20 ways to show you're a PHYSICIST!

by prof. Richard Weissi


from "the magic of physics

So you want to be a physicist,
you want to be scorned at parties,
you want peoples eyes to glaze over when you speak,
you want to own lot's of incomprehnsible books that no-one understands,
you want to wear unfashionable clothes and get away with it,
Well don't bother.
Just follow these 20 easy steps and everyone will be able to see that you're a physicist, without you having to do any of that tiresome study.

N.B. Doing the study is actually a rather good idea just ask these people


  1. Never answer your mail. 99 per cent of those who write to you are in an inferior position. Why else would they write? However, requests for reprints of your articles should be answered immediately to ensure rapid propagation of your brilliance.
  2. When reviewing a book be certain to find at least four errors in judgement or fact. Remember, as a book reviewer your superior position has already been acknowledged - it is your task to justify that trust.
  3. Never address an audience without a piece of chalk in hand. The listener's eyes are glued to this weapon waiting for it to strike.
  4. Never give a talk without a mathematical derivation.
  5. If anyone in your audience is not taking notes, glare at him unmercifully. the gems of your oral utterances deserve to be recorded for posterity.
  6. Learn the music of at least half a dozen early composers, preferably all before Bach.
  7. If athletic, tennis is your game. It provides the most frequent interchange of energy and momentum.
  8. Under no circumstances dress like a businessman. You are a member of a select group - dress with an appropriate disregard for convention.
  9. If ever you appear at work before 10 a.m., your excuse should be that you worked on an experiment all night.
  10. When sitting in committee, find fault with all suggestions. After all, ideas are fallible - make that point.
  11. If you don't wear glasses, cover up this inadequacy with an even greater disregard for conventional dress.
  12. Develop a taste for Szechuan or Indonesian cooking - a mark of discrimination and worldliness.
  13. When delivering a paper at a meeting, snow your audience under with undecipherable slides. A well-designed slide is equally mystifying independent of how the projectionist inserts it.
  14. Smoking is out, marriage and children are in.
  15. Leave your office blackboard filled with undecipherable mathematics. A "do not erase" sign should be prominantly displayed.
  16. Always leave a copy of the PHYSICAL REVIEW on your desk, opened at an article filled with equations.
  17. Do not drink the hard stuff. Become familiar with the names of obscure Californian vineyards.
  18. Do be a name-dropper. Leave your desk calendar open, indicating a future date with some well-known personage.
  19. A neat, tidy desk is a reflection of a blank mind. Periodically move the mess around.
  20. When people ring, be certain your secretary always says you're out. Return only 5 per cent of your calls. Leave a note on your desk signed by your secretary that an important person called TWICE.

The key to proper behaviour is arrogance - God's way of saying he didn't make us all Physicists. It is a small price for the public to pay for the atomic bomb and television.


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