Physical Chemistry Blues

M. Fennell

 

Note: Here is a light hearted look at the difficult course of Physical Chemsitry.

Scientists find this one funny. For the rest of you, if you need more explanations, read after the poem.

This also proves, once again you can write a poem about anything.

 

Physical Chemistry Blues:

The mathematics are flying
Right over my head
The Schrodinger equation tells all
But I can’t understand what it said

You’d think the solution manual would help you
But no, it is not so kind
You need an electron microscope
Just to read between the lines

How did you derive that formula?
I think you skipped some steps
If you didn’t have a Ph.D.
I’d think you were inept

I’ve got the P-Chem. blues so bad
I’m as volatile as lead
I’ve got the P-Chem. blues so bad
I wish I were an art major instead



Notes:

This poem was written with the scientist in mind, so my rule of writing so anyone can understand still applies. The intended audience was scientists, and any scientist who has taken Physical Chemistry does understand.)

 

The following explanations are for the non-scientist.


"The mathematics are flying
Right over my head
The Schrodinger equation tells all
But I can’t understand what it said"


- There is a lot of math in this course, and I mean a lot

- The biggest one is the Schrodinger equation. The reason I say it "tells all" is because it tells you everything you want to know about the position and energy of an electron. However, because it is such a cumbersome equation, it takes practice and knowledge to interpret.

 

"You’d think the solution manual would help you
But no, it is not so kind
You need an electron microscope
Just to read between the lines"


- solution manuals...these are good in principle, but in actuality (especially for college science), these manuals often don't tell you much

- the electron microscope is a variation on light. So just as you can read with light, you can see things with the electron microscope.

Of course you can see much smaller, and so "reading between the lines" with an electron microscope implies a lot more is being left out in that manual

 

"How did you derive that formula?
I think you skipped some steps
If you didn’t have a Ph.D.
I’d think you were inept"

 
- Oh yes...we've all had professors like this.

One of my favorite cartoons shows one step written on the board "and then a miracle occurs." Thats how many of us feel with a professor at some time.

 

"I’ve got the P-Chem. blues so bad
I’m as volatile as lead
I’ve got the P-Chem. blues so bad
I wish I were an art major instead"

 

- Lead is not volatile. Think of volatility as being similar to highly active.

In fact, lead is probably one of the least volatile substances, and so that means I was really down!

 

- Even though I do art and science, most people don't.

The engineers and scientists always look down on artists. Scientists do so much studying, because scientists have to know real facts. In contrast, artists just "feel" and "create." So, it is sort of a teasing or class-envy kind of thing.