holographic principle, was called the “nerdiest joke ever”…..I’m actually secretly very pleased about that. You won’t tell, will you?)

One of many bad physics jokes/puns I recall from my undergraduate years came up in a quantum mechanics lecture. We’d just learned about operators and commutators. Now I can’t recall if this showed up as a result of passing notes to each other during the lecture, or after, (and was probably thought up by my incredibly sharp and funny classmate Andrew Waters…. I wonder what happened to him) but I remember plainly the excellent groans it provoked in all who saw it:

Quantum Mechanics joke

I hope that made you groan too. I particularly like its resonance with the Los Angeles lifestyle.

To compensate for the curling remark, I’ll end with a better bad physics pun, or collection thereof. It was on a slide that my colleague Stephan Haas showed as part of his excellent presentation on “Resistance” in the last Categorically Not! (which was great….I’m supposed to do a post on sometime…..Hmmm.) Anyway, here it is…I’m not sure if it is attributable to him or not (I’ll try to find out):
condensed matter joke

Ok. Now it’s your turn. I bet that you have your own bad physics jokes/puns stored up from your student years….. or perhaps jokes/puns that show up at work….. or if you’re not a physicist… some bad jokes and puns from other science fields you want to get off your chest? I’m particularly fond of the sort of bad (yes, juvenile) puns shown above; longer cleverer jokes belong in a different category somehow. Do share your bad jokes and puns…. C’mon, let out the science geek within…. you know you want to!

-cvj

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  • Brad DeLong

    How come there’s a Div School and a Grad School, but no Curl School?

    YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!! YUK!!

  • Stephen

    At the University of Colorado, some friends of mine and I devised the Smiley Face Operator (“Smiley-Hat”) which made everything h-bar. That way our homework was trivial.

    We also had the ~ operator (but with the hat on it): It was the Smooth Operator.

    Also, somehow, the Mandelstam variables in particle physics became the “Nelson Mandela Variables”. I guess you had to be there for that one.

  • Asher

    My personal favorite occured during my second quarter of undergraduate quantum in the fall of 2004. (note the date)

    My prof, lecturing on operators and the Dirac system of notation made the following comment: “Operators are lucky: they are represented by matrices. All we’ve got is politicians!”

  • jbCharleston

    A group of anthropologists were working in a remote area of the Brazillian rain forest when they came upon a here-to-fore unknown tribe. Thrilled with this discovery, they stayed with the tribe for several months, getting to know them, their rituals, their diet (interestingly involving large amounts of honey), their technology, and so forth. Near the end of their stay, the researchers were surprised early one morning with a commotion coming from a large plot next to the village. Evidentially the tribe was practicing some new ritual. On going to record the activities, the scientists were somewhat surprised at seeing all of the young women of the village, undraped but painted all in blue, dancing around the hives situated there. When the head of the team asked the tribal leader what was the purpose of this ritual, the chief responded that this was the festival of the dye virgins of the bee field.

  • JoAnne

    There’s a whole inside gag with some of us at SLAC about “Lord Tilde.” I think you had to be there, but with just one mention we all fall to the floor laughing.

    My personal favorite was from the older string parody papers in the mid-80’s. Sorry, but I forget the reference. Even worse, I can only write the joke in tex, but will reproduce it anyway for people who can figure it out in tex:

    F_{munu}^{SUSY}tilde I_nu^{SUSY}

    It’s nerd langauge for “If you knew SUSY like I knew SUSY…” YUK, YUK, YUK…..

  • David

    How come grad students have straight hair? Because the curl of grad is zero.

    What do you call chocolate over two pies? Chocolate-bar

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  • jer

    My friend came up with:
    “What’s the problem with the beer at the h-bar? Too much quantum foam!”

    What do you get when you cross a crocodile with a parrot?
    Crocodile parrot sin theta!

    I apologize for inflicting those on you.

  • http://www.physics.uwa.edu.au/about/research/theoretical/field Simon

    There was a ‘good’ paper on maths jokes last year in the
    Notices of the AMS

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Oh gosh… I have to admit that I only just got the “superconductor at 90 degrees”…. It just came to me while I was getting ready for bed. How could I have been so slow? Perhaps because the units were wrong?

    Anyway…brilliantly bad pun!

    -cvj

  • LambchopofGod

    Years ago I took a course on complex geometry for physicists. The physicist teaching the course had more and more difficulty saying “bisectional curvature”. We soon realised the nature of his problem. When he knew that we knew, he said: “**** it! It’ll be the bisexual curvature from now on!!!”

  • Tom Renbarger

    If you are talking about the early history of quantum mechanics and get to the part where antimatter first makes its appearance, you can ask “Can you smell what Dirac is cooking?”

  • http://kinselection.blogspot.com Schwaumlaut

    So an engineer, physicist, and mathematician are staying in a motel.

    Late that night, a fire breaks out in the engineer’s room. He luckily wakes up, sees the fire, and dumps water on it until it’s out. Disaster averted, he returns to bed.

    Later that night, a fire breaks out in the physicist’s room. He luckily wakes up, sees the fire, calculates how much water he’ll need, and puts just enough water on it that it goes out. Disaster averted, he returns to bed.

    Later still, a fire breaks out in the mathematician’s room. He wakes up, sees the fire, exclaims, “There exists a solution!” and returns to bed.

  • http://www.physics.uwa.edu.au/about/research/theoretical/field Simon

    Sorry… my URL didn’t work, it needed the http:// part
    so the working link is here

  • Supernova

    It’s not exactly a joke, but Feynman told a story about going to a conference in a town with two universities. He was arriving a day late, and when he got there, he couldn’t remember which university was hosting the conference. So he hopped into a cab and said to the driver something like, “Yesterday you probably gave a ride to a bunch of old guys who were oblivious to everything around them, but were talking a strange language to each other that sounded like ‘G-mu-nu! G-mu-nu!’ I need to go where they went.” “Oh yeah,” says the cab driver, and takes him right to the conference. Smart guy, that Feynman.

  • JoeZ

    A friend and I were in a Quantum Mechanics class and the lecturer was discussing general properties of wave functions.

    I wrote down: “The Ground State wavefunction has no nodes”.

    My friend leaned over and added: “How does it smell?”

  • R

    At the free university Amsterdam the hallways are labelled alphabetically. So can you guess which three hallways meet in Mandelstam square?

  • Ross Smith

    What do you get if you cross a mountaineer with a mosquito?

    Nothing, of course. You can’t cross a scaler with a vector.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    When prodding us to remember the labels for the electron shells in an atom, my high school chemistry teacher told us to remember that : Sober Physicists Don’t Find Giraffes Hiding In Kitchens. Decades later and I’ve never forgotten!

  • Torbjorn Larsson

    Solid (state) joke here:

    “What is the status of the theory of semiconductors?”

    “It has holes!”

  • http://insti.physics.sunysb.edu/~siegel/plan.html Warren

    JoAnne:

    I believe the “older string parody papers in the mid-80’s” to which you refer are those available at my web site. In particular, the bad pun you quote, “FμνSUSY (like IνSUSY)” can be found in Stuperspace.

  • http://cyclequark.wordpress.com/ Mike

    My daughter is majoring inbiology, but she loves physics jokes. She really loves this joke.

    Physicist: We have learned that neutrinos have mass.
    Studnet: I did not even know that they were Catholic.

    She tells it to all sorts of people and frequently gets blank stares.

  • http://www.tanglebones.com/ Jemaleddin

    I’m sure you’ve all heard it, but for the sake of completeness:

    Werner Heisenberg was pulled over for speeding. The police officer walked up to the car, leaned in the window and asked, “Do you know how fast you were going?”

    Doctor Heisenberg replied: “No, but I know exactly where I was.”

    {rimshot!}

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  • http://somethingsimilar.com Jeff Hodges

    A nice mathematician one: When you come up to two mathematicians talking, how can you tell the outgoing mathematician from the introverted one?

    The outgoing one looks at the other guy’s shoes.

  • erc

    Half way through a Maths Phys lecture we were suddenly asked “What happens when a body is immersed in water?”. Since what we were doing was far from Archimede’s Principle we pretty much stared blankly at the lecturer until someone mumbled “…upthrust equal to weight…”, which was interrupted by “No! The phone rings!”. That got a groan.

  • http://realityconditions.blogspot.com Alejandro

    Supposed to have been seen in a physicist’s office: a cute picture of a kitten, with caption: “Schroedinger’s cat. Wanted dead or alive.”

  • http://realityconditions.blogspot.com Alejandro

    And here is my favourite math joke (which I warn you, is really, really bad). I found it here.

    The cocky exponential function e^x is strolling along the road insulting the functions he sees walking by. He scoffs at a wandering polynomial for the shortness of its Taylor series. He snickers at a passing smooth function of compact support and its glaring lack of a convergent power series about many of its points. He positively laughs as he passes |x| for being nondifferentiable at the origin. He smiles, thinking to himself, “Damn, it’s great to be e^x. I’m real analytic everywhere. I’m my own derivative. I blow up faster than anybody and shrink faster too. All the other functions suck.”

    Lost in his own egomania, he collides with the constant function 3, who is running in terror in the opposite direction.

    “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you look where you’re going?” demands e^x. He then sees the fear in 3’s eyes and says “You look terrified!”

    “I am!” says the panicky 3. “There’s a differential operator just around the corner. If he differentiates me, I’ll be reduced to nothing! I’ve got to get away!” With that, 3 continues to dash off.

    “Stupid constant,” thinks e^x. “I’ve got nothing to fear from a differential operator. He can keep differentiating me as long as he wants, and I’ll still be there.”

    So he scouts off to find the operator and gloat in his smooth glory. He rounds the corner and defiantly introduces himself to the operator. “Hi. I’m e^x.”

    “Hi. I’m d / dy.”

  • fh

    So the Neanderthaler boy comes home from school, and his mother asks him what he has learned today, but he just grumbles and seems to have made no progress at all so finally the mother asks:
    “You didn’t go to school with the boy from Hamilton again, did you??”
    “Well yes…”
    “How often do I have to tell you! If you commute with the Hamiltonian you’ll never evolve!”

    *cough**ahem*

    So the polynomial p and the exponential function are at a party. The polynomial is having great fun, dancing, flirting with the girls, but the exponential is sitting in the corner sulking, not talking to anybody.
    Finally the polynomial walks over to the exponential to break him out of his sullen mood:
    p: “Come on, you can’t do that, sit here all by yourself, shunning everyone! You really have to integrate yourself!”
    e: “… meh, I already tried that, it doesn’t change anything…”

    ___

    Finally, during Analysis 1 the following had us rolling on the floor, which can only be excused through extreme mental exhaustion:

    “Let epsilon be smaller then zero…”

  • http://rantingnerd.blogspot.com/ rantingnerd

    I can’t believe no one has coughed up my favorite physics joke of all time, about the theorist who is hired by the American Dairy Council to help optimize their milk production (because, you know, physicists are smart).

    She goes around to the pastures, to the milking stations, looks at the scaling of the distribution networks (definitely not scale-free), etc. After months, she has a presentation prepared. The auditorium is packed. She puts up her first slide and says “First, assume a spherical cow….”

    [Cross-posted to http://rantingnerd.blogspot.com/]

  • fh

    “First, assume a spherical cow….”

    The prof who taught Theoretical Physics 1 to me as an undergrad actually told this as:

    “Assume a spherical cow in a vaccuum giving of milk isotropically at a constant rate…”

  • erc

    An algebra and number theory lecturer told us that the maths dept had been critisized in their last external assessment exercise for not trying often enough to connect with reality. Thus, he had to give real world examples. Then he “So, imagine an infinite chess board…”

    We had to assume spherical potatoes for a P.D.E. question once too.

  • erc

    Just remembered another one:

    An electron runs into a police station and says “Someone just stole my electron!”
    Police officer: “Are you sure?”
    Electron:”Yes, I’m positive!”

  • erc

    D’oh! Obviously, it should read “An hydrogen atom runs in…”. Sorry.

  • a cornellian

    This isn’t so much a joke, but an operator undergrads like around 2am. It is called the Hendersonian. You can only apply it in a very limited set of circumstances though. When you reach the end of a problem you apply the Hendersonian and it takes your asnwer, devides it by it’s self and then multiplies by the asnwer in the back of the book.

    On a totally different topic, one of my friedns has a poster with 5 girls with physics equations written on their backs. The bottom of the poster read “X things we undersand. Five we don’t” (where X stands for some integer

  • Georg

    When his students asked him to provide a concrete example of some abstract structure, David Hilbert allegedly once said: “Imagine an avalanche tied to a piece of rope…”

  • citrine

    OK, here are two original contributions from me:

    Q. What is the connection between sausages and the second law of thermodynamics?

    A. Due to the second law of thermo, you can put a pig into the machine and get sausage, but you can’t put sausage into the machine and get the pig back.

    ****************************************************

    The Math dept secretary of a college in NY announced one afternoon that the subway trains were on strike. One of the profs did not seem worried. “I’m non-abelian” he explained.

    ***************************************************
    ***************************************************

    I heard this joke at a Math awards ceremony and it always cracks me up.

    A Physicist was explaining to a Mathematician and Engineer about 9-D spacetime. “How can you imagine 9-D spacetime?” the Engineer asked the Mathematician. Easy, said the Mathematician. “I imagine n-D spacetime and let n tend to 9.”

  • JC

    This one is not really a joke, per se.

    Some math professor I had said something to the effect that most of the functions we were going to be studying in the course, are “innocent ’till proven guilty”.

    (At the time I didn’t make the connection of “innocent ’till proven guilty” with the functions being continuous and differentiable).

  • JustAnotherGradStudent

    Sent to me by a mathematician friend of mine:

    The Ten Commandments of Physics

    1. Thou shalt read thy problem…carefully.

    2. Whatsoever thou doest to one side of thy equation, do ye also to the other.

    3. Thou must use thy common sense, else thou wilt have flagpoles 9,000 feet high. Yea, even fathers younger than sons.

    4. Thou shalt ignore the teachings of false prophets to do all thy work in thy head.

    5. When thou knowest not, thou shalt look it up; and if thy search still elude thee, thou shalt ask thy All-Knowing Teacher.

    6. Thou shalt master each step before putting thy heavy foot down on the next.

    7. Thy correct answer does not prove that thou hast worked thy problem correctly. This argument convincest none, least of all thy Teacher.

    8. Thou shalt first see that thou hast copied thy problem correctly, before bearing false witness that the answer book lieth.

    9. Thou shalt look back even unto thy youth and remember thy arithmetic.

    10. Thou shalt learn, read, write ,speak, and listen correctly in the language of mathematics, and verily A’s and B’s shall follow thee even unto graduation.

  • JC

    Another one I remember was one of my math profs trying to explain the second derivative test (for local maxima or minima) to clueless freshman frat boys.

    It went something like, imagine the curve as a container holding beer. When the second derivative is positive, our function will curve upwards and the beer won’t be lost. (ie. That’s a “positive” thing). When the second derivative is negative, our function will curve downwards and all the beer in it will spill out. (ie. That’s a very “negative” thing to happen).

  • ThePolynomial

    My favorite:Two fermions walk into a bar.Bartender: So what’ll it be? Fermion 1: I’ll have a gin and tonic.Fermion 2: Dammit! That’s what I wanted!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/joanne/ JoAnne

    Warren – yep, Stuperspace it is! Thanks for providing the link.

  • http://www.radioactive-banana.com/blog Kristin

    Why did the mathematician name her dog Cauchy?

    Because the dog left a residue around every pole.

  • damtp_dweller

    What goes “Oink! 3.14159. Oink! 3.14.159. Oink! 3.14159”?

    A pork pi.

    *ducks*

  • NoJoy

    So this neutron walks into a bar and orders a drink.
    The bartender puts the drink in front of the neutron and says, “For you, no charge.”

  • Howard

    Why are there no physicists in liberal organizations?

    Because they know there is no potential function for a non-conservative force.

  • spyder

    by simply curling, a practice which still survives to this day as an Olympic sport…..

    it is of course just a minor synchronicity that i am watching Olympic curling at this very moment in the background. And any game/physics concept that uses terms like “ends” and “rocks/stones,” has a bunch of people riding around on brooms, and uses odd expressions to define various hurls and placements, is in and of itself its own best joke.

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

    I heard this one a long time ago:

    If energy is conserved then why do we need to conserve energy?

    But the best jokes can be found on Warren Siegel’s webpage

    The Super G-String

    Amplitudes can then be expressed in terms of the two-dimensional Green function
    G (σ, τ) = ∫ d ν Iν(σ) R(σ, τ; ν) ,
    where I = ℑ J is the Imbessel function, R is the retarded potential, and ν is a dummy variable.

    And from Stuperspace:

    [42] No, dummy, it’s an exponent, not a footnote.

  • Emily

    A physicist, a biologist and a chemist all go on a beach trip for the first time in their lives. When they get there, the biologist is in awe with all the aquatic animals and the algae and all the biodiversity around him, so he decides to go explore the ocean. As he’s never been to the beach before, he drowns upon getting into the water…

    Meanwhile, the physicist has been observing the waves. Water moving back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth. He then decides that it’s time to do some fluid dynamics experiments with this very interesting new liquid, so he goes into the water. As he’s also never been to the beach before, he also drowns…

    The chemist, who has been sitting on the sand nearby, has been observing what the biologist and the physicist were doing, and how they dissappeared into the water. He then takes out a notepad and writes down one single observation:

    “Physicists and biologists are soluble in ocean water”

  • Justin

    When I was a young grad student, two notoriously punny astronomy professors were talking about a new paper claiming the detection of a solar mass of ethanol in a giant molecular cloud. “That puts a new perspective on the question of whether there’s a bar at the center of our galaxy.”

  • Shabnam

    Hmm, I have always wanted to come up with something I could call “Homoerotic String Theory”. Perhaps “bisexual curvature” may be the way forward…

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  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/clifford/ Clifford

    Justin, see my other joke about the bar at the center of the galaxy here. It is upstairs from the Restaurant at the end of the……

    -cvj

  • dhruv

    A bar walks into a man and — —

    whoops, wrong frame of reference…

  • Mauro Guerra

    What’s the sound of a falling electron when he hits the ground?

    “Planck”

  • Tom Renbarger

    When prodding us to remember the labels for the electron shells in an atom, my high school chemistry teacher told us to remember that : Sober Physicists Don’t Find Giraffes Hiding In Kitchens. Decades later and I’ve never forgotten!

    This reminds me of something one of my friends came up with for remember the relationships between the different types of thermodynamic energies and variables. This happened in GHWB’s last year as President.

    So, you write things in this square, which you may have seen before (the X represents arrows to keep track of the sign relationship):

    V F T
    U X G
    S H P

    The line is then “Very Funny Turtles Upset George, So He Puked.”

    15 years later, I still remember.

  • http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com Arun

    Math, not physics – old chestnut
    http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/joke/polly.htm

  • http://throbs.net/ Rob

    A rocket explorer named Wright
    Once travelled much faster than light.
        He set off one day
        In a Relative way
    And returned on the previous night!
     

  • Cygnus

    Some more Math jokes, old chestnuts but hilarious:

    The pilot of a plane on its way out of Poland dies unexpectedly in flight. A passenger is asked to fill in. He looks at the controls and shakes his head. “What’s wrong?” someone asks. The reply: “I’m just a simple Pole in a complex plane.”
    More Poles

    A 747 was flying along and was full of Polish people. As they were going past some beautiful landmarks, the pilot came over the intercom and instructed all who were interested in seeing the landmark to look out the right side of the plane. Many passengers did so, and the plane promply crashed. Why?

    Too many poles in the right hand plane.

  • Frumious B.

    I was watching IQ with my SO, and at some point Einstein tells his neice, in reference to the young man, “He is not just an excellant auto mechanic..” at which I piped up, “.. he is also an excellant quantum mechanic!”

  • Navneeth

    To jer:
    What do you get when you cross a crocodile with a parrot?
    Crocodile parrot sin theta!

    Nope…that’s just the magnitude! It’s actually |Crocodile||Parrot|sinøn/n. 😛

  • Navneeth

    Here’s one more…

    The twin pair o’ ducks! 😀

  • http://ekorrhjulet.blogspot.com MJ

    Even more Poles:

    What is the integral around western Europe?

    Zero, because all the Poles are in the east.

    Har har….

  • http://realityconditions.blogspot.com Alejandro

    Actually, MJ, they are some Poles in Western Europe…

    … but they are removable!

    😛

  • Pete

    Not so much a joke as a way to make our lectures on QFT more bearable. Our, to remain nameless, lecturer has quite a thick accent and repeated often the phrase “come on guys, is equal to?” which became “come on guys Ezekiel II”. As he is quite an imposing man Pulp fiction came to mind, and we worried that he might smite us with furious anger should we not answer his questions. After such trauma we relaxed with his Marijuana spinors.

    The classic maths joke is of course the hilarious
    “Let epsilon be a large negative number”.

    Hopefully with all this venting of maths/physics jokes they are less likely to be heard in the pub, Cosmic Variance again doing the world a service.

    P.S. Have been reading about Fuzzy Funnels recently, but I think thats just too easy :)

  • Elliot

    Here is a story I wrote back as an undergraduate. (1970) My how the time flies. It contains a number of bad physics puns. I guess I missed Valentine’s day but hope some might find it enjoyable.

    Elliot

    ————————————————————————————–

    I, Lenny the Lepton, am serving a 99 nanosecond term in San Quantum prison. I was arrested and convicted of having a strong interaction with a K-meson before the age of consent. But my story is not what I am writing about now. What is more important is the story of my former cellmate Eddie the Electron I am writing in the hopes that his story may give you beings of the large world a little insight into our little world, and that you may realize that we, although many orders of magnitude smaller have emotions and feelings just as real as you. And so I present to you…

    THE ILL-FATED LOVE STORY OF EDDIE THE ELECTRON

    One day as Eddie was doing his usual job patrolling as a 2-p electron, a photon struck his atom. This was not an unusual occurrence, but it was Eddie’s turn to be promoted, so he jumped up to a d-orbital. As he was orbiting, he saw something that made his heart leap. There in a nearby anti-atom was the most beautiful positron he had ever seen. The next orbit around he waved to her and she waved back. Oh this was too much for him! The photon was soon emitted and he dropped back to his usual spot in the p-orbital. But he was a different particle. In those few fleeting picoseconds that he saw her, he felt something strange and wonderful. Eddie was in love.

    From that day on he could nothing right. He just dreamed of the day that he would have the bond energy to break away and be with his beloved positron. He applied for valence liberty but got turned down. His behavior was so erratic that he was summoned to appear before the bored of electrons to be reproached for his behavior.

    “Eddie” said the head electron. “You’ve always been a good stable particle, but lately we have reports that you’ve been acting rather irregular. Do you have any explanation for your actions?”

    “Well sir the job is just so Bohring.” He hesitated for an nanosecond and then said. “If you must know the truth, I am in love with Patsy the positron from that anti-lithium atom. I know this is a serious violation and you can do anything to me. Annihilate me, make me an s-electron, even cut off my Schroedinger. I don’t care. I’ll still love her.”

    “But she’s from the wrong side of the particle tracks.”

    “I don’t care. There is some strange attraction between us.”

    “O. K. we will consider your case now. We will call you when we reach a verdict.”

    Eddie felt dejected. He became very depressed and began writing poetry.

    6800 A. is red
    4000 A. is blue
    The strongest force there is
    Exists from me to you

    The more Eddie wrote the more depressed he got. He started drinking. Then one day, down at the local h-bar, an Omega minus made a crack about him being so stupid as to fall in love with a particle that would annihilate him if they came in contact. Eddie got riled and made a very foolish mistake. He said “I am going to hit you right in the head with a momentum of 1.8024739493113 gram-meters/second. If he hadn’t been so exact, he would have avoided a lot of trouble. By doing so he specified his position and momentum more accurately than is allowed by law.

    Eddie was arrested for violating the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle — a serious offense. As he was brought into court the crowds were screaming “Make him walk the Planck.” He was sentenced to 20 nanoseconds in San Quantum, where I met him. It was in the prison library that he read about a new theory — that by concentration, electrons can develop enough energy to break the bonds that hold them to the nucleus. He suddenly tried to get himself excited enough to escape. When he was ready to go there was a tear in my eye as I heard his last words…

    “Remember Lenny, love is as fundamental as a quark”. Then he disappeared.

    That concludes the story of Eddie and his love affair. He did find his beloved Patsy and they came together and annihilated each other in a blazing white photon. And if you ever see a certain gleam in your special someone’s eye, chances are it is the photon that Eddie and Patsy created in their final act of love.

  • http://www.jumplive.com chimpanzee

    Q: How many physicists does it take to give credibility to UFOs?
    A: Watch UFO Files on History Channel today
    [ the relevant episode is Alien Engineering #2, see below for TV listings & time ]

    http://www.historychannel.com/global/listings/upcomingepisodes.jsp?ACatId=12040449&CaseId=12040447&EGrpId=10963893

    A bunch of physicists appeared:

    – Lawrence Krause “Physics of Star Trek”
    – FermiLab physicist
    – MIT aeronautics prof

    They talked about anti-matter, some physics history (showed some B&W pics of famous physicists & their discoveries). They mentioned Segre. I thought it was informative, & I learned some physics history.

    The “bad joke” is about how Media has to disguise Science as part of Sensational Topics (“Pop Culture”)..in this case UFOs.

    Appearance VS Substance, Form VS Function, Perception Vs Reality

    I can’t believe scientists (Substance/Function/Reality) were “packaged” as part of a pseudo-science UFO program (Appearance/Form/Perception). It’s pandering to the ignorance of the public. It’s similar to how women-scientists are “perceived” by their Form/Appearance (“looks”), rather than their Substance/Function (“work”).

    Classic case of Perception confusing Reality (Form confusing Function, Appearance confusing Substance):

    “Most planetary-scientists consider the Face On Mars debacle a ludicrous joke”
    — Sky&Telescope

    People see “Jesus in tree-bark”, “elephants in clouds”, “face on Mars”..all visual-patterns that get “twisted” by the subjective minds-eye, & jump to wacky conclusions.

    “Science is based on HARD EVIDENCE. Yeah, that’s pretty much a rock”
    — Dr Ed Krupp, Griffitch Observatory

    [ after high-res photos were turned on “Face-on-Mars” region, specifically to debunk the conspiracy theorists. The original low-res photos of “Face on Mars” were caused by the small-aperture camera: the (mathematical) convolution of the incoming light-wave with the PSF (point-spread function)..a blurring/softening effect! A rocky-area all of a sudden “looks” like a “face”. You try to explain this basic physics of aperture-limited resolution, & the public won’t understand it. “Oh, it’s a NASA/govt coverup” ]

    “I was actually accused of MALFEASANCE!?”
    — JPL imaging leader, “Face on Mars” image

    Summary:
    Bad Physics Joke
    (“Why People Believe Strange Things”, Michael Shermer/Skeptics Society)

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

    When it became clear Hubble was short sighted there was cartoon in scientific American or some other leading popular journal. It showed deformed pictures of Jupiter, Saturn, etc. and the last picture was of the angry taxpayers :)

  • http://www.whis.net/ Dr. Bonzo

    In my undergraduate advanced QM class, in the context of introducing us to bracket notation, we learned that something was “a smooth operator in bra space.” Given that Sade’s single “Smooth Operator” was on the charts at the time, and that most of the overwhelmingly male students were, well, less smooth (not to say less familiar) with brassieres than they might wish, it seemed to us to be quite a good joke.

    A year later, the same instructor (Hi, Dr. T!) was tormented by a member of our class who would make snarky comments from the back of the room, just loud enough for the students, but not the instructor, to hear. His (the tormentor’s) masterpiece came in the middle of T’s excited attempt to interest us in the four-vector formulation of Maxwell’s Equations. Quoth the tormentor, in his best Alec Guinness voice: “Use the Four-Vector, Luke!”

  • Pingback: Entertaining Research » Blog Archive » Commuting to work!()

  • kill kitty

    i have a good joke

    which was the first cat to fall of the roof?
    the first one to say mu

  • kill kitty

    please tell me what you think of the joke

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