Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Science Jokes at Comic-Con 2012

Jokes about the law of cosines and integrals may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However if you’re the kind of person who finds the zeroth law of thermodynamic hilarious (I know I do) then there are comic strips out there for you. I’m always surprised how many science jokesters there are out there.

This year at Comic-Con International I got the chance to talk to two people who find the humor in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, poke fun at photonics and laugh at logarithms.

Bill Amend started drawing Foxtrot in 1988 and has worked in nerdy science punch lines throughout the strip. He majored in physics while at Amherst College then switched to cartooning full time after he graduated.

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My favorite fun fact about him; he claims he was briefly president of his high school’s math club until his impeachment, but doesn’t say why. My theory is he tried to divide by zero.

Jorge Cham graduated with a degree in robotics from Stanford University, and is the creator of the definitive comic about life as a grad student PhD Comics (short for Piled Higher and Deeper). It’s an often untold story, full of sleepless nights, overly demanding professors, research papers and the occasional sleep deprived zombie. Sounds like comedic gold to me.

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Cham has also started producing videos about some of the mysterious forces of science like dark matter and the Higgs boson. He also just debuted a science travel show called PdDetours where he and his team visit labs around the country. First stop, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to get the inside scoop on the rover Curiosity that just landed on Mars. Keep an eye out, because I think he’s got one about Comic-Con coming up too!

Listen to this week’s PhysicsBuzz Podcast to hear interviews with Amend and Cham.

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