Heard any good laser jokes lately?

That’s not even funny. As many of my readers already know, I’m not usually a gambler but for once I’d be willing to bet real money (i.

Mar 1st, 2005

That’s not even funny. As many of my readers already know, I’m not usually a gambler but for once I’d be willing to bet real money (i.e., more than $10) that your answer to the question above would be a rapid furrowing of the brows followed by a vague shrug of the shoulders and a mumbled grunt indicating the negative.

Which reminds me of the story about two atoms who bumped into each other. The first one exclaims, “I think I lost an electron.” The other atom asks, “Are you sure?” The first atom sputters, “I’m positive!” OK, OK, I can hear the worldwide groans already. I never did get no respect.

But seriously, folks, when was the last time you heard a good laser joke or any laser joke that would be both funny and printable in a respectable publication such as Laser Focus World? I’ve heard enough of the weakly risqué puns based on the first syllable of the word “laser.” Spare me! And as for the warning notice that is in every laser lab-“Do not stare into the laser beam with your remaining good eye!”-that’s pretty pitiful either as a joke or as a warning.

As I rapidly discovered, finding good laser jokes is no laughing matter. But, on behalf of my loyal readers, I persisted. It’s dirty work, but someone has to do it. So I went on an extensive web search for funny laser jokes but the results were nothing to laugh about.

As a matter of fact, I did find an initially promising site whose URL is www.sciencejokes.com and is complete with a section on physics jokes. However, this particular Web site is full of insanely weak and sophomoric, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” types of jokes.

I did chuckle over this one, however, “Richard Feynman: Why did the chicken cross the road? Answer: Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman!” Enough already, no more chicken jokes. As you might expect, the late Professor Feynman looms large in the pantheon of funny physicists. Example: “Physics is like sex: sure it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it.” Lack of space prevents me from offering more Feynman gems but I recommend his book most highly.

And, speaking of fowl jokes, felines seem to figure frequently in the physics jokes spectrum. The long-suffering Schroedinger’s cat comes in for much abuse. Example: “Notice in Californian physics lab-Wanted, dead or alive: Schroedinger’s Cat.”

And then there are the innumerable Werner Heisenberg jokes: Two physicists meet at a seminar. One says, “I don’t know what is wrong with Heisenberg lately. He seems so sure of himself.” Those two chucklers are from a well-organized science jokes database maintained by Joachim Verhagen (www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes). Some of the jokes are even mildly amusing but there are no real knee-slappers here.

Joachim is also guilty of uttering this hoary old one-liner, “Old laser physicists never die, they just become incoherent.” Well, “!@#$% &*()>.” One thing is for sure; old laser physicists are never going to die laughing. As Queen Victoria said, “We are not amused.”

So, I am prepared to put my own modest money where my big mouth is. Send me your best (or worst) laser joke and I will award ten of Uncle Sam’s freshly-minted crisp greenbacks to the emitter of the one that elicits even a modest guffaw from my toughest critic. “Take my wife. Please.”

E-mails only to the address below. My circular file is empty and waiting for your best shots. Keep the submissions short and you’ll increase your chances of (a) being read and/or (b) getting published and immortalized in the august pages of Laser Focus World. You have been warned.

By the way, did you hear the one about the neutrino who walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “How much for a beer?” Quick as a flash, the bartender says, “For you, no charge.” That’s from www.physlink.com/fun/jokes. Sorry about that, guys.

“Say Goodnight, Jeffrey!”

Stop me if you’ve heard this one . . .

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