Friday, May 4, 2012

Bossy Cow Cow *

Today I return to my alma mater to speak to Physics students as part of a weekly career seminar. I did this once before and really enjoy it because I think I provide an atypical example of an undistinguished student (hey, I was distracted; is it possible to graduate with dishonors?) who nevertheless infused Physics throughout my entire career and life.

I think if you do it right, science is less a body of knowledge than a philosophy of life. I know an astronomer who believes in astrology and a chemist who believes in creationism. As Mark Twain said of women swearing, "They know the words but not the music." I've forgotten a lot of the words but can't stop humming the tune.

* Today's post title is taken from my school's unofficial fight song, which Google tells me Sports Illustrated voted the "Most Obtuse College Cheer" in 1997. The complete lyrics:

Bossy Cow Cow
Honey Bee Bee
Oleo Margarine
Oleo Butterine
Alfalfa, Hay!!!

Imagine my pride.

UPDATE: It went great! A good group of about two dozen, then lunch afterward with two profs: the one who invited me to his seminar plus my old college mentor. My host graciously bought my meal. As I joked to him, after paying my own tuition as well as my two girls' to the same institution, having the university buy me a sandwich felt like balancing the scales just a little.

Funny: While I spoke there were a couple of young lady physicists in the back of the room gazing into a laptop. I wondered then if they were looking me up online; toward the end of my talk when I got around to comics they kind of lit up, like "yep, that's the guy." And this blog's visitor counter shows a hit from just the right place at just the right time. Caught 'em!

Anyway, great students with good questions whom I hope I both informed and entertained. Infotained. I swear, being back on my college campus on a beautiful spring day whisks 25 years away. Thanks to all for a fun day.

1 comment:

Sherwood Harrington said...

I love college cheers, the more obtuse the better -- and I do think this one from Davis is a champion among champions.

Caltech's from the 60s (as bellowed frequently by a fellow grad student who had gone there):
"Cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
Three point one four one five nine!
Tech! Tech! Tech!"

By comparison, the one I remember best from Amherst was merely blunt:
"Maim them!
Maim them!
Tear off their arms and legs!"

Hope you and the students had a wonderful day, Brian!