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Science and the Stars
(true, chuckle, science)

The recent business of Heavy Boots (TM) was being discussed by my Engies
the other day when I arrived to take them for a class. (I tutor a couple
of freshman Engineer classes in Physics for the University.)  

Anyway, they were arguing about this, and decided they'd ask me what the
situation was.  I talked about gravity and how all matter/energy
gravitates, etc.  The Sun gravitates and all the stars, etc etc.  I had
to also explain that, contrary to what some of them thought, gravity
acts even when there is no air (!!); that the Moon has gravity despite
having no atmosphere.  This took some convincing(!), but I clinched it
with the experiment with the hammer and feather -- they weren't
wearing Heavy Boots, and yet still fell.

I then proceeded to discuss the nature of scientific theories, testing
hypotheses, keeping an open mind but remaining sceptical, the usual
stuff.  I tend to get very animated when I talk Physics, and raise my
voice, gesticulate, pace, and generally carry on.  After some 20 minutes
of this talk about Science (TM) and Scientific Method (TM), I finished
up with something like "So that is how Science is done.  Formulate
theories, test them and believe them only when and how far they predict
experimental results. ... Now, any questions?"

One girl up the back raises her hand, "Yes, I have one.  You got very
worked up over this -- are you a Scorpio?"

Oi veh!


ps Of course I'm not a Scorpio!!  I have a very balanced approach to
these things -- I'm a *Libra*.
Joe Voros
Department of Physics, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, 3168, Australia.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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