The Very Spring and Root

An engineer's adventures in education (and other musings).

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Ozzie Osmium

I just keep coming up with occasions to use this wig. Originally it was for an 80’s party. Then it was perfect for pulling a stunt in Newport Beach at which I strutted into a fancy Italian restaurant by the ocean with an entourage of groupies after visibly getting off a private yacht, wearing this wig and talking like I was on tour in the ‘States. We got seats at the piano. The third occasion involved tequila, AC/DC, and accidentally getting dragged to a sorority cocktail mixer (and I offer no further details).

Now, finally, a legitimate academic purpose.  Apparently, every year for Halloween, the science department at my residency school dresses up as elements from the periodic table. Naturally, I saw an opportunity to claim a new role for this adventure-inducing collection of fake hair.

So today I was Osmium…. the heaviest metal. Rock on.

(As an aside, we did resolve the objection that, although Iridium is a metal with a higher atomic mass, very rarely do we find a single atom of a substance. The solid structure of pure Osmium is much denser than that of Iridium, hence making Osmium the heaviest metal as it would be found or used.)

Oh yeah, and the pink was to cap off breast cancer awareness month. The students and staff raised a lot of money for the cause, thanks to the independent initiative of one of my students. Good stuff.


Ain’t No Party Like a Teacher Party

Tantalizing hints that Akil might be at the party, or at least showing up to it soon.

Last weekend, one of my BTR colleagues hosted a Halloween party. Yup. Ain’t no party like a teacher party, especially when nerdy costumes are the order of the day. Naturally, my co-resident Akil and I had to come up with geeky ways to represent Physics. When it turned out that he wasn’t going to be able to make the party after all, we hit upon the perfect costume for him.

Before the party, we were both very vague about whether or not Akil would be showing up at all. We made contradictory statements, and framed the question in terms of theoretical possibilities (note: this does not improve one’s social standing). Then, on the night of the party, I showed up with a pad of post-it notes and started posting cryptic messages all around the party, such as:

“Akil was probably here.”

“We are almost certain that Akil exists.”

“The effect of Akil’s presence is evident in the behavior of the cohort but he has not yet been observed at a social function.”

“If Akil doesn’t exist, we don’t know what to do.”

“This social interaction only makes sense if we assume Akil started it.”

…and so forth. Of course, Akil never actually shows up to the party (as per usual). Give up? He’s the Higg’s Boson! Bwaaaahahahaha….

Maxwell’s Demon shirt. A little too abstractly nerdy in retrospect.

Yes, I know, very clever, thank you.

Mine was much less easily explicable, and hence not as big of a hit. It also didn’t help that I threw it together in about an hour. I walked down to Goodwill and found a plain white tshirt, snagged some markers and a pair of devil’s ears from CVS, and put together a poor man’s Maxwell’s Demon costume. It even included two “pockets” of energy. Ha. Haha. Hahaha.

Anyway, bonus points for still remembering the Boltzmann Entropy Equation and the Boltzmann Distribution Equation (on the back of the shirt), right?

Ah, nerding out.