Welcome to Fred's page of definitions

academic Someone who studied for years with no money to get a PhD, for the privelige of a 60-70 hour per week job that offers no security and that everyone thinks is a sinecure.
adminstratium The heaviest known inert element that acts to impede all reactions.
astrologer A charlatan who gets paid a King's ransom to advise US presidents and European dictators which country they ought to invade or bomb.
biology Green stamp collecting.
chemistry Ten-volt physics.
computer Millions of transistors all working to produce confusion.
conferences Travel that academics are required to undertake largely at their own expense so that they can be interrogated and criticised by their peers.
electricity The conduction of smoke down thin pipes, which, if they break, allow it to escape.
environmental science (a) A luddite belief that all progress is evil, brokered by little eccentric men in white coats.
(b) A quantitative understanding of the physics of the Earth and the region of space it occupies.
mathematics The hammer and anvil of science.
Maxwell's equations Without these there would be no radio, TV, fibre optics, lasers, satellites ...
Microsoft Software that has changed the structure of our society, made a few people richer than many countries, and made many other people really jealous.
nuclear physics Very little to do with weapons, but the basis for much of medical diagnostic techniques.
nuclear radiation Something that everybody thinks comes from reactors and power stations, but most of which comes from rocks, bricks, good healthy food, and outer space.
physicist A well-trained scientist whose work has a huge positive influence on ordinary life and who gets to beg lowly bureaucrats for a grudgingly given trickle of hopelessly inadequate funding.
physics The fundamental science that people think is irrelevant, but is the foundation of our society and technology.
quantum mechanics The area of physics that nobody wants to understand yet provides 40% of the US GDP.
university A hallowed empire that functions best when there are no students present to disrupt proceedings.

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