# Irreverent Review

I don't do spoilers. I do spout off about themes.

## “The Night Before [Physics] Finals”

My brilliant daughter-in-law, Laura Keith McMaster, wrote this in the midst of her almost nonstop studying:

### The Night Before [Physics] Finals

A harmonic oscillator in classical mechanics (A-B) and quantum mechanics (C-H). In (A-B), a ball, attached to a spring, oscillates back and forth. (C-H) are six solutions to the Schrödinger Equation for this situation. The horizontal axis is position, the vertical axis is the real part (blue) or imaginary part (red) of the wavefunction. (C,D,E,F), but not (G,H), are stationary states (energy eigenstates), which come from solutions to the Time-Independent Schrödinger Equation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twas the night before finals, when all through the house
The computer was whirring, with the clicks of a mouse.
The Eigen values were calculated and written with care,
In hopes that my A+ soon would be there.

The TISE‘s were nestled, all snug in their function,
Later the time dependent was added in junction.
When writing operators, remember the hat,
Or suffer the fate of Schrodinger’s cat.

Uncertainty Principle, give Heisenberg his due,
Greater than or equal to, h bar over two.
A hard working student with an excellent teacher,
Makes acing the PGRE an attractive feature.

Angular momentum equal r cross p,
Without spherical coordinates, an atrocity.
Commutator [x, p] means x times p minus p times x,
a canonical relations gives you h-bar complex.

Mechanics of quantum, and the vibrations,
Give Quantum Computing and more applications.
The giants before me gave quantum its birth,
The proofs they came up with are of great worth.

I am amazed how the Schrodinger equations,
come round and round with completing permutations.
Fingers are numb and brain is so tired,
Must keep going so Clark won’t get fired.

We love to learn the quantum theory,
But the convoluted algebra makes us all teary.
DeBroglie says that lambda equals h over p,
This elegant solution has filled me with glee.

Quantum proving mechanics gives me delight,
I throw my hands up, exclaim “This is the life!”

Written by Jodi McMaster

December 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

### 35 Responses

1. You sound like my daughter Heather who is at Arizona State studying for her Physics exam. Good luck to you Jodi and to your future!

segmation

December 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

• Your daughter; my daughter-in-law. Good luck to Heather as well. I have started thinking I need to go back to school to converse with her and my son. Or start talking Shakespeare and Chaucer at them.

Jodi McMaster

December 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

2. very nicely written…. reminded me of many things i read years back

priyank

December 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

3. Ah finals. Best of luck! Red Bull, Starbucks, Red Bull, Starbucks oh and studying!

sportsandthecross

December 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

4. That is a great poem and very informative, too. I enjoyed reading it, very catchy.

Julia Garrison's blog

December 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

5. Wow, color me impressed – I thought studying for physics finals was plenty difficult even when I wasn’t poetically multitasking! Although I also never thought “this is the life!” about physics, so…
Good luck on the final!

toughlittlebirds

December 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm

6. Reminds me of my similar chemistry exam studies. Nice writing!

scottmathson

December 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

7. This is exactly how I feel within my love-hate relationship with Physics. Very well written.

pixelednina

December 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm

8. Very clever.

I do enjoy a bit of creativity on an unsuspecting topic.

Well done.

http://www.cartoonmick.wordpress.com

Cheers

Mick

cartoonmick

December 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

9. This was really good..reminded me of the time i used to struggle with physics.

pseudomonaz

December 15, 2012 at 4:07 am

10. Reblogged this on Ashok Bhattarai.

Ashok Bhattarai

December 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

11. Physics was one of my worst nightmares in high school. You make it sound like fun. Thanks for this humorous poem!

dearferrero

December 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm

12. i loved physics and have to admit it is one of the funniest post i have read

assortedanomalies

December 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

13. Very interesting!

matznicblogpress8

December 16, 2012 at 3:09 am

14. Intriguingly written!

neutralkiseki

December 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

15. good graphics, good humor — good luck!

Laura Hedgecock

December 16, 2012 at 11:58 am

16. sigh. i was ‘there’ once. (fyzzyx major, diggin’ the quantum (& the relativity)). now, yeeerz laytur, what with the half-life/lives of remembering the stuff, it’s mostly all gone. thanx for joggulating the memory, a little!

December 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

17. this is too funny…hahaha…thanks for the uplift…

kccruz

December 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

18. too bad I’m in anatomy

kkayser

December 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm

19. I like it. Great!

Robert Jann

December 17, 2012 at 12:48 am

20. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

OyiaBrown

December 17, 2012 at 9:08 am

21. Reblogged this on Susan Daniels Poetry and commented:
What fun!

Susan L Daniels

December 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm

22. I love reading stuff where very serious and complex subjects are made fun of. I once wrote something about Schrodinger’s cat and how the experiment was doomed to failure because you can’t get a cat into a box if it doesn’t ant to go

December 18, 2012 at 6:50 am

23. Really witty! Congratulations! May I reblog your post? Happy holidays!

joaquinbarroso

December 18, 2012 at 11:09 am

• Thanks for asking; yes, you may. It’s the work of my daughter-in-law, Laura Keith McMaster, so please be sure to credit her for the authorship.

Jodi McMaster

December 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm

24. Reblogged this on Dr. Joaquin Barroso's Blog and commented:
All credit is due to Laura Keith McMaster! Also thanks to irreverentreview.com for allowing me to reblog this witty post.
Thanks to all readers who’ve been following my blog, I wish you all a very happy holiday season and may the following year be filled with interesting and publishable data!

joaquinbarroso

December 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm

25. The thought of eigen values is enough to make my visions of sugar plums run away and leave me with nightmares.

Heather - Words of A Ragger

December 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm

26. Really nice!

thisisnotanid

January 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm

27. My son just finished his last physics class, we hope. Sleepless nights (studying) and worry. He is now getting a Ph.d in Invertebrate (molecular) paleontology. It took a lot of spell checking just to type this.
Just a short time ago he was an auto mechanic, thought he would go to the Junior College and take some classes. I always told my children, anythings possible when you find your passion. Thanks for your post!

D. A. Hartley

January 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm

28. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I learned in grad school, who those people were who were my colleagues, and what I think about those who were more or less “successful” during and after their graduate studies. I suppose most “normal” graduates would disagree with me but my warning to anyone thinking that a course of studies in physics (any science really) teaches you anything of creative value is that it does not. And not just “maybe” or “a little bit” but absolutely and positively nothing. Perhaps that only applies if you really want to understand. If you’re just looking for a job turning the crank, then of course the training and the degree is necessary. That is what is designed for. That is ALL it is designed for. Creative work, alas, is not on the syllabus. Creative work is always, and will always be: isolating, antagonizing, threatening, against the grain, terrifying, and exceptional. I would not be surprised if none of my former grad school colleagues, successful or unsuccessful in academic careers, are going against the grain. Perhaps the most interesting point of all is that “the grain” itself is not clearly evident. That is why trends persist and prejudices endure: people don’t see them. If you’d like to read insights from some of the great scientists I have interviewed you’ll find them in the chapters of this book that I wrote: www(dot)tengerresearch(dot)com(slash)learning

lincolnstoller

January 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

lincolnstoller

January 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm

• Not having been a scientist myself (the poem was written by my daughter-in-law), I can’t speak specifically to that area of endeavor, but I’d agree with you in a general sense. One of my history professors, in a discussion of the industrial revolution, observed that formal education teaches you to conform. Years later, my stepfather, a very successful businessman, echoed that, saying that education doesn’t really encourage innovation.

And I believe people pigeonhole creativity as an “arts” thing, which it clearly is not. And I think most academics have so much of their self-identity and worth in being “right,” because that’s what school usually teaches: that there’s a “right” answer to everything, and you are rewarded for being “right.” I think that we need a major paradigm shift across education, from elementary school through grad school, that’s going to be hard to get done (hell, we still work off an agriculturally based academic year, and how many of us are still farmers or ranchers?).

Education, like most establishments, favors the status quo. And for education, the status quo is the model of teacher as dispenser of information. But now we can get information at our fingertips. What needs to be taught in all subjects, I believe, are skills in managing, critiquing, evaluating and problem-solving information. There’s a significant group of education theorists who promote that; sadly, higher education generally doesn’t require much of its educators in terms of their knowledge of the process of education. We tend to teach as we were taught. And teaching in the newer model doesn’t lend itself to easy quantification, as well as being far more difficult to learn to do.

Seems like there’s been a lot of research generally about why we don’t think as scientifically or objectively as we like. Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed that out in law over a century ago: must judges start out with how a case should be decided (often not explicitly) and then make the reasoning suit the outcome. That’s a little easier to see than with the “objectivity” that the scientific method, at least on its face, seems to ensure. But we all are selective about the information we consider significant in evaluating anything.