Well, we’ve already been over the fact that I like recording minutiae, and that this is going to make me either a good scientist or a raving crazy person. Maybe both. Come on, many brilliant people are crazy. Ergo, if I am crazy, I must be brilliant, right? (Shhh.)
My friend Stephen ’05 (now a first-year grad student in bioengineering at Stanford) always used to keep track of the funny and/or ridiculous things our group of friends said on a daily basis (note: I was going to link to it, but then I realized 1) it is entirely inappropriate for innocent eyes, and 2) I said some really stupid stuff my freshman year). I picked up this trait and adapted it, and now I have a detailed record of the funny and idiotic things that my MIT professors have said. Actually, some of the things are more dorky than anything else, which I take as proof that even MIT professors are not above a little glee at the magic of science.
- 18.01, Calculus, fall 2002. Instructor Steven Devlin:”Once, when Gauss was in elementary school, his teacher was hung over or something and made them sum the first one hundred numbers before they could go out to recess.”
- 18.02, Multivariable Calculus, spring 2003. Professor Michael Sipser: “I have found in my previous experience teaching this course that students tend to forget this minus sign. Please do not do this unless you wish to find minus signs on your exams.”
- 8.02x, Physics E&M, spring 2003. Professor Gunther Roland: “”I firmly believe this value [for the mass of a quark] is correct, because the guy who measured it has his office two doors down from me.”
- 5.12, Organic Chemistry, fall 2003. Professor Timothy Swager: “The solvent cage effect is like when you’re at a party, and you’re talking to someone, and they’re desperately trying to get away from you, but they can’t because of the crowd. Does that ever happen to you? [Class mumbles in the negative.] Oh. Well, it happens to me.”
- 9.30/9.301/7.98, Neural Plasticity, spring 2004. Professor Matt Wilson: “The information from this neuron is delayed by about ten milliseconds. It has a layover in Chicago or something.”
- 9.09/7.29, Cellular Neurobiology, spring 2004. Professor Chip Quinn: “Neurobiology has been hugely advanced by deranged chemists and drug dealers. The motto of this class is ‘Say yes to drugs.'”
- 7.05, Biochemistry, spring 2004. Professor Michael Yaffe: “Linus Pauling was laying in bed thinking about things I’m sure you all think about in bed — structural chemistry! [Class groans.] Come on, what else is there to do in bed?”
- 9.04, Neural Basis of Vision and Audition, fall 2004. Professor M. Christian Brown: “I will now demonstrate a frequency. This is 440 Hz. [Whistles a tone.] This is, in fact, the only frequency I can demonstrate.”
- 7.23, Immunology, fall 2004. Professor Jianzhu Chen: “How do you identify which peptides are bound? [Class stares blankly. Whispers loudly,] It’s on the handout!”
Ohhh, good times.
More priceless quotes can be found at my archive.