Physicists are normal people too

A month or so ago, my wife and I had a day of being tourists in Rotorua. While at the bottom of the Skyline Gondola, which takes people up to the luge tracks, I was accosted by a researcher carrying out surveys on tourism in the Rotorua region. Being a helpful sort of guy, I volunteered to do the on-line questionnaire on a laptop that had been set up just for the purpose. This was straightforward enough, with the only amusement coming from the failure of the system to grasp that any tourist could be spending zero nights in Rotorua, but the most fascinating thing was the conversation that ensued between the researcher and my wife:

Researcher: What does your husband do?

Wife: He’s a lecturer at Waikato University

Researcher: Really? What does he teach?

Wife: Physics

Researcher: Oh

Quite. This is a typical example of what happens when I tell people about my employment. It kills conversation faster than revealing you are a member of some fruit-loop tree-hugging religious cult.  Sometimes I wish I had a normal job, such as plumber, bus driver or astronaut, but physicist it is and I need to make the best of it. Which is part of the reason for this blog, I guess. Physicists are normal people too. After a bit of a pause, the researcher continued the conversation with

"…so why is a physicist doing something normal like luging?"

One thought on “Physicists are normal people too”

  • Here is proof that physicists are not normal.
    Normal people don’t estimate how much energy it would take to climb a mountain, and they eat all the chocolate before getting in the car. And when they get to the foot of said hillock, they looks up and say “maybe not” and find a friendly cafe.
    And they certainly never go luging.
    From someone who didn’t pass fifth or sixth or seventh form physics (I dropped it) – great stuff, you make physics sound… fun. Look forward to more.

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