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Purdue Professor Quotes

- - - Random - - -

[Phone Conversation]
Student: "The telescope's on fire!"
Prof: "Well, put it out!"
Student [background]: "Quick! Put it out!"

"...new sky- and land-based satellites..."

"...a femtosecond photon torpedo!" --- luncheon speaker

Okay, you go outside on a clear, dark night, and what do you see? You see little points of white light, right? Well, there are some that are a little bluish or reddish, but they're mostly white. Now, what would happen if red light traveled faster than any other wavelength? What would the night sky look like? It would look like the inside of a bad Mexican bar! --- another luncheon speaker

[While looking at a graph]
Prof: "What is that?"
Me: "Uh, that's [NGC] 7331."
Prof: "It is? What's it doing way over there? Stupid galaxy..."

- - - Optics - - -

So, swinging a cat around in a circle by its tail is simple harmonic motion!

"If you're ever stranded on a desert island, the two things you need most are an Encyclopedia Britannica and a spectroscope."

"We're all wave packets!"

Prof: "I know if I [kept going] for three hours, you'd stay on...but I have better things to do."
Ian [whisper]: "He has a hot date."
Paris [whisper]: "We didn't need to know about that."

"On this, I will conclude by going to another subject." (?)

"Don't look at a person for what they are; look at them for what their Fourier components are."

- - - Electricity & Magnetism - - -

"Any questions...or expressions of 'ooh' and 'aah'?"

"...the basic grab bag of constants...."

"So you know when you buy those magnetic shoes to cure Athlete's Foot, you're wasting your money."

"Half of my [physics] career has been spent chasing a factor of two...or a minus sign...."

"I think I finally found the point I was trying to make."

"I think I'm leading you down a dead end." [pause] "Yes, I'm leading you down a dead end."

"Let me continue to fumble forward and maybe we'll have this all figured out by the end of the hour."

"I love this chapter. It's so complex and so ugly.... It'll become so ugly that your heads will fall off."

"Okay, now we have a blob that has an element 'd tau prime.'"

- - - Quantum Mechanics - - -

"Here comes the clever argument...."

"Somehow, it all drops out by magic."

"It's like in Lord of the Rings when Aragorn first sees the Hobbits. 'Are you scared? You should be.' Are you confused? You should be confused. If you aren't, something's wrong."

"The double factorial [...] doesn't mean you're twice as excited."

"Now, how anyone came up with the idea to do this is beyond me."

"So now we're starting spin, and since it won't be on the test, you can all fall asleep. Well, I can't--I have coffee."

"Instead of becoming an auto mechanic, you're supposed to become a quantum mechanic."

"This is a bound state. Let's call it BS. Wait, that's bad.... We'll just call it B."

- - - Thermodynamics - - -

"If you want to put a beta there you'll...you'll be cool."

"We have thermostats. We need entropy knobs!"

[in a diagram with a bunch of smiley faces and one accidental frowny face] "Maybe he's in a lower energy state...."

"We're physicists, right? So what do we do? Find something small and Taylor expand!"

"Oh, the Star Wars trilogy came out at midnight? Why didn't you say so? We would've cancelled class...."

"Remember...on the midterm...I'm going to put questions on there...."

[notes] Club Pauli: Only one fermion allowed. Club Bose: Always room for more bosons.

"Nobody beats Sadi Carnot!"

"Geckos are the best thing that's happened to Van der Waals since he won the Nobel Prize."

[notes] "Fine print: Two bonds per site for a square lattice in 2D. Triangular lattice is different. 3D is different... Void in New Hampshire."

"The laws of physics are the same everywhere except New Hampshire."

[notes] "Just like Ice-9. If you find a piece of Vonnegut's Ice-9, please melt it immediately."

"Look!! Two-fold-symmetric snowflakes!! Have you seen this?! It came from the sky!!!"

"One hand rule: one hand in pockey, won't get shockey."

- - - Electronics - - -

"Embrace the complex plane. It is your friend."

"If you have a mass spectrometer...a splendiferous thing..."

"I guess everyone ought to do [a Laplace transform] for their soul, but after that, it's okay [to just look it up]."

"Just before today's lecture, I put 10 homework problems up. They'll be fun."

"Who didn't get their exams--uh, quizzes--last time?" [students come up to him] "What makes you think I'm going to give them to you now?"

"Where's that current going to go? Back through the experiment! Oh, no! This is the worst thing that could've happened to me...except maybe a student...."

[loud and annoying cell phone ring goes off]
"My kids tried to program my phone to play something like that. They're grounded now."


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