Danger! Don't look at this if you're not a physicist, and it probably won't even be funny to most physicists.

Here is a random selection of quotes from lecturers (Part II), which we found amusing at the time, or are amusing taken out of context. More submissions very welcome, and thanks to those who have already added to this list.

- ``...this is just O level contour integration.''
- ``I'm not going to do any of the questions because they're all trivial.''
- ``And so we get the Langevin equation, which is saying that the acceleration is equal to something which I don't know...''
- ``... this is OK, because when I take something which I don't know and I multiply it by m, I still don't know what it is.''
- ``... the [...] function, which does what it says on the tin''
- ``As always in theoretical physics, our aim is to end up with scalars: when I divide apples by oranges, I don't know what to compare it with, but when I get 10000, I know it's big!''
- ``You can take any alternative model and, as long as it isn't physically contradictory, you get the same result.''
- ``You will be pleased to know that the tripos questions in this year's paper won't be the same as last year's.''
- ``Just enjoy yourselves and try to learn something. If you can. Can enjoy yourselves, I mean. Oh boy!''
- ``In theoretical physics you don't solve equations - you know what the answer is before you start and then argue why this equation should be the one to solve.''
- After many particularly complicated pages of algebra: ``... and now for the final straw in this lecture...''

- ``It makes life easy... well mathematical life anyway.''
- ``It's a pity we don't teach [elliptical cylindrical coordinates] at school... I mean at university.''
- ``This could be a potato.''
- ``If they're entangled, it's difficult to tell which guy is which guy.''
- ``Fermions completely hate each others' guts.''
- ``Evaluating Gaussian integrals is
*good for you*.'' or ``Do this calculation once in your life - it's good for you!'' - ``This is the real world. I'm going to tell you the facts of life.''
- ``The only time your body's in equilibrium is when you're dead... and everyone approaches the equilibrium state.''
- ``You learnt this in primary school.''
- ``In the exam, we don't want to find out what you
*don't*know... that's easy to do.'' - (``You're theoretical physicists, so you can do anything.'')
- (``Most of the problems have answers.'')
- (``This is the grind you have to do to get the final glorious result.'')

- ``Lemmings - all they do is run around a logistic map... well, I simplify slightly.''
- ``The Tycho model of the solar system ... was a sort of Lib Dem model.''
- ``The point is that 6[pi] is a number of the order... <pause>... small!''
- ``If you don't find this beautiful, then you haven't got a soul.''

Halfway through a lecture on nuclear bombs: ``I have a demonstration... but we'll leave it to the end because I can't really carry on after it, as you will see.''

- ``Now I don't think that Boltzmann committed suicide solely because of this, but if you have depressive tendencies, then you might well find yourself drawn towards statistical mechanics.''

Now we move on to a small selection of Part III quotes.

About a poster: "Did you understand it? Well, neither do I. Load of rubbish!"

- ``Renormalisation is a technical device.''
- ``An infinite constant... but we can deal with that... somehow...''
- ``This just means A dot dot A dot.''
- ``It's convenient to actually _solve_ this.''

- ``1ms is quite a long time after the Big Bang.''
- And in the same lecture: ``10^1600 years is quite a short time, relatively speaking.''

- ``I'm currently doing the evolution of a silver star. Next time, I'll do a wooden star.''

- ``A year is roughly 1000 days, isn't it?''
- ``Do we have an unhappy circle?''

- ``We have a relativistic wave equation which describes a wave and is relativistic.''

Want more of this sort of stuff? Try:

- Jeremy Bickerstaffe (Part 1A Maths)
- Alex Churchill (Maths/CompSci)
- Mathematical and Scientific Quotes from Cambridge

I crusade against mispronunciation of `kilometre'; it's difficult to write down but it should be kilo-meetr not kil-OMeterr, the latter of which would be a device for counting kils. Think about how `centimetre' and `kilogram' are pronounced, and remember for `micrometer'/`micrometre' the two pronunciations have different meanings.

And, on scientific English, misuse of `finite' is extremely confusing. It should mean `not infinite' rather than `non-zero'; zero is a finite number. I propose the use of `finitessimal' to fill the gap as a word to describe a larger-than-infinitessimal number.

Thirdly, please don't muddle ``lose'' and ``loose''. ``Lose'' means misplace, ``loose'' means set free.

Sorry. Others to subject you to will follow.

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*This page was created and is maintained by Edwin Carter. **Email me! ecc25@cam.ac.uk*

*Last updated 26-4-00.*