This tumblr's for all the great men and women of science for whom we owe our current understanding of the natural world; their achievements, their failures, and even their quirks, we celebrate them all.
For Science. For Inquiry. For Humanity.
The Pythagorean Cup
Pythagoras is mostly known for his theorem and not his practical jokes. I want to change this. The Pythagorean cup is a simple device designed to make people look like idiots. It contains a thin pipe that runs from the bottom of the vessel up to the top of a central column. As the cup is filled the level of liquid within the pipe matches that of the surrounding cup according to Pascal’s principle of communicating vessels. If the cup is filled above the turn in the pipe then the liquid begins to pour out the bottom. Not only that but it creates a siphon in the process, which empties the entire contents of the cup right into the gluttonous drinker’s lap. Hilarious.
CLEARLY: I don’t want to write down all the in-between steps.
TRIVIAL: If I have to show you how to do this, you’re in the wrong class.
OBVIOUSLY: I hope you weren’t sleeping when we discussed this earlier, because I refuse to repeat it.
RECALL: I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but for those of you who erase your memory tapes after every test, here it is again.
WITHOUT LOSS OF GENERALITY: I’m not about to do all the possible cases, so I’ll do one and let you figure out the rest.
ONE MAY SHOW: One did, his name was Gauss.
IT IS WELL KNOWN: See “Mathematische Zeitschrift”, vol XXXVI, 1892.
CHECK FOR YOURSELF: This is the boring part of the proof, so you can do it on your own time.
SKETCH OF A PROOF: I couldn’t verify the details, so I’ll break it down into parts I couldn’t prove.
FINALLY: Only ten more steps to go.
PROOF OMITTED: Trust me, it’s true.
Sir Ernest Rutherford, President of the Royal Academy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, related the following story:
“Some time ago I received a call from a colleague. He was about to give a student a zero for his answer to a physics question, while the student claimed a perfect…
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Albert Einstein: The chicken did not cross the road. The road passed beneath the chicken.
Isaac Newton: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross roads.
Wolfgang Pauli: There was already a chicken on this…