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Top five lists

by Michael Nielsen on April 5, 2004

Top five conversation-stoppers when introduced to a physicist:

5. “Oh, really. My brother-in-law’s in medicine, too.”

4. “Um… Ahh… That must be…. interesting.”

3. “Physics was my worst subject in high school.”

2. “Physics was my best subject in high school.”

1. “You must be really smart.”

Number 1 is especially hard to respond to. What do you say? “Yes” is right out. “No” isn’t a whole lot more attractive. “Nah, I just cheated on all my exams” has the benefit of causing interest, but it’s not necessarily the kind of interest you want in those kinds of situations.

From → General

3 Comments
  1. You have it easy. When I get introduced as a computer scientist I get questions like “Should I get a Mac or a PC?” or “How do I set up a home network?”.

  2. Well, you can always invoke the famous Einstein quote:

    “Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics; I can assure you that mine are still greater.”

  3. One of my professors, Tony Rothman, use to say that if at a cocktail party one should never, ever admit to being a physicist. I try to follow this advice so I at least avoid the dreaded question #1.

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