Monday, December 30, 2013

Some Science Jokes for the New Year

Always game for a lame one or two, am I, so here are some science  jokes for the New Year:

Two theoretical physicists are lost at the top of a mountain. Theoretical physicist No 1 pulls out a map and peruses it for a while. Then he turns to theoretical physicist No 2 and says: "Hey, I've figured it out. I know where we are." 
"Where are we then?" "Do you see that mountain over there?" "Yes." "Well… THAT'S where we are."

A blowfly goes into a bar and asks: "Is that stool taken?"

A statistician is someone who tells you, when you've got your head in the fridge and your feet in the oven, that you're – on average - very comfortable.

And a couple of limericks to finish with:

A friend who's in liquor production,
Has a still of astounding construction,
The alcohol boils,
Through old magnet coils,
He says that it's proof by induction.

A mosquito was heard to complain
That chemists had poisoned her brain.
The cause of her sorrow
Was para-dichloro-

*p.s. That's DDT.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The September 1991 Mineriad

22 years ago, in September 1991, I happened to be in Bucharest.  I was working in France, which had had strong links with Romania, and so after the 1989 revolution they tried to fill the vacuum and  sent us over for the first post-communist Franco-Romanian Biophysics conference. But we weren't the only visitors: several thousand Jiu valley miners had been organized  to come and cause trouble - the "Mineriad". Nice lads, most of them. They were wearing wellies and carried sticks (see above), slept in the parks, and shouted "Jos Iliescu" ("Down with Ion Iliescu", the President). Now, this confused me because I had thought it was Iliescu who had arranged for them to come in the first place, laying on trains etc (maybe a Romanian reader can clue me in?).

The night was full of the sweet aroma of CS-gas: Jean-Louis said he'd already experienced that, much worse, in '68. Next morning, they marched to the parliament building. We tagged along, at the back, so we missed the fighting, hundreds injured, deaths etc. They petrol bombed the parliament and the Prime Minister (Petre Roman) resigned. That was a momentous visit, I guess. The conference led to my establishing a strong association with the guys there, who throughout everything had maintained a love for science. I brought students back to Germany, France and the USA, and they did great stuff.  I want to go back to Romania, back to the monasteries in Moldavia, the mountains of Transylvania, to Bucharest, and all the friends I made there. Maybe even, one day, to drink beer with miners in the Jiu valley..........