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Dubious Words of Wisdom From Physics Students

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On this page, you'll find a cute cartoon, the table of contents, the foreword and several (quite a few, actually) sample student quotes.







One day, somebody is gonna write a book about my suffering and you’ll be sorry.


Well, at least I knew that I didn’t know anything – kinda’ like Sockratiss.


Dear Mr. Goldberg! Sorry for wasting your time. I just failed the first part so I just gave up. I am not stupid or lazy – I am just an English person.


Please do not take off points for the lack of artistic talent.  It is a defect from birth. I was dropped. Free fall, you know…


Ouch squared with no cherry on top.


I think the car will remain at rest as long as friction isn’t exquisite.


 When I am president, thermo would be banished from my school.


Ass kicks Chuck Norris – here is Newton’s 3rd law for you!


When Harry met Sally, they didn’t do physics, you know…






Niels Bohr argued with Einstein over hydrogen atom but the subject of their argument was so very small that they remained friends.


Niels Bohr’s son became a physicist of about the same age as his father.


Max Born was, ha-ha, born in Breslau. His dad was an embryologist, and he was an embryo for a while. Get it? Sorry, I hope I won’t lose points. Ah well.


During the war, Born joined the German army but instead of fighting, he just studied sound and other crystals.


Louis de Broglie has not done much – there is almost nothing about him on google except for wavy electrons.


In Copernicus’s time, only the geocentripetal system was considered politically correct.


Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes: one was her own and the other was her husband’s. But she did all the work, he was just helping out.


Paul Dirac was born in England but came to die in Florida. He wanted to be near his daughter but he had to teach in Florida for that.


Einstein’s second wife was his first and second cousin but he loved her.


Einstein explained photoelectric effect; before him, everybody was in the dark about light and electronics.


Einstein’s theory of relatives has proven true on many occasions including in space and at low temperatures.


Michael Faraday was forced to read books because he was poor and had nothing to do.


In his personal time, Heisenberg had seven children and a wife.


Hertz’s father converted to Catholicism from Jewishness but he still felt guilty.


Irene Curie was put in charge of the radium institution for her work with polonium. But it was fair because she and her husband made a lot of dangerous discoveries.


Women who swallowed too many x-rays could not be fertilized unless a lead apron was administered above. Roentgen didn’t know that because he died from non-Roentgen cancers.


Rutherford was a New Zealot who settled in England to study physically.


Rutherford can be cold “the golden foil boy of physics.”

Enjoyed the quotes? Want more? No problem! Click here!
Thank you!

"Dr. Korsunsky, you have a lot of grading. I have a lot of homework. Perhaps, we can come to an understanding."

This is just one of the witty cartoons of the famed Alejandro Yegros who illustrated the book. 



Fair Warning                                                             5


CHAPTER 1. Throw Me a Freaking Bone Here!

Personal pleas, exciting excuses, optional opinions       7


CHAPTER 2. Brad Pitt is Overrated!

Brain burps and random rants                                  35


CHAPTER 3. 6 + 1 = 6 if You Ignore the Power of Batman

Fuzzy physics, ad lib labs and mad math                  61


CHAPTER 4. Metal of Merit, Theory of Relatives, Navel Academy

Celebrity gossip at its best                                         79


Ordering Information                                         113

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



Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from the mistakes of others.

Well, here is your chance to be wise.

Step one: buy the book. Done? Good. You are about to read a very funny (or sad, depending on your perspective) collection of student quotes that come from my own and many other physics classrooms. These pearls of wisdom were collected over many years, and I finally got around to putting them together using old notes, tests and papers and, as a last resort, the good old memory of mine. I hope this book will be the funniest sad cautionary tale you will ever encounter. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll start proofreading your own papers more carefully…

Organizing the quotes was not easy: By using intelligent guessing, I ended up dividing them into four chapters.

Chapter 1 contains “statements with attitude”: excuses, complaints, opinions regarding the task at hand, etc. It will leave you shaking, I promise.

Chapter 2 is devoted to “brain burps”: completely random utterances born, I am guessing, out of boredom, desperation or just creativity gone awry. Lots of fun (for you).

Chapter 3 may require a little physics background to be fully appreciated. In it, I present the students’ actual attempts to “do physics,” loosely divided into three categories: answers to various test questions, excerpts from various lab reports and, finally, examples of really fuzzy math.

Chapter 4 deals with the students attempts to tell, in their own words, the life stories of various famous physicists. Just like Chapter 3, the last chapter is best enjoyed by a reader with some background knowledge about the subject.

A disclaimer: while many names of various individuals and institutions appear throughout the book, all of them have been changed in order to protect confidentiality. There are two notable exceptions: Chuck Norris (duh!) and all names in Chapter 4.

In addition, I did occasional minimal editing in order to preserve coherence and brevity. As mentioned before, some quotes have been resurrected from my “good old memory” (yes, I know it’s an oxymoron) and may well reflect my own imperfections as well as their authors’.

The book was generously illustrated by Alejandro Yegros, who may not yet be as famous as Chuck Norris but is a great artist with a fine taste for quirky humor. I am sure that the readers will enjoy his faithful rendition of student art as well as his stand-alone “education” cartoons. I am very grateful to Alejandro for lending his time and talent to this project.

In addition, I would like to thank many fine individuals who made this book possible and helped improve the manuscript. First and foremost, I am indebted to my great friend and colleague Ira Nirenberg for his support, for his 1 am phone calls and invaluable advice. I am also thankful to Larry Davidson, David Derbes, John Minigan, Marc Reif and Elizabeth Riemer for reviewing the manuscript, correcting my syntax and grammar and making many great suggestions.

Last but not least, I owe big thanks to a huge number of befuddled and feisty physics students who put their wild thoughts down on paper. I reserve my special thanks for some members of the glorious and notorious WHS Class of 2012 who inspired me to finally do what I had been meaning to do since I was much, much younger.

Despite much help from various individuals, the book doubtless has its shortcomings. The blame for them rests with the author alone – with one important exception: all the misspellings in the student quotes are meant to be there.

Now that you’ve been warned – enjoy and be wise!


Boris Korsunsky

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