Revolutionizing the world, one "I agree" at a time
Monday, June 04, 2007
David Bernat, 3:39 AM:
Hey A-Abbott!

I wrote this sketch at for a Christmas show at the physics department my first year at Cornell. As we've seen more action here lately, I came across it again tonight and thought I'd post it. It's meant to be read as Abbott and Costello's Who's On First routine.

TA: Students, today in class we’re going to discuss yesterday’s experiment. -- What went on in this lab?

Student: What do you mean?

TA: What did you do in this lab?

Student: Lab 3.

TA: And what did you do in lab 3?

Student: We measured the result.

TA: Assume I’ve never seen this lab before, and you were going to explain it to me. What would you say?

Student: (pause) Well, it was all about getting the slope.

TA: The slope of what?

Student: The slope of the plot. We plotted some points.

TA: I know that, but assume I’ve never seen this lab. How would you explain what you did?

Student: We got the wires and measured at each point.

TA: Measured what?

Student: What the meter said.

TA: (pause) Look, you’re report tells me nothing. This could be an experiment about baking cakes. What’s this number here?

Student: 5.

TA: Yes, I KNOW it’s 5. What did it measure?

Student: The slope. Of the line.

TA: In lab, you ran an experiment, you plotted some points. What was the result?

Student: (jokingly) We finished the experiment. We went home.

TA: (frustrated, patiently) If I was a total stranger, how would you explain this lab to me?

Student: You just connect it up—

TA: Connect WHAT up?

Student: The circuit.

TA: Why?

Student: I’m sorry I don’t know what you’re asking.

TA: I’m asking, what is this lab all about?

Student: We, we plugged in the wires and got 5.

TA: 5 what?

Student: The slope.

TA: WHAT was the slope?

Student: 5.

TA: Yesterday, I saw you take your wires and hook them up to the power supply.

Student: Yes.

TA: We called the voltage y and the current x.

Student: Of course, we wrote it in our lab just like you said. Voltage y

TA: And current x.

Student: Exactly.

TA: Then what?

Student: We divided the voltage by the current to find the slope.

TA: What was the slope for?

Student: It was 5.

TA: Okay, the slope was 5. And Why?

Student: That was four.

TA: What?

Student: Huh? Y, it was 4.

TA: I’m not asking about Y. The slope. What was it for?

Student: I just told you it was 5!

TA: You plotted the data, you calculated the slope. What was your point?

Student: I was starting to wonder if you had one.

TA: From the plot. The slope is 5. Y is four. You must have had an ex?

Student: What does that matter?

TA: I’m curious.

Student : Why?

TA: No, not why. Ex. Do you have an ex?

Student: Are you looking to date me or something?

TA: What?

Student: Huh? I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re asking.

TA: Oookay, from the beginning. Where did the plot come from?

Student: We drew it.

TA: From what?

Student: From the experiment.

TA: The experiment about what?

Student: Lab 3! We had Voltage Y. We had Current X. What is it you want to know?

TA: Why are you giving me so much resistance?!

Student: Resistance? That’s what the slope is!

TA: (expires)


I can't originate posts on GTT; are you in charge of the site, and if so can you change that? When I sign in, I only see my personal blog on my dashboard.

It looks more to me like an example of how current science undergrads, though proficient at churning out answers and data, can remain ignorant of what experiments actually show.
In this era of web 2.0, we easily get nice & updated information for research purposes... I'd definitely appreciate the work of the said blog owner... Thanks!

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