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?
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.
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?
TA: Yesterday, I saw you take your wires and hook them up to the power supply.
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.
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.
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.
TA: No, not why. Ex. Do you have an ex?
Student: Are you looking to date me or something?
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!
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