The Physicists' Bill of Rights
(Author Unknown)
We hold these postulates to be intuitively
obvious, that all physicists are born equal, to a first
approximation, and are endowed by their creator with certain discrete
privileges, among them a mean rest life, n degrees of freedom,
and the following rights which are invariant under all linear
transformations:

1. To approximate all problems to ideal cases.

2. To use order of magnitude calculations whenever deemed
necessary (i.e. whenever one can get away with it).

3. To use the rigorous method of "squinting" for solving
problems more complex than the addition of positive real
integers.

4. To dismiss all functions which diverge as "nasty" and
"unphysical."

5. To invoke the uncertainty principle when confronted by confused
mathematicians, chemists, engineers, psychologists,
dramatists, und andere Schweinehunde.

6. When pressed by nonphysicists for an explanation of (4) to
mumble in a sneering tone of voice something about physically
naive mathematicians.

7. To equate two sides of an equation which are dimensionally
inconsistent, with a suitable comment to the effect of,
"Well, we are interested in the order of magnitude anyway."

8. To the extensive use of "bastard notations" where conventional
mathematics will not work.

9. To invent fictitious forces to delude the general public.

10. To justify shaky reasoning on the basis that it gives the
right answer.

11. To cleverly choose convenient initial conditions, using the
principle of general triviality.

12. To use plausible arguments in place of proofs, and
thenceforth refer to these arguments as proofs.

13. To take on faith any principle which seems right but cannot
be proved.
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Last modified
Fri Jun 23 17:48:00 2000