Saturday, November 20, 2004

Puppet show

The video above is from the future - from 2006 - but let us return to the present, 2004.

OK, last night, the G2 students (second year of graduate studies) performed their puppet show, much like every year. You know, the Harvard physics students are always making fun of their fate, and they are humiliating their professors (the puppets). Yesterday it was a lot of fun, too, but I must be much shorter because I am still typing at Linux/Mozilla which guarantees absolutely nothing:
• they started with a nice video, probably prepared with Google's Keyhole, in which the camera was approaching the Earth and focusing on the USA; Massachusetts; Cambridge; Harvard; Jefferson laboratories
• finally they switched to the elevator on the 3rd floor that did not work
• many comments were about a person who assigns the desk in our building; in my opinion, these attacks were too frequent and I did not like this portion of their show too much
• Shiraz Minwalla was presented as a power plant who always jumps in the class - very funny and very realistic :-)
• Tai Wu, David Nelson, Paul Horowitz, and especially Nima Arkani-Hamed and Andy Strominger were frequent targets of their jokes
• George W. Bush was an important puppet and he decided to study physics and eliminate the therrorists - especially the high-energy therrorists - from Massachusetts. I liked these jokes - and Nima Arkani-Hamed was, of course, very self-confident in his discussions with George W. Bush
• in fact, Bush was also concerned about the uncertainty in Massachusetts, and he was surprised that the uncertainty was even a principle
• they were fortunately nice to me. Well, they showed a video that I won't link right now, but it's the same video as one described at the Lubos Motl Fan Organization (LMFO)
• otherwise they quickly displayed several slides of a PowerPoint file that I use to teach - and argued that I explained that 24+2=26 implies some complicated one-loop correlators in string theory involving the Jacobi theta function that everyone knows from the kindergarden

• one of the jokes that I really liked was their parody of Brian Greene's Loeb lectures at Harvard - it was a very realistic parody
• Andy Strominger (the puppet) introduced Brian Greene (another puppet) by saying something along these lines: "Brian Greene became very successful by explaining our work to the stupid people. I always wondered how it's possible that a person like Brian is successful. Then I realized that it's because of his smile..."
• Brian Greene (the puppet) was then explaining that people in the 1980s discovered 2 string theories, and then 3 more string theories, which makes 5 string theories - much like 2 apples plus 3 apples is 5 apples :-)
• the students also showed a couple of entertaining anagrams, using the names of some professors
• they visited classes of Hau, Wu, and Arkani-Hamed
• their show contained commercials for various new fictitious books by Brian Greene and the physics professors at Harvard, as well as their new music CDs