As it’s been nearly a month since I posted (yeah. I’ve been hosed. I still am – I just got out of my 8.02 final, and I have 5.12 tomorrow.), I decided that upon my return, I’d treat you to my collection of 18.03 quotes, all said by longtime professor Arthur Mattuck. (He’s been teaching here for over 40 years!) These quotes have peppered my notebook all term, so I’ve compiled the best of them here. Enjoy!
“If the roots are imaginary, then the dots in the applet will be blue.” (Draws dots in orange on board, waves chalk in the air.) “See? Blue.”
“And now I’m reminded of an old joke, which I will not tell you.”
“If I give you a colossal drug dosage then you’ll be dead, and the differential equation we just spent the entire class on won’t apply anymore.”
“You can tell this is an integral because I’m acting like it’s going to be an integral.”
“I think I’d better have some colored chalk in my hand; otherwise, everything will be in white and nothing will be intelligible.”
“Let’s see if we can factor this. This being 18.03 and not real life, we can always factor it.”
And my favorites, these two extended examples:
“Say there’s an arms race between New Hampshire and Vermont, them being right next to each other and all. New Hampshire suspects Vermont of sneaking across the border and attempting to destroy the Old Man on the Mountain, effectively ruining the state’s tourist trade. Meanwhile, Vermont suspects New Hampshire of smuggling Canadian maple syrup. The differential equations representing the change in the number of arms each country has are dependent on how often the two states attack each other, as shown here:
NH = x, VT = y
x’ = -2x + y
y’ = x – 2y
x(0) = 2, y(0) = 1
“New Hampshire starts out with twice as many arms, which is to be expected because they have ‘Live Free or Die’ on their license plates…”
“So on the A axis we’ll plot tr(A). Stability occurs when both A and B are greater than zero. Say it’s like a relationship, where fear of commitment occurs when A<0, and one’s competitive instinct comes into play when B<0. So up here in the first quadrant we have a normal, stable relationship, and down here in the third… oh, I don’t know, it’s like when Jennifer gets fed up with Charlie and dumps him for Janine. Or Richard. Anyway, someone more exciting than Charlie. So, yes, you can find that down here.”
Mattuck’s lectures are legendary, and there are plenty of webpages with more quotes of his. Check them out!