Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Train wrecks

There is a fellow postdoc where I work who was a student of my adviser's good friend, Prof. K. Did you follow that? Moving forward, my adviser (call him Prof. J) and Prof. K are completely diametrically opposed personalities. Prof. J is super professional. Prof. K is extremely casual. Prof. J is a very classic gentleman. Prof. K is very frank and brutally honest. They are both quite bright and successful researchers.

Well, my fellow postdoc loves to regal us with stories of his adventures with Prof. K. My favorite story, however, is one I was directly involved in. Prof. K and my fellow postdoc (then grad student) were visiting Prof. J and our research group. The whole research group was all out to lunch at a little deli in town.

Somehow the topic of movies came up and somehow (the details are still blurry to all involved and all attempts to reconcile the events in a logical order fail and descend into insanity quickly) the topic of favorite actresses comes up. Favorite in the "looks good in a tight dress" kind of favorite.

Prof. J: "K, stop talking about this, it is not appropriate - there are women at the table"
Prof. K: "Oh, J, don't be such old puss"

Yes, he said "old puss." I laughed anxiously. Prof. K's student (now my postdoc friend), talks about Angelina Jolie being hot, etc. etc. Prof. K says he has no taste and that she is old and fake. Meanwhile, prim and proper Prof. J is slowly trying to shrink down into his chair and disappear.

Prof. K goes on to explain his favorite is a certain actress, whose name I cannot recall. He also goes on to explain, in some very interesting language, about his reasoning.

Prof. K: "Well, you see, she was quite beautiful. She was also a well known mathematician who worked on code algorithms for the Army during one of the world wars."

We all found that quite interesting and some discussion took place about cryptography and related subjects. But now it gets fun.

Prof. K: "And she was the first actress to masturbate on screen."

He just throws that out there, nonchalantly. WHAT THE @#$%??? I mean, remember, this is a gathering of research scientists. Mainly physicists and mathematicians. We are not some ex-frat guys at a business lunch in suits and ties. We are the somewhat nerdy, like talking about cryptography and quantum mechanics group. This is a group of 7 or so PhD students and researchers. Seriously, first actress to masturbate on screen... what the *$%^?

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