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Physics Jokes and Newton

If it wasn't for Thomas Alva Edison, we'd all be watching TV to the light of a candle.

Allegedly at the "Manhattan Project" where the first nuclear reactor was built, security was very tight and the workers were told not to tell their families what they were doing. During a security check the families were asked if they knew what their working parent did at work. One young lad replied that his father worked in a place that made light bulbs and toilet paper. When asked how he knew, he replied that his father brought a roll of toilet paper and a light bulb home every day in his lunch box.

When a certain nuclear physicist went on holidays he hung a sign on his laboratory door which read: "Gone Nuclear Fission."

All the physicists are playing hide and seek. Einstein is the ‘den’ and stands against the wall with his eyes closed and counts till 100 to enable all the physicists to run and hide. At the count of 100 Einstein turns around and finds Newton standing there.
He screams, “Newton, you are out!” Newton says, “No, I ‘m not!”
Einstein says, “Yes, you are. I can see you here in front of me”.
Newton says, “I’m not out. Pascal is.”
Einstein is a bit confused and starts to scratch his head and beard.
Newton says “Here, Let me explain”
He draws a square one meter by one meter on the floor and stands in the middle of it and says,
“Newton per meter square is a Pascal, so it’s Pascal who’s out not me”

When was Heisenberg born?
Oh, that's very uncertain.

When a snail crossed the road, he was run over by a turtle. Regaining consciousness in the emergency room, he was asked what caused the accident. "I really can't remember," the snail replied. "You see, it all happened so fast."

This sign was hung up in a physics / electricity room
"Hangin' With My Ohmies"

Researchers in Fairbanks Alaska announced last week that they have discovered a superconductor which will operate at room temperature.

Absolute zero is cool!

Rene Descartes sits down for lunch at a Parisian restaurant. The waitress asks for his order. He orders a hamburger.
The waitress inquires, "Would you like fries with that? " Descartes says, "I think not," ...and instantly disappears.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. Descartes' methodology was a major influence in the transition from medieval science and philosophy to the modern era. Notorious for his famous phrase, "Cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am).
In 1664, while still a student, Newton studied both the mathematics and the physics of Descartes and was influenced by his approach through experiment.

Gravity is a law. Lawbreakers will be brought down!

Q: Does light have mass?
A: Of course not. It's not even Catholic!!!

"I wish I had invented the telegraph," he replied remorsefully

Why did the chicken cross the road?
Aristotle: It is the nature of chickens to cross roads.

Aristotle and His Mentor Plato

Aristotle (384-322 BC) was one of the great philosophers and scientists of ancient Greece. He was rather like a modern scientist: he looked at the facts of the real world that he could see and then tried to work out new ideas from these facts.

Plato (428-347 BC) an ancient Greece philosopher, had enormous influence on the thought and literature of the word. He was the most famous pupil of the Greek teacher Socrates. Most of his writings are included in 27 dialogues and their interest was "what man's life should be". His influence on the world's science and thinking lasted almost 2000 years.

Ivan Ivanovich, the great Russian scientist does an experiment. He wants to know how fast a thermometer falls down. He takes a thermometer and a light, a candle light. He drops both from the 3rd floor and recognizes that they are reaching the ground at the same time. Ivan Ivanovich, the great Russian scientist writes in his book: A thermometer falls with the speed of light.

Definition of "electron".
What the US did in 1980 and 1984 (Ronald Reagan).

Seen on the door to a light-wave lab:
"Do not look into laser with remaining good eye."

Heisenberg is out for a drive when he's stopped by a traffic cop. The cop says, "Do you know how fast you were going?"
Heisenberg says, "No, but I know where I am."

Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976)

German physicist. One of the founders of the quantum theory, he is best known for his uncertainty principle, which states that it is impossible to determine with high accuracy both the position and momentum of a subatomic particle like the electron.

Here's one about Heisenberg: You've perhaps seen or heard of old inns that have plaques on the wall of a room saying, for example: "George Washington slept here." Well,

There's apparently an inn in Germany with their own plaque. It says: "Heisenberg may have slept here."

When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions.

Q: Two cats are on a roof. Which slides off first?
A: The one with the smaller mew (Greek letter mu - μ).

You enter the laboratory and see an experiment.
How will you know which class is it?
If it's green and wiggles, it's biology.
If it stinks, it's chemistry.
If it doesn't work, it's physics.

Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love.

If it wasn't for Thomas Alva Edison, we'd all be watching TV to the light of a candle.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Issac Newton1: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross the road.

Issac Newton2: It was pushed on the road.

Issac Newton3: It was pushed on the road by another chicken, which went away from the road.

Issac Newton4: It was attracted to a chicken on the other side of the road.

The Principia

In 1687 Newton summarized his discoveries in terrestrial and celestial mechanics in his Principia (mathematical principles of natural philosophy), one of the greatest milestones in the history of science.
In it he showed how his principle of universal gravitation provided an explanation both of falling bodies on the earth and of the motions of planets, comets, and other bodies in the heavens.
The first part of the Principia is devoted to dynamics and includes Newton's three famous laws of motion; the second part to fluid motion and other topics; and the third part to the explanation of Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

A physics student was hit by a brick falling from a house. He fainted, but came to after a while and started smiling. The onlookers were worried, so they asked him why the smile. "I just realized how lucky I am because the kinetic energy is only half m v squared."

When Newton saw an apple fall, he found ...
A mode of proving that the earth turnd round
In a most natural whirl, called gravitation;
And thus is the sole mortal who could grapple
Since Adam, with a fall or with an apple.

– Byron

Came across this at school, early 1950s. Funny how some things stick!


Students of physics are frequently told
Of experiments performed by great physicists of old
Like Boyles and Charles - but greatest of these
Was the Principle discovered by Archimedes.

The Sicilian King, Archimedes was told,
Ordered a crown from a large lump of gold,
And though the weight of the gold was completely correct,
The goldsmith's eye made the King suspect
That he'd made up the weight with some cheaper metal
And stolen some gold, that his debts he might settle.
His problem was then of outstanding immensity
As he had no idea, whatsoever, of density.

Climbing into a bath he received a surprise
When he noticed the water beginning to rise.
He suddenly snapped, and let out a scream,
As he realized, with joy, his long-wished-for dream.

He found the upthrust, produced on a body's base*,
To be equal in weight to the water displaced,
And soon volumes and weights would make it quite plain
What various metals the crown could contain,
And so he could easily show to his Royalty
The absolute proof of the goldsmith's disloyalty.

Leaping out of the bath at remarkable rate,
He made for the palace by doorway and gate
But the men in the street were completely confounded
To see a naked man shout "Eureka! I've found it!"

* Is this the only error? The upthrust is not on the base, but at the Centre of Pressure!

Polymer physicists are into chains.

Sir Isaac Newton had a theory of how to get the best outcomes in a courtroom. He suggested to lawyers that they should drag their arguments into the late afternoon hours. The English judges of his day would never abandon their 4 o'clock tea time, and therefore would always bring down their hammer and enter a hasty, positive decision so they could retire to their chambers for a cup of Earl Grey. This tactic used by the British lawyers is still recalled as Newton's Law of Gavel Tea.

A neutron walks into a bar. "I'd like a beer" he says. The bartender promptly serves up a beer. "How much will that be?" asks the neutron. "For you?" replies the bartender, "no charge"

by John Ciardi

I don't suppose you happen to know
Why the sky is blue? It's because the snow
Takes out the white. That leaves it clean
For the trees and grass to take out the green.
Then pears and bananas start to mellow,
And bit by bit they take out the yellow.
The sunsets, of course, take out the red
And pour it into the ocean bed
Or behind the mountains in the west.
You take all that out and the rest
Couldn't be anything else but blue.
Look for yourself. You can see it's true.


The Isaac Newton Telescope has a 2.54-meter primary mirror. Total weight of the telescope is about 90 tons. It was constructed in the early eighties. The ING is located at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma, Spain.

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes, La Palma, Spain.


Newton invents the first reflective telescope in 1668.

Newton Telescope

WATT is the unit of power?

Q: What did the Nuclear Physicist have for lunch?
A: Fission Chips.

"Your theory is crazy...but it's not crazy enough to be true."

– Bohr

Q: What happens when electrons lose their energy?
A: They get Bohr'ed.

Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

A Danish Physicist. Developed the modern atomic model about atoms built up of sucessive orbital shells of electrons. He won the 1922 Nobel Prize for physics, chiefly for his work on the structure of atoms.

I am a Physics teacher at The International School of Bucharest. Your site is a real treasure, and I wanted to add a small jewellery: It happened in my class...

"We were talking about the acceleration of free-fall. I wrote a 'g' letter on the board, and asked 'How can we measure this constant? Do you have any idea?' One of them stood up, came to the board, and measured the length of the 'g' letter on the board, and said 'by a ruler, teacher!"

To learn more about Newton's physics, click here for beginners and here for more advanced level. Now, you are ready to fire Newton's cannon.

Fermi was asked what characteristics physics Nobelists had in common.
He answered, "I cannot think of a single one, not even intelligence."

– Enrico Fermi, Phys Today, Oct 1994, pg80.

Enrico Fermi, while studying in college, was bored by his math classes. He walked up to the professor and said, "My classes are too easy!"
The professor looked at him, and said, "Well, I'm sure you'll find this interesting."
Then the professor copied 9 problems from a book to a paper and gave the paper to Fermi. A month later, the professor ran into Fermi, "So how are you doing with the problems I gave you?"
"Oh, they are very hard. I only managed to solve 6 of them."
The professor was visibly shocked, "What! But those are unsolved problems!"

– Enrico Fermi, Phys Today, Oct 1994, pg80.

Enrico Fermi (1901–1954)

An American nuclear physicist, born in Italy. In 1938 was awarded the Nobel prize for physics for his studies of neutron bombardment. He built the first nuclear chain reactor in Chicago in 1942 and worked on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos.

Each the book would halve the sales.

– Stephen Hawking, in A Brief history of time (1988)

What is mind? No matter.
What is matter? Never mind.

– Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875, Punch Vol 29, 19 (1855)

Physics is not a religion. If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money.

– Leon Lederman

A Few Interesting Facts About Newton

  • As a boy he showed little promise in school work. In fact, his school reports had described him as 'idle' and 'inattentive'.

  • He never married and lived modestly, but was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey.

  • He suffered from depression throughout most of his life.

  • Newton owned more books on humanistic learning and religion than on mathematics and science; all his life he studied them deeply and wrote about this topics.

  • Devoted much of his time to alchemy.

  • Was member of Parliament.

  • Served as the Warden of the Royal Mint.

  • Was a wealthy man.

Physics is becoming so unbelievably complex that it is taking longer and longer to train a physicist. It is taking so long, in fact, to train a physicist to the place where he understands the nature of physical problems that he is already too old to solve them.

– Eugene Wigner

Q: What did the thermometer say to the graduated cylinder?
A: "You may have graduated but I've got many degrees"

On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."

– Wolfgang Pauli

It was absolutely marvelous working for Pauli. You could ask him anything. There was no worry that he would think a particular question was stupid, since he thought all questions were stupid.

– Victor Frederick Weisskopf

Wolfgang Ernst Pauli (1900-1958)

American Austrian-born physicist. He was awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of his Pauli exclusion principle, fundamental to quantum mechanics, according to which no two electrons in an atom may be in the same quantum state.

The Grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of hill,
And he marched them down again.
When they were up they were up,
When they were down they were down.
When they were only half way up,
They were simultaneously up and down,
They were merely obeying the laws of quantum mechanics.

I believe in the heat death of the Universe.
I'm a Kelvinist.

Q: What do physicists enjoy doing the most at baseball games?
A: The 'wave'.

Q: What is uttered by a sick duck?
A: Quark!

Q: What is an astronomical unit?
A: One helluva big apartment

A hydrogen atom came running into a police station asking for help....
Hydrogen atom: "Someone just stole my electron!"
Policeman: "Are you sure?"
Hydrogen atom: "Yes, I'm positive"
Policeman: "Oh, I thought you were just being negative again."

Q:What is horsepower?
A:The power it takes to drag a horse a given distance in a given amount of time.

Q: Why is electricity so dangerous?
A: It doesn't conduct itself.

Subject: You have the right to remain stationary.

Recently, while stopped at a traffic light in the suburbs of Boston with an out-of-state friend, a police car pulled up next to us. On the side was written in large letters: "NEWTON POLICE." My friend's immediate response was, "I wonder what they do. Enforce the Law of Gravity, maybe?"

Q: What's the difference between a mathematician and a physicist?
A: A mathematician thinks that two points are enough to define a strait line while a physicist wants more data.


The subatomic particle store had a sale last week.

Electrons: $0.10
Protons: A$0.10
Neutrons : free of charge

Radioactivity - it's as easy as alpha, beta, gamma...

One day our professor was discussing a particularly complicated physics concept. A pre-med student rudely interrupted to ask, "Why do we have to learn this pointless information."
"To save lives." the professor responded quickly and continued the lecture.
A few minutes later, the same student spoke up again. "So how does physics save lives?" he persisted. "It keeps the ignoramuses like you out of medical school," replied the professor.

The speed of time is one second per second.

The English mathematician John Wallis (1616-1703) was a friend of Isaac Newton. According to his diary, Newton once bragged to Wallis about his little dog Diamond. "My dog Diamond knows some mathematics. Today he proved two theorems before lunch."
"Your dog must be a genius," said Wallis.
"Oh, I wouldn't go that far," replied Newton. "The first theorem had an error and the second had a pathological exception."

I don't know if this counts as a joke, but I was there when it happened.

Early morning Physics class filled with slightly dazed freshmen. Eager beaver postdoc teaching the class asks "The wavelength of the Sodium yellow line. What is it? You there!" Fortunately, he has his eagle eye on the guy next to me, who mutters and replies "A hundred and one?"
"Hah!" says the postdoc "A hundred and one what?"
"Um, a hundred and one, point two?"

My Dog Kelly

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Last updated: June 2013
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