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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Pervnert by Sam M. '07

This entry is not suitable for children under 7 or finite-volume, compressible vapors.

DID YOU KNOW? The MIT PE Lottery for the fourth quarter starts today. Don’t forget, Mitra!

I solemnly swear to starr writing entries MIT again soon.

But I was thinking today, as I sometimes do, when I am not doing problem sets or 6.002 labs or running 20 miles or buying 843 dollars worth of Boston Celtics tickets, about my most memorable moments of learning in history. Surely, Dr. Sarah Tabacco writing “NOT FLAT” in three-foot-tall letters thoroughly ingrained the structure of cyclobutane in my mind, and I probably won’t forget anything about the state of American Civil War medicine after Professor Merritt Roe Smith very nearly demonstrated a bone saw on an unsuspecting victim in STS.001. But I the single most memorable moment this video that I watched, oh, I guess about five years ago today in Honors Chemistry. It was a video about VSEPR and gas laws produced by the inimitable Standard Deviants.

Well, there were a lot of interesting things in this film, like two sphinxes solemnly intoning “intermolecular forces” and a high school bully’s demonstration of the Pauli Exclusion Principle. The pivotal scene, however, involved a youth skipping down a lonely suburban street before encountering an imposing and shadowy character in a trenchcoat. All motion in the room seemed to freeze as the shadowy character opened his coat, revealing nothing but a strategically-placed cardboard sign bearing only the inscription “PV = nRT.”


Mr. RR Sweger, Jr., paused the video and told us, “Now you will never forget the ideal gas law, no matter how hard you try.”

Hey, this was intended for high school students, okay?

Two years later in AP Chemistry, Mr. Sweger confided in us that he had, in fact, lost his copy of this video while packing up his room and he would, in fact, provide 20 extra credit points to any student who could procure him another copy. With both eBay and Amazon beginning to hit their crazy compendious strides around this time, finding one was not difficult–alas, however, it turned out that the questionable scene in question had been removed in the newest version of the video. Only those editions prior to the 3rd contained it.

Much like Sam’s Mom feared in the months prior to my birth that her son would never know the taste of Coca-Cola Classic, I fear that generations of high school students will fail to learn the ideal gas law because they will never see this scene.

So, has anybody out there heard of this one?

5 responses to “Pervnert”

  1. Analiese says:

    My Chem teacher always said “Pivnert” mostly because she didn’t want to deal with the screams of 15 year old high school girls. Haha

  2. Chris says:

    PERVNERT!!! *sigh* Oh the days of AP Chem with Sweg-dawg. It’s such a sad thing that that scene no longer exists. Oh well, at least I got to produce a good reenactment of it all day during senior dress up day. Sweg has a picture of it.

  3. Phil says:


    Hmm, and to think my last 3 science teachers have been pronouncing it wrong all this time. They have always said pIVnert…it’s pretty obvious that this version lacks the handy connotations of yours and would definatley make the “missing scene” way more confusing.

    I can….see….everything so….clearly now.

  4. If you turn the terminating “t” sound into a “d”, it becomes pervnerd. Which is a VERY easy mental picture to remember… unfortunately.

  5. Star says:

    We watched this in my honors chem class, too! Only two years ago.. and my teacher similarly lost her copy. Hmm.. could it be a national conspiracy?