Sunday, April 19, 2009

Deferential Equations

I have been reading an online discussion group for people who are preparing for the radiological physics board exams, and happened upon a post complaining about the physics educational requirements. Imagine that? They actually want you to have a physics background before they will certify you as a physicist. The nerve! Anyway, this person said that she is good in the clinic but doesn't think she would be able to pass a Quantum Physics or Deferential (sic) Equations class. Of course I could not resist the urge to mock this (for those who were not forced to take advanced math, the subject is Differential Equations). Instead of doing it on the public discussion group (because I am not a complete ass), I send PDM a snarky email quoting this comment. I knew he would be sure to appreciate the humor of it all. And indeed, he did. This is what he sent back:

"Well, wasn't that the most well-mannered 2nd order inhomogenous equation? Always saying 'no, sir' and 'yes, please'. So agreeable when I required it to have constant coefficients. And not the slightest peep of complaint when I changed the initial conditions of the problem."

"Oh, you're so right. Most inhomogeneous equations nowadays are so disrespectful, requiring you to use the Method of Frobenius--or even numerical integration, for Heaven's sake! But that equation was so courteous--it even offered to transform itself into an integral equation and solve itself using Green's function techniques. Talk about good upbringing!"

"No doubt, no doubt. I've never known an equation so willing to go out of its way on my behalf. Manners will show."

11 comments:

LL said...

I'm completely confused... so I'll just defer to you two on this one... ;)

Red said...

You need manners to practice physics or just to be nice on a message board?

Upper level math sucks. Here is my theory. OK Einstein was dsylesic. And if you take the symbol mue and turn it on its side it is a 4. wouldn't that just screw up the world of math if all the rest of the great mathmaticians in the world just made up equations to justify Einsteins answers?

Red said...

not turn it on it's side, if you write it backwards, it is a 4

fermicat said...

LL - I know you had to suffer through Diffy-Qs.

Red - you need manners anywhere. I liked calculus, but never really appreciated differential equations. PDM can do them in his sleep.

And apparently Math Humor is a comment killer. Thanks LL and Red for braving the geekiness!

dr sardonicus said...

Caculus will kill comments. I walked away from differential equations after my freshman year of colege and nevere regretted it.

Natalie said...

Well for what it's worth, I found it hilarious. Something must have gotten lost in the translation from Calculus to real life.

Dave said...

I did understand the de v. di thing. The rest of it, not so much.

BC said...

I need to borrow that sometime. :P

Labwench said...

That was awesome! And it was good of you to refrain from public mocking.

fermicat said...

dr s - I'm pretty sure I got a C, and never really "got it".

Natalie - I think you can only fully appreciate it if you have slogged through the subject yourself.

Dave - PDM has a quirky sense of humor, but I find it very attractive.

BC - any time!

Labwench - glad you liked it. I don't want to make anyone feel bad, even if I am secretly mocking them.

NYPinTA said...

Huh?