I think Richard Feynman summed up graduate school quite well when he said it consisted almost wholly of, “canned food, lack of funds, and irregular hours.” The concept of a 9-5, 40 hr. work week is alien to me now.

On a more exciting note one of my students almost burnt his face off this past week. He violated the addage “acid to water is do what you oughter.” Or something like that, because goodness only knows what he mixed, where he got the chemicals from, and why he mixed them. I’m fairly certain their lab manual doesn’t have them mix things in proportions or in orders that result in volcanoe-like gushes of flesh-eating concentrated acid.

As soon as it happened I looked over at the student and I’ve never seen anyone so scared in my entire life. This man who has been hardened as an emergency medic on the battlefields of Iraq was shaking like a leaf in the wind. As I got him under copious amounts of water, his labmates crowded around like good rubberneckers. His wife, who also happens to be his lab partner, did not though. She kept on with the lab seemingly unaware that her husband’s face might be bubbling off. Evidently he does this a lot at home.

This is why I became a theoretician.

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