Quotes from class

I operate under the presumption that lecture-based classes are the most worthwhile when the instructor says funny things.  My favorite lectures at Harvey Mudd were definitely in line with this (e.g. Theomech with Sahakian).  On the flip side, humor can also make an excruciatingly boring or poorly taught class tolerable.  The two classes I’m taking at SDSU right now fall somewhere between these extremes – best lecture ever and excruciatingly boring – but the professors definitely utter some hilarious tidbits as they work to convey the intricacies of stellar atmospheres and galactic dynamics.  Here are some highlights.

Note: I’ve included some brief contextual references for the physically-inclined among you.

“This line here is supposed to be straighter than the road to hell.”

“You may not be able to calculate that number, but that’s better than not being able to calculate a number and a direction.”
(gravitational potential)

“If you don’t have any mass, that’s called space, and you don’t have to do any work!”

“If you jump off the 10th floor and then jump of the 20th floor, jumping off the 20th floor is like jumping off the 10th floor twice.”

“Now, hyper means more super than super…”

“Somewhere in there if you dig hard enough you’ll find your pony.”

“Okay.  So far none of this has made any sense.”

“I guess if you’re making elevators this may have some application.”
(Lagrangian for a pulley system)

“It’s like he chopped off my head and took my quickening from me.”

“B is vorticity, whatever vorticity is.” (Oort constants)

“The position of a particle will relate to its potential energy… potentially.”

“…which is the moment of inertia.  Bet you never wanted to see that again.  But don’t worry, we’ll throw it away real soon.”
(virial theorem)

“I’m hand-waving hard enough that hopefully you’ll get this in your head and let it go.”

“If you play around with matches or cigarette lighters enough…”
(introduction to convection)

“So the random part comes from the drunk part?”
(random walk)

“It’s alone in space.  Poor star.”

“They’re pretty much here to stay, unless you’re immortal and you’re not telling me.”
(low mass stars)

“But we can’t directly measure this, which is the best kind of theory!”

“So it looks… not so good for the home team.”

“Getting phase space in your brain might be stroke-inducing.”

“You can keep on putting twins in that closet until child protective services arrives.”
(degeneracy states)

In other news, Mike and I had a lovely weekend with his sister Jennifer visiting from Minnesota.  She joined us for many games of the board and video variety, one of my symphony concerts, church and brunch, a trip to the zoo (while I was in class), a walk on Torrey Pines beach at sunset, and many delicious meals out.  The weather was gorgeous, much to her delight.  Today, though, San Diego decided it was time to have 80+ degree temperatures which coincided with my cats going apesh*t for no apparent reason.  I think it works like this: May – October is summer, November – December is fall, January – February is winter, and March – April is spring.  Or perhaps I’ve been living here for too long and have fallen under the delusion that San Diego may actually have seasons?  Yes, that must be it.

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