“Science!” by Andrew Huff is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The great physicists, Max Planck, observed that a black lump of coal turns red when heated and he asked the question “Why?” From there, he went on to get the whole quantum physics ball rolling which eventually revolutionized life as we know it. Just about every electronic device on the planet from cell phones, to MRI machines to GPS devices owe their beginnings to that observation.

I, too, saw black coals turn red and, great mind that I am, thought: When are these hotdogs going to be ready? This is why it is generally agreed I am a much better grill cook than Max Planck ever hoped to be. In fact, word has it most of his contemporaries routinely declined invites to Planck family barbecues because he spent so much time trying to figure out why the hot coals turned red, he often let the meat burn. I, on the other hand, have more guests at a family cook out than I can handle.

I have extrapolated the mathematics from the “many worlds” theory of quantum string theory to create my “many guests” theory of family barbecues. The many guests theory postulates that, no matter how many hotdogs you purchase, four more guest will show up than you have hotdogs for. This is caused largely by the spontaneous generation of guests in the form of the girlfriends, boyfriends and roommates of younger relatives who failed to mention they were bringing someone with them.

The accumulation of twenty-somethings also leads to my ‘Schrodinger’s Beer’ theorem where beer in a cooler only exists when the lid is opened and the beer is observed by the purchaser of the beer. Otherwise, it has passed down the gullets of a bunch of broke college students while the purchaser is busy grilling hotdogs and not observing.

Mathematician and physicists, Daniel Bernoulli, was not known so much for his outdoor grilling skills as he was for his ground breaking observations involving how gas moves. This is part of the reason he was invited to so few cook outs much less dinner parties.

I, too, made my share of discoveries regarding gas and the movement thereof.

I pioneered the “away theory” of gas-based motions (also known as ‘the sound and the fury’ principle). This principle describes the distance over time your spouse moves away from sounds you make when gas moves from an area of greater confinement to an area of lesser confinement. The fury quotient is calculated by dividing the nights you must sleep on the couch against the hours you actually sleep since you are preoccupied with keeping one eye open.

A lot of people make a big deal out of Émilie du Châtelet’s observations regarding the conservation of energy. Frankly, I am underwhelmed.

Conservation of energy is a routine observation made by most wives regarding their husbands. My spouse, Marianne, has observed me conserving energy for decades. In fact, I have been conducting an on-going experiment where I plan is to win the Boston Marathon by storing up a giant surplus of energy over several years then letting it all loose in one explosive effort. This requires me to train daily in front of the television by remaining in a state of energy conservation for hours. Sometimes chips are involved.

It would be easier to conduct my study if I had the support of my wife, but she constantly interferes with my research for ridiculous reasons that usually involve work around the house. I try to explain to her that I can’t conserve energy if I am cleaning the bathroom, but I am arguing with a woefully unscientific mind. She even went so far as to suggest that she should conduct the research while I perform the tasks she normally takes care of around the house.

It is bad enough to be saddled with someone with no appreciation for the sciences. It’s even worse with one that fancies herself a comedian.