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Physics personalities

  1. Aug 2, 2004 #1
    What personality traits have you noted among physicists? Are generalizable patterns of behavior apparent to you when participating with this profession? Do particular psychologies accompany those successful in the field?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2004 #2
    What I have noticed is that some are very narrow-minded and very self-confident when it comes to their own beliefs.
     
  4. Aug 3, 2004 #3

    selfAdjoint

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    Meaning that they won't roll over and play dead for any woozy new idea that comes along?
     
  5. Aug 3, 2004 #4
    >> What personality traits have you noted among physicists?
    Arrogance and feeling superior to other natural sciences would come to my mind at first.
     
  6. Aug 3, 2004 #5

    Math Is Hard

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    Wow! how did physicists get such a bad rep?
     
  7. Aug 3, 2004 #6

    chroot

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    Physicists are mostly white males with huge chips on their shoulders. Good thing they're too scrawny to deliver anything but academic beatings, or they'd rule the planet.

    - Warren
     
  8. Aug 3, 2004 #7

    Math Is Hard

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    I tend to think of physicists as.. well, not exactly absent-minded, but perpetually preoccupied by some train of thought that they need to finish working out. For example, the way Feynman had to spend two or three weeks following ants around just to try to figure them out. (something I read in "Surely You Must be Joking, Mr Feynman") From what I have heard, Einstein was known to be a little bit "spacey" too at times.
     
  9. Aug 3, 2004 #8
    Sarcasm. (Forum specific, I suppose.)













    Chaos. Disorder. Widespread panic. My work is done here.
     
  10. Aug 3, 2004 #9
    Extremely difficult question. I've never met a physicist. All my impressions come from books about them, or from their own writings.
    Hmmm. There are professional physicists, and then there are famous physicists; those who have made important breakthroughs. The latter are are different animal than the former, despite both being involved in physics. People who make breakthroughs in any field are not typical representatives of that field. A list of the great physicists is a list of atypical physicists. You can't really generalize about a "physics personality" from them.
    If we try to find a personality trait common to the famous, "breakthrough" physicists, I can't think of one that applies to them all, except maybe 'boldness". The same would be true of the "breakthrough" people in any field, though, not just physics.

    I would say with a fair amount of confidence that anyone who succeeds in establishing a carrear in physics probably has the capacity to be meticulous. I can't think of a non-meticulous physicist.
     
  11. Aug 3, 2004 #10

    Evo

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    I've dated two phycisists and they were as different as night and day. One was a nuclear physicist and he was a bit quiet and introspective, the other was an inventor working in R&D for a very large corporation with a number of US patents in his name and he was extremely outgoing and fun loving.

    Biochemists will bore you to death watching reruns of The Golden Girls and ruin your car. :grumpy:
     
  12. Aug 4, 2004 #11

    Janitor

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    The story is told that when he got back from his honeymoon, he had to wake up the landlord late at night because he had forgotten to take his door key with him.
     
  13. Aug 4, 2004 #12
    That's nothin'. The one I heard is that the switchboard operator at Princeton gets a call something like this:

    "Could you please tell me the address of Professor Einstein's residence?"

    "I'm sorry sir, I'm not permitted to give out that information. For privacy reasons."

    "Oh, that's alright. I am Professor Einstein. I've been out strolling and now I can't remember how to get back to my house."
     
  14. Aug 4, 2004 #13

    chroot

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    If only I could be so gifted. :redface:

    - Warren
     
  15. Aug 4, 2004 #14
    75% are men
    and 98% usses glasses...

    I'm guessing here from what I have seen.

    ohhh and I don't know why but many hate biology, like a kind of fobia
     
  16. Aug 4, 2004 #15
    I usually think of eccentricity ofcourse. Its not just the physicist, look at the mathematicians. Norbert Wiener and Paul Erdos.

    Norbert Wiener -

    Wiener was in fact very absent minded. The following story is told about him: When they moved from Cambridge to Newton his wife, knowing that he would be absolutely useless on the move, packed him off to MIT while she directed the move. Since she was certain that he would forget that they had moved and where they had moved to, she wrote down the new address on a piece of paper, and gave it to him. Naturally, in the course of the day, an insight occurred to him. He reached in his pocket, found a piece of paper on which he furiously scribbled some notes, thought it over, decided there was a fallacy in his idea, and threw the piece of paper away. At the end of the day he went home (to the old address in Cambridge, of course). When he got there he realized that they had moved, that he had no idea where they had moved to, and that the piece of paper with the address was long gone. Fortunately inspiration struck. There was a young girl on the street and he conceived the idea of asking her where he had moved to, saying, "Excuse me, perhaps you know me. I'm Norbert Wiener and we've just moved. Would you know where we've moved to?" To which the young girl replied, "Yes daddy, mommy thought you would forget."

    Paul Erdos -

    On one occasion, Erdös met a mathematician and asked him where he was from. "Vancouver," the mathematician replied. "Oh, then you must know my good friend Elliot Mendelson," Erdös said.

    The reply was "I AM your good friend Elliot Mendelson."
     
  17. Aug 4, 2004 #16
    Something like that, yes. If the idea is woozy, whatever that means.
     
  18. Aug 4, 2004 #17
    Lucky girl! I would love to date a physicist - if he had all the other necessary qualities that I crave for in a man, of course.
     
  19. Aug 4, 2004 #18

    Tsu

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    Why are you being rude, Warren?
     
  20. Aug 4, 2004 #19
    You mean tall, dark and handsome :surprise:
     
  21. Aug 4, 2004 #20

    chroot

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    I'm sorry, it was a joke... hell, I'm essentially a physicist. :redface:

    - Warren
     
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