[Beowulf] Degree

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Oct 25 14:24:04 PDT 2012


A colleague of mine narrowly escaped having to explain gravity to Kip Thorne by pleading a recent diagnosis of possible brain tumor.  That's in the nature of "tricking the snake", I suspect.

Jim Lux


-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Robert G. Brown
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 12:53 PM
To: Jonathan Dursi
Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Degree

On Thu, 25 Oct 2012, Jonathan Dursi wrote:

> On 25 Oct 9:22AM, Andrew Holway wrote:
>>> Well, there was the propeller-top beanie and hazing when I first 
>>> arrived at graduate school, the secret physics handshake, the 
>>> decoder ring, and the wierd robes they made us wear in quantum 
>>> mechanics "to keep us safe from virtual photons", but by in large, 
>>> no.  I mean, except for The Ritual.  But I can't talk about that.  They'd kick me out of the club.
>>
>> I'm sure its connected with a magic circle and league of mystics.
>
> ..and the snake fighting portion of every thesis defence,
>
> http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/faq-the-snake-fight-portion-of-your
> -thesis-defense

I actually had to fight my snake during prelims.  But this was back in the days when prelims were conducted in a room filled with tear gas, when you were forced to wear an electroshock collar to jolt you back to awareness in case you entered the "holy shit I'm at the blackboard explaining how to derive Clebsch-Gordan coefficients from scratch"
trance state, from which few humans ever emerge at all.  To avoid the shock I grabbed the coffee thermos of my advisor and beat the snake to a pulp as a bit of distraction and then came back to the board and spoke of something safe, like the labelling of quantum levels in the hydrogen atom.

Fortunately, nobody noticed, being too busy scraping fragments of snake off of their eyeglasses and bald spots. My advisor was pretty pissed, though.  He had to drink the rest of the coffee straining glass liner with his teeth (given that there was no question that he WAS going to drink the coffee, snake guts and glass or not).

I barely passed.  Probably thanks to the snake.

   rgb

> .
>
> 	- Jonathan
>
> --
> Jonathan Dursi | SciNet, Compute/Calcul Canada | www.SciNetHPC.ca 
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305 Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu


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