APS News

November 1995 (Volume 4, Number 10)

The Physicists' Bill of Rights

Author Unknown

We hold these postulates to be intuitively obvious, that all physicists are born equal, to a first approximation, and are endowed by their creator with certain discrete privileges, among them a mean rest life, n degrees of freedom, and the following rights, which are invariant under all linear transformations:

I. To approximate all problems to ideal cases.

II. To use order of magnitude calculations whenever deemed necessary (i.e., whenever one can get away with it).

III. To use the rigorous method of "squinting" for solving problems more complex than the additions of positive real integers.

IV. To dismiss all functions which diverge as "nasty" and "unphysical".

V. To invoke the uncertainty principle whenever confronted by confused mathematicians, chemists, engineers, psychologists, dramatists, and andere schweinhund.

VI. To the extensive use of "bastard notations" where conventional mathematics will not work.

VII. To justify shaky reasoning on the basis that it gives the right answer.

VIII. To cleverly choose convenient initial conditions, using the principle of general triviality.

IX. To use plausible arguments in place of proofs, and thenceforth refer to those arguments as proofs.

X. To take on faith any principle which seems right but cannot be proved.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Barrett H. Ripin

November 1995 (Volume 4, Number 10)

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Articles in this Issue
APS March Meeting Returns to St. Louis in 1996
Sonoluminescence, Applications Featured at SCCM Meeting
Multi-Faceted Kloor Tries To Break Mold of Traditional Scientist
Physicists To Be Honored at November Meetings
The Physicists' Bill of Rights
FIAP Is Now Largest Forum; Elects First Slate of Officers
In Brief
APS Views
Why Dumping the DOE's Key Missions Is a Bad Idea
The Back Page