Quotes from Physicists

Real Quotes from Physicists

Names have been omitted or changed to protect the innocent.

Yeah, these are all made up. Despite the title. Definitely.

Professor J:

  • “In the end, elegance doesn’t matter. It’s whatever nature chooses that matters.”
  • “You can’t just say ‘Boom!’ I have this theory. It’s perfect.”
  • J: “And that would be manifestly invariant under x goes to -x. Is everyone OK with that? I sense some discontent.”
    • Josh: “… what are you doing?”
  • “It really is black magic.” – while teaching particle physics
  • “For some reason I screwed up all the signs in the notes. I don’t know why.”
  • *Kevin walks by and J pauses while writing notes on dark matter:* “Sorry. Someone was viewing our classroom with horror.”

Professor C:

  • “Wait, I’ve got a minus sign here… but then how could I have come this far?!”
  • “Well folks, I’ve been standing here for an hour with ‘minus sign’ problems… I’m losing it.” *runs hand through hair* “I can’t think anymore.”
  • “Today is our celebration of Gaussian averages.”
  • “There are many solid state physicists who object to the term ‘condensed matter physicists,’ but they’re dying out.”
  • “The weather doesn’t depend on quantum mechanics.”
  • *Mumbling at the chalk board* “Don’t worry, there’s a conversation going on in my head which you’re not hearing.”
  • “Well, if you spend a lonely evening testing all the possibilities you’ll find it’s linear in u.”
  • “We’ll finish the rest of this derivation on Tuesday. Today is Thursday, right? No, wait, today is Thursday.” *pauses to look at the clock*
  • “Nature has the solution.”
  • “I like my ice tea… cold. I keep telling them to add more ice until it stops melting. And then I know it’s just right.”
  • “You can’t have a little bit of symmetry. Either you’ve got it or you don’t.”
  • “It’s a laborious derivation, so I’ll outline the steps and you can fill it in if you want… as a Christmas present to yourself.”

Professor M:

  • “There’s always something new, including in the very old and honorable field of electrodynamics.”

  • “It’s just another application of kindergarten level linear algebra.”

  • “Alright, I’m not going to teach this stuff to kindergarteners but the approach is about the same.”



  • “Mathematicians don’t have a function for ‘weird,’ but they need one.”

Professor X:

  • “Yeah, this is kosher. Even the Rabbi’s won’t complain about it!”

Professor P:

  • “There’s a slight swindle here.”
  • “I’ve got notes here on spin. They’ve kind of illegible but… um… I’ll make some copies.”
  • Student: “What’s the due date?”
    • Professor P: “I dunno. Whatever. What’s the last possible date?”
  • “This is the rabbit and the hare story all over again.”
  • *In the middle of a lengthy derivation, he points at the board* “This is not true, that’s the problem.”
  • “We won’t check any of this. It’s just an exhibition of…” *pauses* “…things.”
  • *Stops writing on the board* “So, anyway, we should get something. Class dismissed.”
  • Student: “So S is a matrix?”
    • Professor P: “Yes”
    • “Any matrix? What is it?”
    • *Professor point at the letter S on the board* “It’s this matrix.”
  • Student: “So those are spin states?”
    • Professor: “What I’m trying to say is that this has nothing to do with spin. Well, it does actually.”
  • “So we’re assuming that t can’t be too large, but also that it’s large. It’s kind of iffy, but it’s kosher. It works.”




  • “Do you remember when we were there and there was this boat and we thought it was the moon?”
  • Connor: “Jasper, did you watch the eclipse last night?”
    • “I didn’t, but I dunno. I also heard last year that Mars was going to look as big as the moon one night and it didn’t.”
  • To J: “I have a question. I don’t know what the appropriate time is but I’ll ask now.”
    • Jason: “That’s a very Venkmanesque statement, but OK.”
  • “What do you guys think of a substance pyramid instead of a food pyramid?”
  • “Dude, I offered my class extra credit to dress as their lab partner for Halloween.”
  • “That guy has the same level of balance as a penguin.”
  • “I took a big poop one time and I kinda enjoyed it.”
  • On Haruki Murakami: “What it does is put you in the mood to go to a train station and eat ramen for four hours.”
  • “Colorado is great. It’s either snowstorms and sun or thunderstorms and sun.”
  • “Let’s put it this way – the bikini was designed to arouse.”
  • “You know, I think I just underestimate the coolness of strangers sometimes.”
  • “Have you guys read life of pi? I thought that book was nonfiction.”

Grad Student 1A:

  • “I think woman should pay a lot for the bedroom work.”
  • “Probably single lady like her should buy good bicycle.”
  • “How is your chick life?”

Grad Student 1B:

  • “Your bottoms – they look hideous!” – directed toward a female grad student
  • “They made us do that sexual harassment training but it says ridiculous things like ‘don’t look at porn in the library.'”
  • Random student – “It sounded like you just said *insert ridiculous statement here*”
    • “But that’s what I’m saying!”

Grad Student 1C:

  • “We Should leave our biological bodies forever.”
  • “More molex, more problems.”
  • “Quit smoking? What? Why would you want to quit smoking. It’s only five cigarettes a day. It’s healthy. It relieves stress. Using these pills, this gum or patch, is bad. Don’t do that! You enjoy it! What, me smoke? No. NO. For me it’s not healthy at all”
  • “These are fake cops, I’m telling you guys. They are not police. We should switch badges and go through gate. You’ll see.”
  • While pointing at noise on the scope: “You joke Ryan, but this could be doorway to another world.”
  • “Now we need to go further for the death star construction”
  • “Sometimes I wanna play Russian roulette”
  • “The Earth is a spaceship”,
  • “We are all astronauts”,
  • “I can’t wait until I have swarm of robots I can boss around.”
  • “I can see into your mind.”,
  • “We all shall go inside the giant robot.”,
  • “Don’t worry. Everything is under the control.”,
  • “Think about all the cosmic rays depositing charge on me.”,
  • “I can feel the fingers of God touching my consciousness.”,
  • “A quarter of my eye is turning blue!”,
  • “We don’t need houses. We can live on ISS!”,
  • “Imagine experiment is Egyptian pyramid!”,
  • “It could be door to a different world!”,
  • “You can leap into the cube and go to another universe!”,
  • “With such a laser, I really need to stick my eye to see how it works.”
  • “It’s like, you have a wish, but can’t do it yet. Like, I strongly wish these non-stainless steel screws were different.”
  • “We should send e-mail to force bosses to wake and have emergency teleconference!”
  • “I’m serious, for real, I hope I don’t get any heart attack from mixed up cables. My heart hurts.”
  • “Now, we return to regular reality.”


  • “Yay. Disease free but you’ve got cholesterol problems. You’ve only got the disease that kills half of all Americans.”

Professor Y:

  • What it does do is create a lattice theory that’s Lorentz invariant on the smallest scale of the grid! That’s fantastic. On the other hand *mumbles* it creates a sort of time dilation… but we’ll have to talk about that some other time.


  • “Sometimes I think back and my memory’s not so great and I wonder if I have some Final Fantasy VIII style second identity I’ve forgotten about. Then I remember I just have a bad memory.”

The group and I are quietly working inside a reactor building. Then, out of nowhere, with no alarms or flashing lights, an announcement comes over the PA:

  • “The fire doors are closing. Please evacuate the building.”

© Ryan Walraven 2017


Comments are closed.