Monday, November 14, 2011


No eureka moments yet . . .

This reminds me of a Dear Professor entry inspired by a physics student who didn't like the labs or experiments.

Dear Professor,

You keep running around the classroom,
monitoring our experiments
and checking our work,
hoping we'll get it . . .
Like maybe we'll have some kind of
eureka moment.
Do we look like Archimedes in the bathtub?


TC said...

This is funny. That is, both funny.... and funny-funny.

I have a physicist friend who loves physics more even than he loves his loyal girlfriend (who has been pining faithfully away for ten years, five hundred miles away, waiting for him to get on with...the physics, I guess), and, while doing his physics, lives an incredibly austere and spartan life. He is French, has been a bush pilot in New Guinea, served in the Australian army, and done all manner of astonishingly self-punitive enlightening things.

He loves to discuss "theoreticals" with other physicists. I have overheard them -- not in the bathtub, but... confession time... the shower.

They often reach little climaxes of problem-solving, mini-Eureka moments.

But alas, of late my physicicst friend has run into the most empirical, nontheoretical of problems.

He has been infested by mites.

He confided this to me some months ago, when I enquired how it had come to pass that his hair, normally dark, had suddenly turned blond.

"Yes, I hate it," he said. "People think I did it out of vanity. But no, it's because of mites."

It then came out that mites had infested his body, living quarters, and physics department office.

He had googled up mite-cures, and found hydrogen peroxide.

It worked, a bit, for a while.

But then back came the mites, with redoubled mite-fury.

He untacked the carpeting in his spartan chamber (he sleeps on the floor, of course), vacuumed everything.

He coated his torso and scalp with turmeric. "It didn't work," he reported dejectedly. "And it cost pretty much, too, a whole large jar."

He found mites in his office chair. He took the chair outside the building and jettisoned it.

He noticed an air vent directly above his office desk. Possible mite-entry-point...

and so on, I won't detain you with more of the fascinating details.

This brilliant man, who has taught astronomy, and been repeatedly hit upon yet refused the advances of "myriad" attractive astronomy students (he is a living legend), and whose mind is in the stars, and far beyond the event horizon, has been brought to earth, grounded, rendered seriously miserable by... mites.

(This is a sort of physics fable, maybe, I think.)

Oh, I have forgotten the eureka! moment.

It was my private eureka! moment, which came when he was lamenting being stuck with a useless jar of costly turmeric.

"Turmeric is wonderful!" I said. "You can put it on noodles, rice, in fact just about anything! Superb!"

He frowned a sad dejected-physicist frown. And we went on showering.

Nin Andrews said...

Now you have me worrying about these mites. Mighty mites. They sound worse than the plague of bedbugs we kept hearing about last year.

ACravan said...

I live in anticipation and hope of Eureka! moments. I've found a couple here. We know all about mites. Our parakeets contracted a case of mites, which my wife correctly diagnosed, according to the avian vet. They're deadly to birds, so I'm very grateful, in this case, for the wonders of internet research. Wonderful drawing. Curtis