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Hilarious (short) research essay

  1. Aug 8, 2004 #1
    Not sure if any of you have seen it, but it had me laughing for a while:

    http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~kovar/hall.html

    Enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2004 #2
    :rofl: Thats funny.
     
  4. Aug 8, 2004 #3
    Gave me a good laugh!
     
  5. Aug 8, 2004 #4

    Moonbear

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    LOL! Perhaps this student should have focused on creative writing rather than physics as a major. Very entertaining. I wonder if the experiment was supposed to work? When I was a bio TA, we had one lab in the course that was actually intentionally designed to NOT work. The point was to teach students that sometimes you have to just reject your hypothesis, but we got a lot of lab reports like that one complaining about how it was a problem with the equipment or their lab partners or any number of different excuses.

    Then again, I understand the dilemma. Usually these labs are supposed to work. I vividly recall a high school physics lab in which the teacher took points off my lab report because I disproved Newton's laws. I checked and rechecked my calculations, and the stupid little ball just wouldn't land where it was supposed to and somehow this was my fault? I think the points were eventually reinstated though, once the teacher realized I was the only one who didn't fudge the data (a few too many people got identical and slightly too perfect of results when they made the data fit the predictions because nobody got results that made any sense).
     
  6. Aug 9, 2004 #5
    Practical Science: The reason why I've never had a perfect score on any science exam.
     
  7. Aug 9, 2004 #6
    This is great. :biggrin:
     
  8. Aug 9, 2004 #7
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  9. Aug 9, 2004 #8

    Gokul43201

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    I have to confess...most Physics Labs I've done, I figure out what I'm supposed to get before I get it. Unless something's obviously faulty. :redface:
     
  10. Aug 9, 2004 #9

    chroot

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    Well, Gokul, you know the old science education mantra, don't you?

    If it blows up, it's chemistry. If it stinks, it's biology. If it doesn't work, it's physics.

    - Warren
     
  11. Aug 9, 2004 #10

    Gokul43201

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    I've heard a different version : If it stinks, it's chemistry. If it's green, or it moves, it's biology. If it doesn't work...

    Chemists use e coli nearly as much as biologists. I think that's as bad as it gets (just my opinion). Even hydrogen sulfide pales in comparison. And when they talk about aromatic compounds, you must realize they have a weird definition for the word 'aromatic'.
     
  12. Aug 9, 2004 #11

    Moonbear

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    LOL! Nothing stinks as badly as an organic chem lab! :yuck: I sometimes think physicists are too quick to call things laws, because it seems they can be proven wrong over and over again every day by ordinary high school students :tongue2:

    Gokul, I'm afraid lots of people do the same as you, because high school and undergrad labs seem to penalize you for honesty. Not a good way to train future scientists. I never counted it against my students if they got the wrong results for a lab report as long as they seemed to be doing everything right. I was more concerned with those for whom the lab that wasn't supposed to work miraculously did (I called that cheating). We did have one lab that went horribly awry. One of the techs must have either mislabeled a reagent or prepped something wrong, so nobody got results that anyone could make sense out of. In that case, it really was supposed to work, so I just gave them my own results from when we test ran the lab earlier in the week when it was still working. There just wasn't any way they could complete the assignment based on their own results, and it seemed a better solution for me to provide them with some results rather than tempt them to try the art of fudging data.
     
  13. Aug 9, 2004 #12

    Gokul43201

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    Oh, if I did the experiment and got a really wacky answer I could usually figure out what was wrong. If it was something about my experimental approach that I could correct, I would. If it was something wrong with the apparatus, I'd say so to the Teacher. But usually they'd just say that everything's fine and I should try again - "and be more careful next time."

    And I would...I'd carefully make the numbers be about right with realistic errors thrown in...perhaps one or two bad data point..you know !

    EDIT : Also, I think it's unscientific to blindly plunge into an experiment without exploring theoretically, what you would expect to have happen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2004
  14. Aug 9, 2004 #13

    Gokul43201

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    You really can't do the same in most Chemistry labs, though.

    There's either an unknown substance to identify, or an unknown concentration or mass to be determined...so doctoring does not apply.

    And I'm certainly not suggesting to others that it's a good thing to make up the numbers. NO WAY ! That's wrong...just like telling lies.

    It's just that sometimes - no, very often - you find narrow-minded/ disinterested/ underprepared teachers in your lab...and it's their way or the stairway ! :biggrin:
     
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