Memorable Quotes from Professors

Here's a collection of quotations my friends and I picked up from our professors. Most of them were spoken, but I have started adding in written quotes as well. We found them to be quite amusing, but some of them are taken out of context, so they may not make much sense. Of course, that will make them even more interesting. :) I've decided to keep the quotes anonymous, even though I know who said them and some of you Villanova and Maryland students may recognize them. Since I went to those schools, most of the quotes are coming from professors at these places, although if I get some good ones from other institutions, I'll probably add them in here as well. Some professors may not particularly like their quotes being included, so if I don't attribute the quotes to anyone, they might not complain about it. ;)

Most of these quotes are from science professors (like physics, astronomy, computer science, chemistry, etc.) and so science related, but not all of them are from science profs or science related either, so you'll see a variety of topics covered in these quotes. I've added a couple of brief explanations to ones that I felt required ones to be able to have some clue to what's going on and in some cases just to help put the quote in the proper context. And naturally, my recollection of these quotes may be imperfect in some cases, so there may be some paraphrasing as well as verbatim quotations. New quotes are added whenever I hear a good one, so check back once in a while. I'm out of school now though, so don't expect very many updates anymore. I still hope you find the list entertaining. Some links to other similar lists can be found below.

Last Update on August 29, 2013
Total Quote Count: 409

Equals signs do not go above the fraction line, nor below the fraction line. They go exactly right smack in the middle.

Memorization is good for the soul.

Learning is painful. So what else is new in the world? You have to learn this damn stuff sometime.

Go to any hardware store, and ask them for a piece of wood negative two feet long.

Did you ever read Hercule Poiroit? He talks about using the "little grey cells." Use them. They come in handy for this course.

Questions? Comments? Griefs? Concerns? Complaints? Kudos? Pats-on-the-Back?

I want to see a show of hands. I want you to raise your hands not to tell me the answer, or because you know the answer, but because you have a gut feeling that you *think* you have the answer.

Think about it for ten minutes, and it's just, I-hat.

Notice on this clam diagram that the intake and excretion tube labeling are reversed? This is a literal way of saying, Eat s--- and die!

Your .plan file is way the hell too long.

When you have a monkey sealed up in a wooden crate, and the only hole in the crate is a pinhole, will you see the monkey? No. But the eye of the monkey will be staring at YOU! [An analogy for something in quantum mechanics, I think.]

Lab begins at 8:30, not 8:31, not 8:34 AND NOT 8:33!!!!!!

There once was a farmer, who sold his mule to another farmer. The mule didn't want to move, so, the farmer called the other farmer up. The other farmer came over, got a 2x4 out, and WHAM! whacked the mule over the head with the 2x4. Then the mule started to go to work. 'In order for the mule to work,' the farmer said, 'you must get its attention first.'

You are not here to learn chemistry. You are here to learn how to study.

I'm going to explain this to you in such a way so as you may understand.

Do you follow that? You follow that? You follow that?

I would point to a periodic table, but we don't have a periodic table. We just have Jesus. [V.U. is a Catholic university, and so most classrooms have a crucifix in them.]

One way to find the area under a curve is to get a sheet of paper of the same type that your test (or whatever) was printed on, a scale, and a pair of scissors. Cut out the curve for which you need the area and a square of known area from the blank piece of paper. Weigh the square, then weigh the curve. Set up a proportion to solve for the area under the curve. [I heard this was taught in a lab once.]

Equations are living things.

In true Goldylocks-ian fashion . . .

You let me lead you down the primrose path again. [Said after we would watch the prof derive something that had some kind of mistake in it, but not pick up on the mistake.]

Hi. I'm a professional astronomer. But that doesn't get me a beer at a hog rally. That's why I carry this. *holds up Harley Davidson (owners?) card* [Said in credit card commercial style.]

It's a good thing I don't have to do this anymore. I don't think I could. [response to reading over my PhD qualifier exam]

Electrons are just purple hazes with green racing stripes.

A sandwich is just a sandwich, but a Bromwich is an inverse Laplace transform.

Critters are, as critters transform.

Let's write down who shot Sam.

What's a minus sign between friends?

The author didn't want to blow your little minds with this, so he didn't put it in. But you don't have little minds, you're my students, so I'm going to cover it.

You're not idiots! You may be slow, but you're not idiots.

That just goes to show that you guys are good. I can make mistakes, but you're not allowed to.

A thing of beauty and a joy forever.

This should be enough work to keep you off the streets and out of the pool halls.

If you want to really get rid of an enemy, all you have to do is renormalize his wave function to zero over all space and time. Then, not only does he not exist now, but he never *did* exist!

What is murder but retroactive abortion?

Meddle not with dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

I mean well, but so did Hitler.

This works every time, provided you're lucky.

That being the case, we're all set to conquer the universe.

Physicists like to pretend they're mathematicians when they're not doing anything else.

The goal of physicists is to find a use for every branch of mathematics. The goal of mathematicians is to invent a new field of mathematics that has absolutely no practical use.

What the engineers think is useful, is good. What the mathematicians think is useful, is for the engineers.

If you were an engineer and just looked at equations, man, you'd be dead. You wouldn't last 2 seconds.

You can do this integral [x^3/(e^x - 1)] with a contour integral and you get pi^4 / 15. The author says you have to do it numerically. He must be out of his ever-loving mind if he thinks you're going to get pi^4 / 15 by numerical integration. Suuuuurrrre you will! Good luck, buddy!

Numerical integration be damned! [Actually related to the above, but it's good enough to stand on its own.]

Thermodynamics is an experimental science. Statistical mechanics isn't. I can have a griffon flying around the room if I want. [Obviously said in a stat.mech. class.]

Here he's trying to take the derivative of a function with respect to a vector. You can't do that. The French may be good, but they're not *that* good.

The units cancel out no matter what. I mean, if the top is measured in kumquats and the bottom is measured in kumquats, then kumquats cancel kumquats.

Astronomers are just physicists who look up more often than down.

How are we going to do this? Easy, we cheat.

The people in Bosnia have it easy compared to us.

The people in Bosnia and Croatia would kill to get the food we're eating.

If you want a linear fit, just get two data points.

Errrrrrr.... [It's only funny if you were there, but I had to put it in.]

If you put an integral sign in front of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, then you can really have some fun! [In reference to the changing of Tuesday to a Friday schedule the last week before finals.]

I don't mean to brag, but I am a very good mathematician.

Astronomy is a dyslexic's nightmare.

I call this the astronomer's fit. [Said while showing graphs that fit straight lines to data that could statistically be fit by any number of curves.]

You should eat Bate, Mueller, and White for breakfast. [They were the authors of the textbook for one of the courses.]

Yes? Everyone? Yes? Yes? Yes? I need to see some nodding. Yes? Yes?

I know people at work who can't do a simple Newton's Law F=ma problem, but boy can they write specs!

I'm going to do this with another quick and dirty geometric solution.

Let's vote. Who says yes? Who says no? One yes and one no, and there's 7 people in the class. Now you all have to vote. Everyone has to make a decision. So let's try it again.

This is strictly between us, not to leave this room.

I don't pull any punches when it comes to teaching.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "What does a 3 year old little boy (or girl) know about sex?" Consciously, nothing. But the id knows. The id knows everything.

You just play this simple little thumb game and you'll get your orbitals. OK?

Is that riiiight . . . ?

What, do you have some sort of mental block? It is trivial!

When you take a mixed melting point, mix the two solids by grinding and scraping them with your spatula, and you keep grinding and scraping them with your spatula, and you form little lines, and you've seen them do this on Miami Vice many a time.

Of course I'm not in Mendel. I try to avoid Mendel as much as humanly possible. [In case you couldn't guess, Mendel is Villanova's science building.]

Well, you're an analytical chemist, you're going to be a little anal anyway.

You should quit pacing around, nervous analytical chemist types!

The only way you'll get extra points is if you draw that picture of Pancho the donkey that you find in TV Guide to apply to art school.

You know, that signature will be famous someday when you become a serial killer.

No crack, no jack.

OK, I know you guys were praying for snow, but it didn't come. I guess you'll have to switch to devil worship.

I just realized that we just hired two professors with the initials C.A.B. We just hired two cabs!

Glacial Acetic Acid? Oh, that's just strong vinegar.

Why does this occur? Well, obviously, I'm going to tell you.

Come on. Be brave. Stick up your hand.

Prof's Son: Will this affect my future college grade?
Prof: It might. You never know. You could be studying to be a molecular biologist and need this stuff. [The prof brought his son to lecture and paused for questions. The kid took advantage of the opportunity.]

Ring protons . . . let's go through this stuff as fast as we can.

You can read this as well as I. I'm getting tired of it.

You work with the grad students 2 days and BOING! The sample's too clean.

Fifteen minutes to do 2D. Yeah!

I can't twiddle my trebbling bass.

The water works? Does this mean we can go pee?

SCSI DMA, SCSI DMA, where's that f---in' SCSI DMA?

Have yourself a merry little Christmas! Yankee Yankee quack quack duck!

Are you duunnnnn?

Safety goggles on. If you do not have safety goggle on, I give you check minus / violation.

Student: Why don't we have some stools in this lab to sit on?
Prof: You know what you need to do?
Student: What?
Prof: You need to do some leg exercises to strengthen the leg muscles.
Student: I need a stool.
Prof: Look at me! I'm three times your age, literally, and you don't see me sitting on a stool for three hours!
Student: See ya Thursday.
Prof: Goodbye, and bring your tired legs with you next time.

OK, you made a mistake. That's part of the learning curve, the learning process. However, if you go out in industry and make the same mistake, that will be no excuse.

Prof: You've got a cushy job with a lot of money. All students have their price.
Alumnus: Well, we all know you do.
Prof: I'm expensive.

Questions? Comments? Rude remarks?

The worst thing you can do in a class is to look bored. No it isn't, the *worst* thing you can do is to start reading the newspaper.

It's about time for our 7th inning stretch, so I'll tell you a story now.

Let's say you're in an airplane travelling to California or something and the person sitting next to you asks you what you do for a living. If you don't want to talk to him, say you're a physicist. However, if you do feel like talking to him, say you're an astronomer. Then he'll ask you something like, "How do we *know* that the stars are really hot?" Then you can do this derivation we just did after which he will be convinced that you're really a physicist.

Convection is an embarrassment to stellar astronomers.

So suppose we have an element of gas, as Lord Kelvin or Schwarzschild would call it, or a blob, which is probably the graduate term. . . .

Once you have all this, calculating these tables is about as exciting as watching paint dry or the grass grow. Believe me, I know, I've done it.

If you ever come across one of these in real life, and astronomy *is* real life . . .

I'm telling you how to build an airplane and you're asking me how to fly it, so let's hold off on that question for now. [Making an analogy between the current topic of lecture and a student's question.]

We're not asking how to build a Concord here. What we're asking is more like "Can airplanes fly?" [Another analogy.]

Now look guys, you're younger than I am. Your ability to integrate should be relatively unharmed by the passage of time.

Now we're going to apply this equation, whatever it is. [Said after three attempts to derive an equation and not knowing which if any was correct.]

I'm asking you to do problems that even *I* don't know the answers for because I haven't looked at them yet. Don't sit there dismally shaking your heads.

There's this sort of parlor game, where you ask *me* a question, then I ask *you* a question, and we go back and forth. I don't mean to discourage questions, though.

So there I am, writing this stupid program for the IBM 790 and at first, it wouldn't work. Every day I'd run it and it wouldn't come back with anything. Being somewhere around your age and, if I may say so, a little childish perhaps in choosing variable names, I named some of my variables after American states and one was called "CALIF" and IBM in their stupidity decided that all variables ending in "F" had to be functions, even if they appeared in dimension statements. That's why the program wouldn't work.

Is everyone following this? Is everone on the same page? The same sheet of music? The same page in the playbook?

Well, your question is, and I don't mean to discourage questions, in some sense irrelevant.

Yes, I know, and my head is inadequate. [Referring to the prof's inability to remember something.]

Let's say that you're in Denmark. Which, by the way, I highly recommend. Especially if someone else is paying for it; that adds zest to any holiday. And let's say you've heard a rumor about all Danes being able to speak English. Don't believe it. If you ask one of them if they can speak English they will vigorously deny it. It's like they expect you to pull out a book of Shakespeare's Sonnets and ask them for a literary criticism or something. And that you expect them to speak perfect English. That's my feeling anyway. [slight pause] How did I get onto this topic anyway?

Let me fudge this [equation] a little bit . . . there. This is fradulent, but never mind that, it's plausible enough for our purposes.

Stars are environmental purists. [They recycle elements in reactions.]

This is the Balmer jump. One of my former students used to think that it was a dance for astronomers.

Speaking English, "If I don't have your e-mail, why don't you send it to me?" In American, that would be, "Send me your e-mail."

And we all like units that are about equal to one. Unless of course it's salaries or something like that.

The summation theoretically goes to infinity, but in practice infinity is five.

If you ever have to write up a paper about the Hyades, don't quote me on this. I don't want to see my name, "private communication."

There's more to life than exams. Life is theses, life is research.

I'm not sure if this has any astrophysical significance whatsoever.

And there's this funny looking horizontal branch that isn't horizontal at all.

Well, this professor had a stuttering problem so he really couldn't speak very well. And he taught a course in optics. So, one day he gave his lecture and the students couldn't understand a word he was saying. He thought about it and then the next class he gave the exact same lecture and the students didn't realize it. I've always thought that this was extremely funny, but I once talked to his thesis advisor and he didn't think it was funny at all. He thought they were terrible students. I'm not sure what relevance this has to what we were just doing.

A student of mine and I found out that Vega was metal poor and we thought we had made a mistake. Then this student went to the CIA. We wrote another paper together. And on it the CIA had put "this does not reflect the official standpoint of the CIA."

One time someone told me there was an attractive woman looking for me and I wondered what was going on. She eventually found me and she worked for the CIA. She knew I made a lot of trips to Chile and places like that and so asked me if I saw anything that I thought they should know about to let her know. And she gave me her business card and everything. If they're relying on people like that, then I think they're in serious trouble.

A colleague of mine sent me some isochrones, but he wasn't very happy with them so he made me promise not to give them to anyone else. They'd make a good exercise though, we could plot them up and see how they look. So how about if I send each of you one of the sets of isochrones, then you can plot them up and we can take a look at them next class or something. However, you have to promise not to give them to anyone else now, too, OK? [Among those of us in the class these became known as "the forbidden isochrones". :)]

These stories I'm telling you are all true. I'm not making them up.

Ah, the innocence of youth.

I haven't done these problems before. Of course, there is some danger in me asking you to do problems that I haven't done. But, I mean, someone's figured this stuff out before, why can't you do it, too?

Since you've asked me a question that I'm not quite prepared to answer, I'm not going to guarantee my answer.

I didn't get to look at my notes as early as I would have liked to and I blame you [a student in the class] for sending out your exam on a Thursday instead of on Friday. But rest assured, I took the exam and scored on the "genius" level. [It was a fun, trivia type exam sent out to the grad students and faculty.]

I could start from the general case right away, but you may say "you can't do algebra, you proved that last week, so why should we believe you?" So we'll start with a simpler case instead.

Both probably require some ingenuity as well. [Referring to astronomy and doing taxes.]

If you were stranded on a desert island and a ship came along to rescue you, but you had to answer this question before they would, would you be rescued or would you be left stranded on the island?

These numbers you get from nuclear physics. However, they do the reactions at much higher energies than actually occur in stars. They do this because they want to get results.

No results, no money. It's an inexorable law in astronomy. Publish or perish, right? [Actually said right after the previous quote, but it can stand on its own.]

After saying "carbon-12" which is standard nomenclature, I am sometimes incapable of writing "12 carbon".

Using this program you can calculate a model for the Sun. You do that and it works great until you get past the turn off point. Once you start moving up the giant branch, it started plotting the points infinitesimally close together and moving extremely slowly. Probably slower than the actual Sun does.

Why don't you work on this problem then, and if you have trouble we can go over it together in class. And let's say that if you're going to have trouble, you're going to have it by next Wednesday. [Interesting way of defining a due date, don't you think?]

And since Bok is dead, I can tell you this other story.

He got his students into bad habits. He used to ply them with whiskey and cigars.

Student: It's amazing what you can learn from rubber balls.
Prof: When I come back, I want further explanation of that remark.
[The prof entered the class in the middle of a conversation on toy models of supernovae explosions, only heard the last line of the conversation, and made his comment before going back to his office for something.]

They were making silver-109. Silver has Z=47 and A=107 or 109. Wait, they were making silver-122. The guys at CERN were adding neutrons to the silver and, no, sorry, they were making silver-129. This is not an area that I am intimately familiar with.

I'm not entirely happy with what I'm telling you right now. I should have said last class that if I couldn't work this out sufficiently well that I wouldn't do it this time. However, I didn't say that, so we'll just have to work through this.

[Undergrad student walks by the class looking for his astronomy prof, sees his TA in the class and asks a question. The TA tells him we're in class and the student says he didn't realize we were in class before leaving.]
Student: Didn't realize we were in class? Four students and a professor lecturing and he didn't realize we were in class?
Prof: Well, his need was great.

Before the qualifying exam make sure you know the Eddington limit, the thing about if the Sun is out of pressure balance, evolution of high and low mass stars and how we have to match them to clusters. In fact, much of what I've told you. And do the same for the final for this course.

If you lived in ancient times there was very few things to do at night and astronomy was probably the second choice for most people.

Astronomers aren't stupid -- we always have to have a telescope in Hawaii, right?

And the traditional mnemonic for remembering this [stellar spectral classifications] is "Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me." Attempts to come up with a less sexist mnemonic have generally failed, but your professor has suceeded where others have failed. So, I give you the alternative of remembering "Oh, Be A Fine Guy, Kiss Me." Almost all of the girls and about 10% of the guys will prefer to remember the second one.

I discovered this, along with two other people, when I was a post-doc in my twenties, which was about 3 years ago. [Only *three* years ago?]

Remember the demonstration we had with the malicious fire extinguisher that attacked me the moment I touched it?

Good answer. It's the wrong answer, but it's a good answer.

This cross has no religious significance, I assure you. It's just there to mark the center of the galaxy.

We don't know what dark matter actually is. It could be anything -- rocks, burned out stars, socks that you lost in the dryer, old astronomy text books that people have thrown out and lost. We haven't counted out the possibility that dark matter is actually old astronomy text books.

We were just wondering why the university needs 14 digits for the code on the evaluation forms. It's like the "credit card syndrome." If you look at the number on a credit card, you'll see that there are more numbers than there are people on the planet. We were wondering if there are enough numbers to give every person one and all the sheep as well.

I think an important characteristic of a grad student is that he doesn't want to be a grad student for very long.

Audience Prof comments about mudslinging going along with differing theories explaining some phenomenon.
Speaking Prof: The mud hasn't stuck.
Audience Prof: That's because the ones slinging the mud are relatively insignificant and the ones receiving the mud are generally well-known.

Rings are like roaches. [Referring to self-sustaining ring systems around planets -- even if you removed the ring, it would eventually come back (like roaches keep coming back after you think they're all gone).]

We have these two equations now. Which one are we going to start with? The one with the zero in it. You always start with the one with the zero in it.

I was told earlier today that I was awarded tenure, so there's nothing they can do to me. I can stand on the desk and teach from up here if I want to and they can't do anything about it.

In big classes I have put the grades up on the web, but in a class this small, I'd rather not do that. You don't really want to know that you're fifth in the class but better than two of the grad students and you know who they are. Think of the embarrassment for the poor graduate students! [From a combined undergrad/grad class (you don't need details).]

These equations are your friends. Use them, know them, love them.

One of the best ways to get the ass of a comet is by seeing chunks of ejecta decelerate as they leave the impact crater. [Reading off an assignment sheet, and yes, it's a typo]

That's OK, I'll make sure it comes out of your grade. [Said to a student who was auditing the class]

Prof: So what happens when the spacecraft reaches Mars?
Student: It crashes.
Prof: Well, let's say *you're* guiding the spacecraft and not NASA.

This is a hard topic to teach and the guy who taught it to me didn't do a much better job than I am right now.

If I was teaching a class in orbital dynamics, and some of my students just happened to be in the audience, I might tell them that this would be a good question for the final exam. [The students *were* at the colloquium given by this prof because it was counting as their makeup lecture.]

Prof: Should we tell the missing student that this problem was dropped from the homework?
Class: No.
Prof: OK, I won't say anything if you don't.

You vegetarians have to watch out too, for mad tofu disease.

Audience Prof to Speaking Prof: About that SHEEP survey, I think that's a really baaaaaaaad acronym.

I think Alaska should annex Hawaii and then it could be the farthest north, farthest west, farthest east, *and* farthest south state of the United States.

I think I can speak for the government and say that we'll give you Oklahoma.

Sometimes you believe what I say and sometimes you believe what I write, but they're usually different.

I'm only wearing long pants because I have to dress up to convince you that I'm a teacher and not a student.

Interferometry is hard to do without all the antennas. You do it either with slave labor or money.

Trash like this comes out from not thinking about what you're doing. [Referring to published papers that are clearly wrong to anyone who knows what's going on, but obviously the referees of the papers didn't.]

At a colloquium:
Prof 1, in audience to speaker: Could you explain how that [X-ray telecope] works?
Lecturing prof proceeds to do so.
Prof 2, in audience to students nearby: I think any one of you could get up there and explain that.
Student: Well, I guess he [first prof] just forgot how it works.
Prof 2: I don't think they teach this stuff where he went.

That's the first rule of academic meetings -- always control the exits.

Prof: I wonder what this is used for. [Holds up a sort of broom made of steel wool]
Student: That looks like steel wool.
Prof: Yes, I'm going to go clean the faculty.

I'm going up to the roof to play.

It's like a 200 pound gorilla, it sits where ever it wants to.

How do they pick these things, "world's sexiest astronomer". [A People magazine special edition.]

Prof: You need two people for a reimbursement. I can't approve my own reimbursement. Well, I could, but it would be wrong.
Student: Like that would stop you?
Prof: Of *course* it would.

He doesn't like the shirts with the small designs. He says it makes you look like a Teletubby.

You know, I don't want to encourage them to ways of wickedness, but this is a lot easier than dealing with 150 astronomers.

Student: All I can remember about the qualifier was having a terrible migraine. I don't know how I got through the exam.
Prof: Trust me, it's better that way.

Taking the qualifier is like driving I-95, you just want it to be over.

I'm going back to my office to drink.

Student: You really like those sticky-notes, huh?
Prof: They're the only thing in the administration that works.

Don't write that down in your notes.

And writing it out in all its glory . . .

That's probably a safe answer at any point in this class -- it has something to do with Maxwell's equations. For that, you get zero points.

That factor of 1/c that we had before is gone now that we're back to God-fearing CGS units. [We had been using modified Gaussian units which introduced factors of 1/c into many of the equations we were using.]

So, if we change this exponential, does the result we had before change? Of course it does. Why else would we be doing this?

I keep switching "u" and "v" here. I hope you realize that "u" and "v" are degenerate. [Both meant velocity.]

I just told you this story to show you that not all astronomers are quiet, reserved people. Actually, none of us are.

And they came up with this clever way of solving the problem of retrograde motions. It was wrong, but clever nonetheless.

This room is full of infrared radiation and it's all your fault!

We can send a man to the Moon, but we can't build a lousy Doppler ball.

The Earth is differentiated, so all of the lighter material floated up to the top to make the crust of the Earth. So in a sense, the continents and stuff are made up of the scum of the Earth. The USA is scum.

There's a warning on this demo that says not to heat it for more than 10 seconds. Has anyone been counting?

Prof: So, if you're cold at night, what ways are there to warm yourself up?
Student: Friction.
Prof: I'm not even going to touch that one.
[The prof was talking about how the Sun generates heat and trying to get the students to come up with different ways to generate heat; he was trying to get them to come up with a fire or burning, which they did, but not until after the friction suggestion. :)]

Most of the stars in the HR diagram lie along the main sequence. Then there are others that lie either above or below the main sequence. Those are freaks.

The star is blowing out more material in one direction than the other. We have no idea why this is happening. If you have any ideas, let me know. [Said to students in a 100 level course.]

Massive stars are the playboys of astronomy. They do everything fast.

OK, I lied. Galaxies in our Local Cluster can be moving towards us and be blueshifted. However, everything else in the universe is moving away from us and is redshifted. Trust me.

Blame it on black holes. Whenever there's something wierd and energetic going on in astronomy, we blame it on black holes.

The universe is open. What's that mean? The universe is open for business today, 9-5 and weekends.

If the universe has a density less than the critical value, is it open, closed, or flat? [Varied responses from the students and some giggling.] What? I didn't hear that, but it must have been funny.

The universe was formed in the Big Bang. How was it formed? I don't know. Why was it formed? Don't ask me. That's beyond the realm of science.

You could just blow it off. What was interesting about this course? Nothing was interesting about it.

Ewwwww! This movie was supposed to be PG. Ewwwww! [Showing a clip from Star Wars where people's arms get cut off.]

I doubt that the government has aliens hidden away somewhere and they're keeping it secret. The government can't keep secrets forever. Eventually some reporter finds out or someone leaks information. Look at Watergate. And Bill Clinton can't have any secrets now.

We're not dealing with shocks in honey, so stresses aren't important.

Happy? Happy? Everyone happy?

Radiative transfer is good for you.

This you should be able to reproduce, even if awakened from a deep sleep.

Of course, we have conservation of grades, too. Those who did well on the first exam didn't do quite as well on this one and those who did poorly on the first one tended to do much better. I don't know why, but this seems to be the case.

This is something you couldn't get away with in stellar atmospheres. But in the ISM we can make nice uniform clouds. [pause] What a lie. But you have to progress from somewhere.

You guys look saturated. [To students after a double class session.]

Prof 1: The students like it when I do "the spin".
Prof 2/Student?: What's "the spin"?
Prof 1: Well, when you're working with two projectors and going back and forth between them. Sometimes you get mixed up and head to one but change your mind and go to the other one. When you turn from one to the other and go the long way around, that's "the spin". It doesn't happen a whole lot, but it seems to amuse the students when they do get to see it.

Prof 1: Why did you refer these to dark matter and not some other theory?
Prof 2: Well, if he wants to graduate . . .

Pluto's a wierdo.

You should always keep track of your units. I remember one graduate class I had where half of the class was keeping track of units, the other half wasn't, and we had this incomprehensible professor. Those of us who were keeping track of units could tell that he kept losing things. Those who weren't all thought we were brilliant and had some great understanding of everything. We weren't brilliant, we were just keeping track of units.

The Earth's volume is 1.1*10^27 cm^3. For comparison, a sugar cube is about 1 cm^3. So if you wanted to make the Earth from sugar cubes, you'd need about 1.1*10^27 of them. This is one of those fun little facts you can try to use to impress people at parties, but it probably won't work.

You've probably seen telescopes in pirate movies and stuff. That's where telescopes got their name from. In order to see another pirate ship out on the sea, you needed to put the lenses far apart and use really long tubes. Well, those aren't practical to carry around, so they were made to "telescope" down to a small size. And the name stuck, despite the fact that very few telescopes look like telescopes and very few telescope.

A good model for how the solar system formed is the pizza dough model. You start with a ball of dough and then spin it as you toss it in the air. Then the dough starts to flatten out into a disk and eventually you have a nice thin disk. So I highly recommend that you all go out and watch pizza being made the old fashioned way. It will be a good addition to your educational experience.

The human brain tends to be really good at finding patterns in things. This is really good if you're trying to spot a leopard in the tree that's about to eat you, but not so good if you're trying to find details on the surface of planets.

Mars has these really huge volcanoes. What do we associate those with on the Earth? [pause] Frogs?

If you want to be a jerk, you can go to the gas station and ask them to check the hydrostatic equilibrium of your tires. They'll have no idea of what you're talking about and they won't think nice things of you, but you would be technically correct.

Here's a picture of an astronomer looking through a telescope. Very few astronomers actually do that anymore, but it's still a nice picture.

This is a plot of luminosity and temperature. We do this because we found out that these quantities are related. A plot where the points are scattered all over the place wouldn't be of much use. A plot of luminosity versus time I observed or temperature versus what I ate for breakfast wouldn't be a very useful plot.

The first people to look at the stars and classify them into with the magnitude system didn't know about watts and power and light meters and things like that. And even if they did have a light meter I doubt it would have been much use to them because they wouldn't have the electricity to run it.

There's this "oooooo" phrase that we use in astronomy a lot that we are all made of star stuff because all the heavy elements were once inside stars. So you can try telling your friends this tonight, that we are all star stuff, and see if they go "oooooo", but they probably won't since no one in here did.

We're moving around the center of the galaxy at about half a million miles per hour. This amounts to about 12 million miles per day, so if at the end of the day you don't feel like you did much, you can rest easy knowing you've travelled about 12 million miles around the galaxy. You could also try this if a cop ever pulls you over for speeding. What's a few miles per hour when we're already going at half a million miles per hour? Of course, this will probably get you about the same response as going to a gas station and asking them to check the hydrostatic equilibrium of your tires. Not a good idea.

There's a sort of local cosmological principle which says that if I see you you're probably real.

Now I'm going to swing this little foam ball around my head and then I'm going to let it go and if it goes off into the audience, I apologize. That's the reason it's foam -- the first semester I did this I used a metal ball with big spikes.

I heard this story that back when people were first doing spectroscopy of the Sun a neighbor's house happened to catch fire. So they turned their spectroscopes to the burning house and were thrilled because they saw a lot of the same things in the spectrum of the burning house as they did from the Sun. Observations like this helped show that the Sun was made up of the same sort of stuff we have here on Earth.

Venus was named after the goddess of love, but it's a horrible place. I guess it's the tough love planet.

We were making fun of the asteroids before, but from the Sun's viewpoint, we might as well make fun of the planets, too.

These are empirical laws. Kepler said, "I don't need to understand this, I just need to know an equation so I can pass the test."

P^2 = a^3 with P in years and a in AU. What do you get for the Earth? Well, the Earth's period is 1 year, so P^2 = 1 and the Earth is 1 AU from the Sun, so a^3 = 1. And 1=1 so it works for the Earth, hot-diggity-dog.

This is Hubble's law, v=Hd. Burn this into your brain, I can guarantee that this will be on the test. If he [regular prof, quote from a sub] doesn't put this on the final, we'll fire him.

If all the galaxies are moving away from us, are we in a special place in the universe? I know we're special, but do we stink or something?

It's easy to remember the sign of Hubble's law -- Eureka! You don't smell so good yourself.

Hubble's law only works on very large scales, for galaxies far away from us. You couldn't use Hubble's law to measure the distance to your car and then come back three days later and find out it moved unless someone stole it.

The quest to find H_0 gives astronomers employment. They can fight over the exact number kind of like you do for your favorite sports team.

If the Sun was brightest in the infrared or ultraviolet instead of the visible, then our eyes would have developed differently. We might have huge eyes that covered our whole head which would be bad because then we'd keep bumping into things and getting sticks in our eyes and stuff.

Basically you can't do any problems in cosmology unless they're easier than they look.

Prof. picks up a bottle of whiteboard cleaner and reads from a post-it note attached to it: "Do not spray on students." OK, I guess that's just in case you didn't know that already.

Student: Where did you get that plot from?
Prof: My paper.

As you can see, this fits pretty well with what was predicted except for that one wacko that's always there. You should never trust an astronomer if they don't have any wacko data points.

Yeah, basically once you get that far out the results are b---s---.

Speaking Prof: I didn't expect our [astronomy] colloquium to be cancelled. I figured I'd just sneak out and speak to a bunch of people [physicsts] who didn't know any better [about the topic].
Audience Prof: You can just ignore us then.
Speaking Prof: Well, I was probably going to anyway. That's kind of standard for an astronomy colloquium.

Eventually you'll reach a point where you're ready to kill me and get out of here.

I remember reading things like that in grad school and learning a lot from them. Later I found out that you can't trust 90% of what's in there, so I don't know what to tell you.

We'll fall off that bridge when we come to it.

Student: He published a paper about six months ago predicting this effect.
Prof: And I have a paper coming out soon that says, "I told you so".

This is what everyone thought back then and it was total b---s---. Famous people, too. Total b---s---.

You could try rewriting the code from scratch. That is a tough job though and it makes you appreciate the s---ty programs we do have.

Prof 1: Congratulations, you've just been named faculty of the year.
Prof 2: I'm out of here.
[a few more lines]
Prof 2: I've been named faculty member who just happens to be standing in the hall.

This is an unfair question coming from me, but.

Student: I guess we can fill in this form now.
Prof: Well, I don't see anyone objecting, so let's sign it.

Audience Prof: You sort of brushed over these points in your talk.
Speaking Prof: Well, I want to eat. [We were having pizza lunch right after the talk was finished.]

Student: So if you were stuck on a deserted island, which theory of gravity would you take with you?
Prof: Well, I'd be living on Earth, so it wouldn't matter. Nice try, though.

Prof 1: I had an undergrad student working on this, but he graduated and left.
Prof 2: That's why you'll never graduate.

This may be an error that they've gotten lots of times. Maybe they can tell you, "oh, you get that if you fail to bow to Mecca three times" or something.

Yes, well, there's intention and reality.

It is more likely that I simply have no idea what I'm talking about. [guessing at the cause of a computer error]

Build a multi-billion dollar telescope to do high resolution, then put it on a detector which undersamples the PSF . . . go figure. [the telescope is HST]

The stuff the goes into the proposal doesn't have to be *right*.

Somewhere along the way we'll probably meet some jerk who will say, "but you should have done it this way instead". He's right. But . . .

This university will close down before I cancel class.

Student: I didn't think it would be that hard to get my stupid, old driver's license number.
Prof: That's because you're not a criminal. If you were an identity thief, you'd have been able to talk them into giving it to you. Because it's *your* number, you can't get it.

Whenever there's a question mark in the title, the answer is always no.

If you don't like the balance of talks in the schedule, you can have this job. [colloquium organizer]

This is what I've done the most work on, so of course I'm not going to talk about it here.

Student: Well, if I worked on it from like 10am to 10pm it would get done faster.
Prof: Yeah, but at some point you have to live.

There's no guarantee that data tapes will work even if you do everything right. Tape reading is a black art.

So if someone comes to us 10 years from now and says, "you were off by 0.2 mag in this number" . . . "f--- you!"

Well, sometimes science IS hard. [from an e-mail actually, but good enough that I'll make an exception for it]

You're not coming to us hat in hand or anything like that. [In reference to the PhD oral defense.]

This is a prime case of "often wrong, never in doubt."

The full equation is really nasty. Just to prove that I can manipulate LaTeX, I put it in your homework.

The joy of putting down the less fortunate.

Calculating one correction so exactly, to within a gnat's eyelash, isn't any good if you just ignore all the other, more important corrections.

Student: My gut says no. [in answer to a question]
Prof: That's right. Your gut knows the physics.
Student: [while prof writes on board] But the rest of me doesn't.
Prof: [finishes writing, then] I was going to say it if you didn't.

I've always wanted to initiate a reign of terror.

Einstein called the cosmological constant his greatest blunder. Well, all I can say is that I hope I make a blunder like that. This is one of the hottest topics in cosmology right now.

And being a Douglas Adams fan, I'm glad to see that the number 42 makes it into astrophysics somewhere.

Ah yes, red holes. It's a shame you've never heard of red holes, your education is sadly deficient.

I think we can see that [insert student's name] is decoupled from the rest of the class.

See, from class you already know enough to be a good crackpot.

This is the sort of thing that has driven people to drink, or to M-theory.

The history of gamma ray bursts has been likened to a bunch of 6 year olds playing soccer. They don't play positions, they just all run around following the ball. Then mainly by accident the ball pops out and they all run that way. That's kind of what gamma ray bursts theorists have done over the past few years. They were always sure they knew what caused them, but what the cause was has changed over time.

Student 1: I don't drink.
Prof: Right. I've seen the way you act. There's only one explanation.
Student 2: The same could be said about you.
[Obviously we have a very good relationship with this professor. :) ]

Oh yeah, he doesn't believe in general relativity. He says gravity doesn't gravitate in GR.

Student: And you call yourself a theoretical astrophysicist?
Prof: No, I call myself screwed up.

Have you ever seen those "proof by" lists? Proof by intimidation, "it's true because I said so"; proof by forward reference, "we'll prove this later in the class" and then later in the class, "as we proved earlier in class"; proof by august reference, "as Gauss proved in his paper". [See below for a couple links to lists like that.]

Have I ever told you about my out-of-body experience? [short pause] In relation to talks. I've had two semi-paranormal experiences related to talks. [See the next two quotes.]

The first was at my thesis proposal where I had the palpable feeling that I was standing just off to my own left watching myself give a really bad talk. Also at this talk, one of my committee members came in late, put his head down on the table, and proceeded to sleep through the entire talk. Then he woke up at the end and asked a whole bunch of questions that I couldn't answer.

The second was at my thesis defense. I was asked to derive something and after all I've done this should have been simple. It was meant to be an easy question to give me confidence. Yet I had no clue how to do it. So in typical walking to the hangman's noose fashion I walked up to the white board, picked up a marker, and proceeded to watch my hand do the derivation correctly. I was like, "go hand!"

We never want to trust observations until they've been checked by theory.

I read through your professor quote list after a student told me about it over the summer and I was roaring with laughter at some of them.

If people ignore me, I can't fool them.

So, why did you use verbs in your thesis? [Joking about tough thesis defense questions because someone was getting grilled in theirs at about this time.]

We've decided that we'd like you to do your thesis on Kuiper belt objects instead. [Another joke, the person's thesis was on galaxies.]

There's this sort of wink and nod agreement that if anyone asks, we're not having a final on Wednesday. It's a review session. [Finals on the study day are not technically allowed.]

Student: Look, you've totally destroyed his confidence.
Prof: I live for those moments.

Suppose your name is Pessimist and you're right . . .

Canada? That's not a country, that's a boundary condition!

Yes, these stretches are not just limited to kids. I make everybody do them. At an adaptive optics / interferometry meeting I made everyone get up and do this cheer: "AO high, AO low, Michelson, Speckle, go, go go!"

And we get about 2*10^18 in God's units. [i.e., CGS units.]

Personally, I've never made any really major mistakes because I've never worked on anything really important. In order to make a major mistake you have to work on something really important.

He likes girls. Well, at least he used to, he might have outgrown that by now.

Ask him, it's his thesis! [At a thesis proposal, after one prof directed a few questions to the student's advisor.]

Prof 1: They're *grilling* him!
Prof 2: Why?
Prof 1: It's [insert student's name]. He deserves it.

My only time SCUBA diving was at the Great Barrier Reef. It was truly an Australian experience. They have a much more easy-going attitude down there. I had no experience, so they put me in this half hour course that they held in the hotel swimming pool. Then they sent me out on the boat and over the side. I wasn't sure if I was going to survive.

I'm going to let him into this office so he can trash it.

Let's see . . . is that right? I think it's supposed to be right.

The equation knows about the complex plane.

After last class I had to rush out to this meeting that just went on and on. Actually, it's still going on right now. [Said about three days after that last class met.]

Let's see . . . is this right? I may have made a mistake, but I doubt it.

If I don't say that "a" is large, then "a" is of order one. [pause] Well, you've got to start somewhere. [Doing approximation methods.]

Prof: This is the ultimate test.
Student: Yeah, and we're all failing.
Prof: No, you haven't failed yet.

Good, I'm glad you did that. Now you see what all this stuff we've learned is good for. So that you can tell the professor he screwed up.

If you're having difficulty, that was the intent. I wanted to make you think. [This is for a question on the *final*!]

Oh yeah, let me set mu equal to one so that I don't have to worry about it. [This prof has a tendency to define units so that things equal one.]

Notice the "mgr" in there -- that comes from the gravitational potential. You could set it equal to one if you want.

If I shoot a gun and a person over there drops dead, then everyone would say that shooting the gun caused the person to drop dead. The only people who would say that the person dropping dead caused the gun to be shot are those who belong to the National Rifle Association. [An example of causality.]

This you'll want to memorize. This is one of the sacred equations in physics. [Einstein's field equation for gravity.]

Someone once asked me if to make a list of books I'd want to have if I was stranded on a desert island. They were surveying the professors to make up a single list or something. I told them _Shipbuilding_Made_Easy_. I mean, if you're stranded on an island, that book is going to come in handy.

Gaussians are easy to integrate, that's why they're used so much in teaching and in this class. [*And* in this class? You don't teach in this class?]

Student: So if you measure the first observable again, you can get a different result?
Prof: Sure, say you find Schrodinger's cat to be dead, but in the second measurement you give it an electric shock, then you might find it alive again.

Zero, one, infinity. That's pretty much how physicists count, right?

Do you know how to find the z axis for any system? The z axis is always along the direction of the magnetic field.

Have you done this before in mechanics? No? Well, then, you should just believe me.

So we have object equals minus object. [Writing on the board O = -O, which obviously looks like zero = -zero]

I'm not quite sure what the meaning of this demonstration is, but I want to do it anyway because it's so easy.

So, do you all know how to do this? No? Well then you should ask me about it otherwise I won't tell you. To me, this is trivial.

There's two reasons they might have switched over to SI units. One is to converse with the riff-raff engineers. It's a lot easier to go to a store and buy something using volts instead of statvolts. The other reason is so that they could increase their book sales since all the physics people use this text but almost none of the engineers do. [Referring to the third edition of the E&M text by Jackson]

The reason you're buying this book is for the inside covers. The text itself isn't very good, but the inside covers have tons of stuff you'll need to know. I used my copy so much that the back cover fell off, so I'm kind of glad that they gave me a free copy of the new edition for teaching this course.

No, this is Poisson's equation. There's something fishy if you say it's Laplace's equation. Actually, if you want some bad puns, sometimes you can solve Poisson's equation using Hermite polynomials which just goes to show that one man's Hermite is another man's Poisson. [Poisson is French for fish, BTW.]

Derivatives are born free but everywhere there are chains.

Plug in, work hard, live well, have Mathematica, dot dot dot . . .

Trying to integrate trig functions in the denominator involving roots just plain sucks. It's a rule.

Since phi and psi are arbitrary, I'm just going to switch them and do this again. You got a problem with that?

Does everyone understand this method? Good. I've been teaching undergrads too long, this is refreshing.

This is really another course in mathematical physics. The fact that you learn any electrodynamics from it is secondary.

You shouldn't worry about grades at all because nobody ever looks at your grad school transcript except to see that you passed.

Now I'll just write this identity up and claim that it's true. And none of you can object to this because you have no idea of what the heck all the symbols mean.

Student: So how far away is far away?
Prof: Well, that depends on how much of a bastard your boss is. If he's satisfied with only one or two tems, then you can use this expansion fairly close to the potential. If he's a real bastard and wants 52 terms, then you'd better be *really* far away. Generally if you're a few times the size of the system away, it will converge pretty rapidly.

I'm going to write down a one over four pi epsilon nought because you can't stop me.

Student: Is that obvious?
Prof: Yes. Next question? [The prof did actually give an explanation.]

Soon I'd like to give you an exam. No, actually I will be compelled to give you an exam. I'd like to do it after we finish chapter six because that's a logical stopping point. In most places it's called a course. [This one class covered what is traditionally taught in two classes.]

So why am I making this linear? Because of the Taylor expansion which says that all functions are linear, at least to first order.

OK, this looks easy. And by easy, I mean that I think I can actually do it.

Student: So nothing should happen if we used a left hand rule instead of a right hand rule, right?
Prof: Well, if we did that, left handers would lose their current advantage of being able to calculate with the right hand rule and write stuff down at the same time, which is probably why there's a disproportionate number of left handed physicists. But yes, you'd get the same final answers either way.

Is the volume small or large? [pause] The answer is yes.

I told him to assume zero prior knowledge and infinite intelligence. That's pretty much how everyone gives seminars, they start from the basics and go from there.

If this was true, we could make money from this. And I don't mean scientific money, I mean *real* money.

But space and time really are different. There's a difference between being five feet six inches tall and living for 70 years and being 5.6 light years tall and living for 70 nanoseconds.

There's one more topic I want to cover in this chapter and then we'll declare victory and get the hell out.

OK folks, back to the salt mines. [Always said after the 10 minute break halfway through the two hour class session.]

I could use egocentric coordinates centered on the tip of my nose, it doesn't matter.

What do we mean by a symmetry? It means you do something and nothing happens.

How do we solve this problem? Just shut up and do it. Plug this in and follow your nose.

Well, I could use proof by intimidation, "it's true damn it!" but I'll work it out for you.

What's a light second? A second with one third fewer calories.

We'll do rotations first and then everything that we learn from rotations translates.

Student: Who's responsible for this?
Prof: Well, they're dead now, so you can't get revenge on them, if that's what you were thinking.

Oh, you're astronomers, what should I expect?

Prof: So how can we check to make sure our answer isn't totally stupid?
Student: Check the units.
Prof: Well, sophisticated people say "dimensional analysis", but yeah.

Let's just assume that God comes down in the dead of night and whispers in your ear the form for this equation, which is incidentally how particle physicists actually do these things.

This is actually pretty easy, except that it's more complicated.

Does anybody want to argue with that? You can't because there's a triple equals sign there. Definitions may be stupid, but they can't be wrong.

This does have some interesting aspects in astronomy, but we're not going to do it. Are there any astronomers in here? [pause, two hands go up] Tough.

And if you don't buy this explanation, let me remind you that it's the same same explanation you bought a couple of chapters ago.

Does this look familiar? You all should have done this at some point in your misspent youth.

You all remember this from basic physics you did in like second grade, right?

Student: So is it possible to do the homework since you haven't finished the chapter yet?
Prof: The answer is if you can read, then yes, you can do the homework. However, I will assume that like most students brought up in our inadequate school system you can't read, so the homework will be due on Tuesday.

The solution is like three lines provided that you make a clever choice of the surface and I think you're all clever enough to come up with the right surface given three or four or five hours.

I could go through this, but it really is just a bunch of straightforward ugly algebra. Does anyone want to see it? [pause, silence] You show remarkably good taste.

We'll see that diffraction is the experimentalists' way of doing a Fourier transform. Theoreticians of course *know* how to take a Fourier transform.

An example of where this would be useful is for scattering AM radio waves off a charged, free floating elephant.

I was at a talk once and in response to some question the speaker said, "well, you have to be a <forgotten type> physicist to understand this," and I was able to reply, "I am and it doesn't help."

I realized that I started off this course with an apology for trying to cover too much material in too little time and I think that was well deserved.

I want to thank you all for taking this class, I had a fun time teaching it, although it may not have quite as much fun for you. It's really great teaching grad students. They actually do the problems you assign and they care about learning.

Are there any electrical engineers in here? [pause] No, good, then we can dis them.

And so we basically steal all the solutions we had from the previous chapter. I'm always in favor of theft.

Notice that we did a "consider this." If you were stranded on a desert island, how long would it take you to come up with the right "consider this?" It would depend on who you are, but it would probably take a heck of a long time.

There was someone who said that whenever I ask you for a numerical value for something the answer is always either 0, 1, or infinity.

At this point, it's basically just slave labor which grad students are supposed to be good at.

There was a story about <some famous physicist> who was giving a lecture and trying to find something wrong with his derivation and the students were giving him suggestions on what might be wrong. After a while he turned to the class and said "Whatever you can come up with I've thought of already!"

Right, this is the Ricci scalar and that's the radius of the universe, but they're both called "R". It's kind of the opposite of Shakespeare whose works were written by someone else; here it's the same name, but for different people.

It's too bad you didn't ask me if it was obvious. Then I could have answered like Wigner (?) did: "That it is not obvious is true. That it is true is not quite true."

The best reference on black hole thermodynamics is my lecture notes.

(More description than quotation, actually.)
The professor starts explaining how to work a problem, when suddenly, from the room next door, we hear . . . "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" [The entire humor value of this derives from that fact that we heard this from next door just as the prof paused in his explanation.]

No! You go for where the money is! [Overheard next door while we were taking a test.]

There are always two shocks. When I smack my hands together [does so], both hands hurt.

I want to make sure that the students here know what we mean when we ask them to run simulations. [quotes dictionary definition, paraphrased here] "to create a model with intent to deceive".

Here's the chemical structure. We know what it is because we have the NMR, IR and MS data. We are confident that we can go to Larry King on Larry King Live and prove to him that this is what we made.

The cartoon mentioned below is of a dog at the bottom of a steep flight of stairs struggling to reach a bone tied up with a bow at the top.
This cartoon is how I compare PhD candidacy. The bone is the degree. But as you can see, like the dog, it's a struggle to get there. Now sometimes, you can give the candidates a little wine and it gets them there faster. Sometimes you need to give them a little fire here [uses laser pointer to point at the dog's rear end] and that pushes them even faster.

If you're a grad student and your advisor told you to study this, you'd probably think he was crazy.

For the purposes of this talk, high redshift is anything over one. If you study things with z less than one, you're a planetary astronomer.

Astronomy's all about penis envy, everyone wants the biggest aperture. I mean that. If you've got a 4m telescope, then I need an 8m one. If you have an 8m, then I need a 20m.

I had him working on this when he was a grad student because it's always good to work on things you can't see.

Hurry up and take your notes. I'm sick of looking at your face.

Just pretend you're using it to hold your crack. You don't want to lose any now, you know how expensive that stuff is. [from a chef, working with things like icing piping tubes]

Chef: I didn't tell you to do that.
Student: Yes you did.
Chef: Do I look retarded to you? Do I . . . look retarded . . . to you?

Bonus Quotes from Homer Simpson (yes, obviously he's not a professor, but these are still great quotes :) )

Ohhh! There's so much I don't know about astrophysics. I wish I read that book by that wheelchair guy.

In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Similar Lists

I've found and/or been pointed to a variety of similar humor files on the web. Here are links and brief descriptions of them, in no real special order. The first three links are to lists by fellow students and you may see some of the same or very similar quotes in them because we have had some classes together. A search may turn up other lists with more proof methods; I didn't examine them really closely before linking up a few.

This isn't quite the same thing, but it's so funny I had to link it up -- check out Piled Higher and Deeper (note the initials PhD ;) ) for a humorous (and accurate) look at life as a grad student. Admittedly current/former grad students will relate to it better (I think it's a riot), but at least some of it should be amusing to most people. It's amazing how true some of it really is.

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