Category: Math & Science

Sliding Out Of That Topic

| Chicago, IL, USA | Math & Science, Rude & Risque

(I work for the Biology prep staff at my university, making sure that classes and labs have all the equipment they need, etc. One day my manager and I are prepping for next week when a boy comes in from the Anatomy and Physiology dissection next door. He seems a little dazed.)

Boy: “Do you have any plastic baggies?”

Manager: “Yeah, right here. What’s it for?”

Boy: “Dirty… something. Dirty… pictures? Of dead bodies. Dirty body pictures…” *he seems to realize what he’s saying* “Oh, god. Slides! I meant it’s for contaminated slides of tissue samples we took from the cadaver! Not dirty pictures!”

(My manager and I were laughing too hard to reassure him. The professor later told he came back to class with the plastic bag and a blush like a ripe tomato.)

Will Teach Them To The Bitter End

| Washington, DC, USA | Food & Drink, Math & Science, Students

(Our biology lab is discussing traits specific to certain genes. One such trait is the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide, or PTC, which is harmless, extremely bitter chemical – but only to people with a specific genetic makeup.)

Professor: “All of you take one of these strips of paper. It’s covered with PTC, which will be horribly bitter to some of you but tasteless to others.”

Student #1: “How will we know if we can taste it? What if we aren’t sure?”

Professor: “It’s really bitter. You’ll know.”

Student #1: “But I mean, I drink black coffee. It might not affect me even if I have the right genes.”

Professor: “It’s nothing like coffee. You’ll know immediately if you’re tasting PTC or not.”

Student #1: “But how can we be SURE?”

Student #2: *has put the paper strip on his tongue* “OH, MY GOD! OH, MY GOD! EW, EW, EW!” *spits in sink, rinses mouth* “HOLY CRAP, that was DISGUSTING!” *gagging, spitting*

Professor: “Seriously. You’ll know.”

The Physicist And The Fat Chicken…

| USA | Bizarre/Silly, Math & Science, Money

(We are students in our research labs; one of the staff researchers is an old physicist.)

Student #1: “[Old Physicist] always ignores real world considerations and oversimplifies situations.”

Student #2: “This chicken sandwich would be a spherical chicken, in a frictionless vacuum.”

Student #1: “Really, I don’t think he would be that bad.”

Student #2: “I bet you a million bucks he would.”

(They draw out a spherical chicken on the whiteboard and we have a laugh about it. It stays for the next year, almost forgotten, when Student #3 is talking to the physicist about a project. I walk in to hear this:)

Student #3: “So thinking about what would happen to a chicken…”

Old Physicist: *interrupts* “Well, we can model this. First let’s consider the chicken to be roughly a sphere…”

Me: *to [Student #1]* “You owe [Student #2] a million bucks.”

Student #1: “He really did it. D***, I don’t wanna tell [Student #2] he was right, but this is unbelievable!”

The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 15

| USA | Books & Reading, Math & Science, Movies & TV

(We are doing a new unit on circles and ellipses in pre-calc.)

Teacher: “Now that we’re done with circles, let’s move on to ellipses!”

Student: *mishearing the teacher* “Eclipse? Like… Twilight?”

The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 14
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 13
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 12

Hammering Home Your Driving Style

| CO, USA | Math & Science

(This is in a differential equations course.)

Professor: So, for example, if an engineer wants to know how the suspension will respond to different scenarios, it is pretty easy to find the response to hitting the suspension with a hammer.”

(The professor writes a sample differential equation to demonstrate this calculation.)

Professor: “However, the engineer probably cares more about how the suspension responds to other scenarios, such as a speed bump, since you aren’t hitting your suspension with a hammer while you are driv—”

Student: *yelling from back* “Don’t tell me how to drive!”

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