Trophy Wives Don’t Need Advanced Physics: Dubious Words of Wisdom from Physics Students

by Stephanie Chasteen on November 4, 2010

When I saw this book title, I knew I had to get a copy (and the kind folks at Pi Press were more than happy to oblige me with a review copy).  Trophy Wives Don’t Need Advanced Physics is clearly a labor of love from Mr. Korsunsky, who clearly spent many years jotting down the strange things that students say — not just when they’re learning physics, but when they’re bored or frustrated on a test, or just feeling random and silly:

Lenses fear me, mirrors want to be like me, prisms love me.

The quotes related to physics were, for me, the most fun. Especially from the kids who were clearly destined for a life of wit:

Gas laws are for suckers.

‘Tension in the spring’ – there is a lot of it when you are a horny teenager, ha-ha.

I liked this one:

[on a blank exam] Soooo easy to grade, huh?  You are most welcome.

Part of the reason I like that tongue-in-cheek response is that it lies in stark contrast to a lot of the quotes, especially in the opening chapter which is devoted to lame excuses and, well, whining.  I found the quotes in that part of the book, frankly, sad.  I heard the echoed ghosts of frustrated students, confused and not getting the point.  They complained that they hated physics, or that their mind was a blank, pleaded for mercy, expressed anger, along with terrible spelling and grammar.

Girls hate physics because it’s unfair and boring.

The country is fighting a war, for crying out loud — and here we are, separating variables… shame.

I think the car will remain at rest as long as friction isn’t exquisite.

Many of these quotes I didn’t find funny — just sad.

Other than that, my only real complaint about the book is that it could have included fewer quotes and had more of a punch.  There are so many quotes per page, it’s difficult to absorb each one and it’s individual punchline that the overall effect is a bit watered down.  A lot of the quotes are just a little quirky or silly, and one gets the sense that this little tome is the author’s attempt to preserve, for all of us, the voices of physics students from years past.  To discard any one of these would seem, perhaps, to discount that voice.  But, it’s worth reading through the mediocre quotes to get to the real gems.  If nothing else, it’s worth having this on your coffee table as a conversation starter — whether you’re a physicist, or a trophy wife.

{ 1 comment }

Boris April 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Well said, sciencegeek girl!

Thank you!


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