Navigation Bar
MAIN Cheap Thoughts Cheap Thoughts Index Cheap Thoughts on Science Really Cheap Thoughts Index


Science Jokes


Science and Nature

     Daffy Definitions

     Lightbulb Jokes



Science and Nature


A doctoral student, a post-doc, and a professor are walking through a city park and they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one." "Me first! Me first!" says the doctoral student. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat with a gorgeous woman." Poof! He's gone. "Me next! Me next!" says the post-doc. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with a professional volleyball player on one side and a Mai Tai on the other." Poof! She's gone. "You're next," the Genie says to the professor. The professor says, "I want those two back in the lab after lunch."


A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it. An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it.


An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.


Beginning rock hounds take everything for granite.


Creative Scientific Theories Contest (OMNI Magazine) Grand Prize Winner: When a cat is dropped, it always lands on its feet, and when toast is dropped, it always lands with the buttered side facing down. I propose to strap buttered toast to the back of a cat; the two will hover, spinning inches above the ground. With a giant buttered cat array, a high-speed monorail could easily link New York with Chicago.


Dangerous exercise: Jumping to conclusions.


Discoveries are made by not following instructions.


Earthquake predictors are faultfinders.


Finagle's Constant, a multiplier of the zero-order term, may be characterized as changing the universe to fit the equation. The Bougerre (pronounced 'bugger') Factor is characterized as changing the equation to fit the universe. It is also known as the 'Soothing Factor'; mathematically similar to the damping factor, it has the characteristic of dropping the subject under discussion to zero importance. A combination of the two, the Diddle Coefficient, is characterized as changing things so that universe and equation appear to fit without requiring a change in either. Items such as these are loosely grouped, in mathematics, as constant variables, or, if you prefer, variable constants.


HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This Product Contains Minute Electrically Charged Particles Moving at Velocities in Excess of Five Hundred Million Miles Per Hour.


I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.


I tried to get some scientists to change to the metric system, but I was preaching to the converted.


If a subject has "science" in its name — it probably isn't. (Political "science," creation "science," etc.)


In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is a great deal of difference.


It may be that human life is "the galaxy's way of evolving a brain." This will come as a surprise to pessimists who, contemplating humankind's destructive tendencies, may be wondering if life isn't the galaxy's way of eliminating certain planets.


Never lend a geologist money. They consider a million years ago to be recent.


Never look at data on a Friday night. It can spoil your weekend.


No matter what degree of rigor the author uses, the referee replies by saying it is not the correct one.


Referee's report: This paper contains much that is new and much that is true. Unfortunately, that which is true is not new and that which is new is not true.


Science is what happens when preconception meets verification.


The Finagle Factor (Sometimes called the SWAG — Scientific Wild-Assed Guess — Constant): That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to, or subtracted from the answer which you got, yields the answer you should have gotten.


The study of people who don't get along well with others: Misanthropology.


There is no way of falsifying "Unicorns exist."


Three scientists met at a convention, and decided to tell jokes. But being efficient guys, they decided to save time by merely giving the number of the joke as listed in the joke FAQ rather than telling the whole joke. So one scientist would blurt out "167", and all of them would laugh. Then another would say "233", and they'd all laugh. Then one scientist said "199", and they all laughed. But then one of the scientists just kept laughing and the other two couldn't get him to quit. So they asked him why he keeps laughing. He said, "I've never heard that joke before." But then another scientist decided to give it a try. He stood up and said "137", and no one laughed at all. One person muttered to his colleague, "Some guys just don't know how to tell a joke."


WARNING: This Product Attracts Every Other Piece of Matter in the Universe, Including the Products of Other Manufacturers, with a Force Proportional to the Product of the Masses and Inversely Proportional to the Square of the Distance Between Them.


When skating on thin ice, allow others to take the lead. There is no disgrace in learning from others, particularly when doing so avoids putting yourself in jeopardy.



Daffy Definitions


Brownian Movement, n. An organization of people who just get together just to mill around.


Kilogram, n. What scientists send instead of postcards.


Semiconductor, n. A part-time musician.


Seminar, n. From "semi" and "arse," hence, any half-assed discussion.


Statistician, n. A mathematician broken down by age and sex.


Superconductor, n. A really good conductor.


Tachyon, n. (1) a gluon that hasn't dried yet. (2) a subatomic particle devoid of good taste.



Lightbulb Jokes

How many creationists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one. And you better believe it takes him no more than seven days. (or) It is only a theory that this room is dark. There are other, equally valid scientific explanations. Who are you going to believe, us or your own eyes?


How many evolutionists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it takes eight million years.


How many laboratory heads (senior researchers, etc.) does it take to change a lightbulb? Five. One to change the bulb, the other four to stand around arguing whether he/she is taking the right approach.


How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb? One, if it knows its own Goedel number.


How many nuclear engineers does it take to change a light bulb? Seven. One to install the bulb and six to figure out what to do with the old bulb for the next ten thousand years.


How many research technicians does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but it'll probably take him/her three or four tries to get it right.
How many post-doctoral fellows does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but it'll probably take three or four tries to get it right because he/she will probably give it to the technician to do.


How many scientists does it take to change a light bulb? None. They use them as controls in double blind trials.


How many topologists does it take to change a light bulb? It really doesn't matter, since they'd rather knot.




How to identify scientists:

  1. Chemistry Professor: Wears a white lab coat. This may actually be clean but does not have to be. Physical chemistry professors have a brand new coat that has never been in the lab; polymer chemists have strange glop on their coat, and freshman chemistry professors have acid holes.
  2. Physics Professor: Wears blue jeans and a flannel shirt. May sometimes forget to wear shirt altogether. If a professor is wearing blue jeans and suspenders, ten to one he is a physicist. Physics profs often have German accents, but this is not a distinguishing characteristic. Be wary of psychologists with fake Viennese accents, which can sound similar to the unwary.
  3. Biology Professor: Sometimes wears a lab coat, though usually this is the sign of a biochemist. Marine biologists walk around in hip boots for no explainable reason, even in the middle of winter. They are apt to wear grey slacks and smell like fish, as opposed to most biologists, who smell strongly of formalin. Microbiology instructors go around in spotless white coats, refuse to drink beer on tap, and wipe all their silverware before using it. Never loan money to a bio prof, no matter how much he asks.
  4. Psychology Professor: Psychologists are not real scientists, and can be easily identified by their screams of protest whenever anyone questions whether psychology is a science. Psychologists have beady little eyes and don't laugh at jokes about psychology. If you are not sure whether a person is a scientist or a comparative religion instructor, he is probably a psychologist.
  5. Computer Science Professor: Most computer science professors are from India or Pakistan. You can tell by the gestures and accents. This is not a bad thing, though many of the American computer science professors tend to pick up Indian accents which confounds more specific identification. Like mushrooms, computer science students only come out at night, and, if not Indian, tend to take on a pasty appearance. Computer science professors do not use computers and therefore can be easily identified by their comparative good health with respect to their students. Many computer science professors do not even know how to use computers, and are actually mathematicians or psychologists in disguise. Avoid these people.
  6. Math Professor: Math professors are like physics professors except without any practical bent. A math professor will have only books and pencils in his office, as opposed to the piles of broken equipment that physicists keep. Mathematicians scorn the use of computers and calculators and often have difficulty splitting bills in restaurants. The easy way to identify a mathematician is by the common use of the phrases "It can be shown that..." and "Is left as an exercise to the student..."



Proof Technique #1 - Proof By Induction
1. Obtain a large power transformer.
2. Find someone who does not believe your theory.
3. Get this person to hold the terminals on the HV side of the transformer.
4. Apply 25000 volts AC to the LV side of the transformer.
5. Repeat step (4) until they agree with the theory.



Top 10 Traits of the Pseudoscientist:
Society is developing a new breed of "intellect": the pseudoscientist. Too lazy to do real work to research a topic, the pseudoscientist is armed with a strong curiosity, an enlarged ego, and a dose of authoritarian paranoia. Combined with his patchwork access to media-filtered science "facts" (if they can be called such after the media is done processing them) and his desire for profit, the pseudoscientist is likely to be tomorrow's new danger to the preservation of knowledge.
You might be a pseudoscientist if:

  1.  You believe your subscription to Analog provides the necessary background to argue with PhD scientists.
  2. You think "real" science is mostly developed in garages or hobby rooms.
  3. You think scientists are inflexible to changing paradigms (using one of pseudoscientists' favorite terms). See definition of "Science."
  4. You think the government, big business, or traditional scientists are in a conspiracy to prevent the pseudoscientists from showing the "truth" to the rest of the world, motivated by such movies as Chain Reaction.
  5. You think science is purely to start a business and make money.
  6. You think it's cool to announce impossible-sounding claims to the media without a peer review process (see #4 above), expository discussion, or other legitimizing process. You may believe the US Patent Office is a legitimizing process, if they aren't in conspiracy with #4 above.
  7. You're aiming for the Einsteinian turn-science-upside-down revolution of thought and universal understanding, based on your two years of high school physics and a copy of Omni magazine.
  8. You think highly suspicious behavior is actually the way people protect themselves from intellectual theft.
  9. Your ego is large enough to tell the world that its understanding of the universe has always been wrong, and your fantastic, undocumented, unverified, unrecorded, and unreproducible experiment proves it.
  10. Your college degree (if you have one) and your pseudoscientist interests have absolutely nothing in common. For instance, you may be arguing about fusion with a Ph.D. in nuclear physics (and inflating your ego by doing so), while you only have a nursing degree.



Top Ten list of ways you can tell if your labs' OSHA inspection is not going well
10. OSHA sets up a temporary housing trailer in your parking lot.
9. The inspector mutters "This is unbelievable" every time he enters a new lab.
8. OSHA calls in a professional film crew to document conditions.
7. A reporter from 60 Minutes tags along.
6. Your congressman won't return your calls, but does return your campaign contribution.
5. The inspector begins the post-inspection conference by saying, "You have the right to remain silent."
4. The inspector asks specific questions about one of the reports in your files, but you haven't turned over any files.
3. The inspector insists on wearing a moon suit and a bulletproof vest while checking out your lab.
2. The inspector knows all your employees by their first names.
1. The inspector is a former employee you had to downsize.



Where to Publish Your Paper:
1) If you understand it and can prove it, then send it to a journal of mathematics.
2) If you understand it, but can't prove it, then send it to a physics journal.
3) If you can't understand it, but can prove it, then send it to an economics journal.
4) If you can neither understand it nor prove it, then send it to a psychology journal.
5) If it attempts to make something important out of something trivial, then send it to a journal of education.
6) If it attempts to make something trivial out of something important, send it to a journal of metaphysics.