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When A Physicist Needs A Beer… March 4, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in physics life.

There are always signs. Some are easier to identify than others. Like when you have email discussion similar to the following (posted with permission):

>> [me] …Yeah — but I thought it was a day or two ago, not several weeks ago… I’m getting old.

Now you know what it’s like being a muon; you’ve experienced time dilation first hand. Seemed like only yesterday to you, but we aged 2 wks. Actually, it showed up back in your queue on Feb 12.

>> [me] I’m very happy this email was private. I wouldn’t want it to get out that I was really a muon! 😉

I’m afraid your muonic tendencies will be in some dossier by nightfall, on the internet by Thursday, and the subject of a congressional hearing by next week. Senators will want to know how it is that a renowned university hires muonic professors. There will be charges that our impressionable college youth are being indoctrinated into muonism. The university will say that hiring muonic and even kaonic personnel makes good business sense because their frequent, if not exponentially timed, departures decrease the required size of the pension fund, thus saving taxpayers millions of dollars. They will also say that even though these professors are a bit unstable, their presence will naturally increase diversity on campus: today’s political science lecture by a heavyweight professor with a muonic bent, tomorrow’s a team effort by three lighter-weight successors, with two of them tending to take neutral stands on the issues, and the third tending to align with the previous day’s lecturer. They will make similar arguments in favor of kaonic professors. However, critics of the program will charge that these two groups tend operate under different rules, always trying to maintain their respective numbers, while interacting only weakly with each other…

>> [me] You need a beer. At least one, probably more.

The beer would be nice. If you’ll be in San Diego for the next NSS, I’ll buy the first round. You also might be interested in my ideas on hiring professors posthumously.

The person with the sense of humor is Zane Bell, who edits the Transactions on Nuclear Science journal (I help him out with editing responsibilities). Of course, he expected that it would be out by Thursday, not Friday…



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