I challenge you to come up with an even lamer physics pun

The other day, I was in the office kitchenette, and two of my colleagues both named Paul happened to be there getting coffee. I quipped, "Oh no, is this legal? I think it's a violation of the Paul Exclusion Principle."

It was a horrible physics pun, perhaps one of the worst I've made in a long time. My challenge to you is to come up with an even worse one that you've told.

Note: You have to have actually made the pun to an appropriate audience. No fair just making one up for the purpose of the challenge.

Comments (42)
  1. Wyatt says:

    "What's new?"

    "C over lamda!"

    Solving c=μλ for μ(Mu)

  2. Eric says:

    At an Italian restaurant, "For the love of God, don't let the pasta and antipasto come into contact with each other!"

  3. Marquess says:


    Wrong letter. You're looking for ν (nu), not μ (mu).

  4. Geoffrey says:

    What's lame/horrible about it? Or is that Microspeak for "geek-only fun"?

  5. tsrblke says:

    Oh, Raymond it's on!  I will send over my physicist wife to list all her puns.  They get pretty bad.  I'll list the most recent:

    Me: And [grocery store a] has a vertical monopoly on milk

    Her: Well at least it's not a secant monopoly.

    She prefers to not talk about that one (it was just bad.)  But she's got a ton others.

  6. DAG says:

    Actually, it was probably okay as long as they have opposite spin (or no spin, implying they are Bosons for which the exclusion principle does not apply).

    I'm certain I've told some real stinkers in my time, though I can't remember any of them at the moment.

  7. TomFromEHNJ says:

    A proton walks into a bar and says "Excuse me – I'm missing an electron"

    Bartender says "Are you sure?"

    Proton says "Yeah, I'm positive!"

  8. ToddLa says:

    The classic HeisenBug

  9. keith says:

    If chemistry is understood to be applied physics, I have a lame one from my high school AP chem class.  My final project was recreating the first generation of synthetic polymers (for example urea-formaldehyde, phenol-formaldehyde and thiokol rubber), and I decided to also include natural-based polymers that were in use in the late 19th and early 20th century (though I never got permission to try for nitrocellulose!).  Casein, a milk protein, was used in paints and coatings until about world war II (aha, thanks internet — en.wikipedia.org/…/Casein_paint).  

    In any event, after extracting, purifying and stabilizing the casein from milk, in presenting the product to the teacher I declared in a surfer voice "Casein … no way" (that is, "No whey").

  10. Barbie says:

    Gosh, I wonder how Paul and Paul reacted to that joke. Did they get it ?

  11. Someone You Know says:

    Not exactly a pun, but…

    A bar walks into a physicist — oh, wait, wrong reference frame.

  12. DWalker says:

    Not a pun, but once I was standing in a group of three other people named David (as am I), all chatting amiably.  A friend of mine also named David walked by (we were in a bar) and, of course, I had to introduce him to the rest of the group, since they weren't acquainted with him. I only used first names, of course.  That was fun, and I'm sure it will never happen again in my lifetime.

  13. Robin Williams says:

    A friction-related A-level (UK) Maths/Physics joke:

    There are two kittens on a sloping roof.  Which one falls off first?

    The one with the smallest μ.

  14. Joshua says:

    SchrodenBug, MandelBug, HeisenBug, BohrBug.

    See the Jargon File.

  15. "The Joy of Specs".

  16. Dan Bugglin says:

    "If chemistry is understood to be applied physics…"

    Oblig: http://xkcd.com/435/

  17. Julian says:

    I was doodling one during a physics demonstration involving a Cathode Ray Oscilloscope.

    I drew one with wings, flying past a weather-vane, captioned "Due west as the CRO flies."

  18. Rick Brewster says:

    The last time I went on vacation, I put a post-it note outside my door. I drew a mushroom cloud and wrote, "Gone fission …" (instead of "gone fishin'")

  19. Daniel says:

    A few years ago in college, I had a chemistry class with an unpopular teacher, who had a remarkably rotund figure. Nearly everyone in class failed her first test. I was one of the very few who passed — with a pretty good grade, no less. During lunch, upon hearing this, my friends joked about me having an affair with her. I replied, "I'm sorry, the attraction I feel towards her is merely gravitational".

  20. Amanjit Singh Gill says:

    Pi talking to sqrt(-1) aka i

    sqrt(-1): "Be Rational"

    Pi:       "Get Real"

  21. Horst Kiehl says:

    As you're interested in the German language, here's a somewhat lame physics joke I recently read that is a pun in German: Kommt ein Neutron zur Disko. Sagt der Türsteher: "Heute nicht – nur geladene Gäste."

    And if that wasn't enough, it was followed by an attempt at continuation: Neutron: "Wenn Sie wüssten, wie ich innerlich geladen bin!" Türsteher: "So ein Quark!"

    [For non-German speakers: A neutron goes to a disco. The bouncer says, "Not today. Only invited [geladen] guests." (Geladen also means "charged".) Neutron: "But if you knew how charged [geladen] I am on the inside!" Bouncer: "What baloney!" [or "What a quark!"] (I'm so proud of myself that I got the joke.) -Raymond]
  22. a random passerby says:

    Not physics, but I frequently harp on how czechs are the most discriminated against people in the United States. After all, how many places have you walked into where there was a sign reading "no checks accepted"?

  23. waleri says:

    Unit of publicity – milli-kan

  24. Mnemonic for remembering gold = Au:

    A robber steals your gold watch. What do you do?

    You yell: "A! U! Give me back my watch!"

  25. Joe Dietz says:

    We once got an email from HR stating that a particular person named 'Paul' had been dismissed today and that they where not to be let back into the building.  Okay, fine, except the 'Paul' named was the wrong person, it was actually a different 'Paul'.  The HR representative corrected this by saying "Well we have too many 'Pauls' here…".  Several months later the "too many Pauls" problem was resolved via layoffs.  Go figure.

  26. John Muller says:

    Not physics related, however I once tried to buy perfume from a vending machine, but it was out of odor.

    re: Heisenbugs; Once I was searching some source code investigating a bug, and the word 'heisenbug' in the comments of some unrelated code caught my eye. I ended up filing a new bug, with a link to one of Raymonds older posts (blogs.msdn.com/…/5478031.aspx)

  27. kog999 says:

    a neutron walked into a bar and said "I’d like a beer, please."

    After the bartender gave him one, he said "How much will that be?"

    "For you?" said the bartender "No charge."

  28. kog999 says:

    Bartender goes, "Hey, what's the rush?"

    Tachyon walks into a bar and says "Gimme a beer, now!"

  29. Kaspar says:

    The exponential function and the constant function were out walking. Suddenly, on the other side of the street, they see the differential operator coming. Obviously, the constant function panics and runs away. However, the exponential function goes over to present itself:

    "Hi, I'm exp(x)"

    Reply: "Hi, I'm d/dy"

  30. Krunch says:

    I love telling this one that I first read in a Slashdot comment:

    Heisenberg is driving his car on the motorway when he gets pulled over by a policeman.

    Policeman: Do you know how fast you were going there?

    Heisenberg: No, but I know where I am.

  31. Guillermo says:

    I've dropped the "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate" a few times…

  32. Brendan says:

    Was discussing a bunch of new sushi places opening in the neighborhood recently (3 within a month!) – one of which was a Thai-Sushi fusion place. I commented that it seemed rather odd to me, since sushi is usually considered a product of fishin'.

  33. Brian Marshall says:

    Not physics related, but this is my favorite workplace pun. Not mine, but I was there when it happened. It was in 1990, so I'm paraphrasing a bit.

    I'm at a workplace in Ottawa, with a team that was a mixture of anglophones and francophones. One of our team members was Vietnamese. He had just got back from a haircut, a radical buzz-cut which removed most of his hair.

    Anglophone: What happened to your hair?

    Vietnamese Haircut Guy: Got a haircut? Do you like it?

    Anglophone : Looks like somebody attacked your head.

    Francophone : Il a une tête offensive..

  34. steveg says:

    My fave is always:

    D Y D X we doing this?

    (why the heck we doing this)

  35. Drak says:

    Background: I'm Dutch.

    In discussing some of the posts here with one of my colleagues he asked me:

    Dus jij vindt dit grappig? (So you find this funny?)

    Me: Ja, dit soort humor is lollig. (Yep, this sort of humor is funny.)

    Him: Soms verschilt onze humor. (Our sense of humor sometimes differs.)

    Me: Vrij radicaal zelfs (Quite radically even, or.. 'Free radical (even)')

  36. icabod says:

    I've occasionally used the following statement when questioning something:

    "Why Oh Why Oh Why… is the structure of my chromosomes."

  37. Humus says:

    More of a math pun, but I frequently drop this one:

    Q: What's up?

    A: (0,1,0)

  38. Saveddijon says:

    Somewhat related to physics: the following happened in the student lounge just before our circuit theory exam.

    I was describing how I lost some files on an Amiga floppy and I had to run some recovery utility whose name I can't remember to get the files back.

    Fellow student: "Oh, so it's a Norton equivalent."

  39. John Kerr says:

    My example physics pun is here:


    (no ads, unless you count the Mark Rothko widget in the sidebar)

  40. Munchus says:

    It's not a pun but ….

    An Electron in search of a mate,

    found Heisenberg worthy of hate,

    for whenever he could

    find someone who would

    he'd miss or else he'd be late

  41. Marius says:

    I think the pun was great (though not very exact, it could still be legal if they had opposite spins). Don't understand why you think it's horrible.

  42. Geek Me says:

    This really happened a long time ago:

    Boss: Hey, the new person we're hiring is going to be lady.  Hopefully we can integrate her well with us.

    Geek A: I think we should differentiate her.

    Geek Me: If she's smooth enough, we can differentiate her several times.

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