Backtalk - 11/08/2007

Nov. 8, 2007
What did the light bulb say to the generator? “I really get a charge out of you!”

A little engineering humor

  1. How do you pick out a dead battery from a pile of good ones? It’s got no spark!
  2. A man with a hearing problem walked into a power plant for a tour. He arrived late and had to join the rest of the group already on the tour. The man was reviewing what he had just told the group. He told the group that they wouldn’t move on until they answered this one question: What is the unit of power equal to one joule per second called?” The man with the hearing problem hadn’t heard the question very well, so he raised his hand and asked “What?”
  3. Why do transformers hum? They don’t know the words.
  4. What did the light bulb say to the electric generator? “You spark up my life!”
  5. What did the baby light bulb say to the mommy light bulb? “I love you watts and watts!”
  6. Why was the free electron so sad? It had nothing to be positive about!
  7. What did Godzilla say when he ate the nuclear power plant? “Shocking!”
  8. Why did the lights go out? Because they liked each other!
  9. Two atoms were walking down the street one day, when one of them exclaimed, “Oh, no I’ve lost an electron!” “Are you sure?” the other one asked. “Yes,” replied the first one, “I’m positive.”

An engineer learned shortly before quitting time that he had to attend a meeting. He tried unsuccessfully to locate his car-pool members to let them know that he would not be leaving with them. Hastily he scribbled a note, “Last-minute meeting. Leave without me. Ted,” and left it on one fellow’s desk. At 6:30 p.m., Ted stopped at his desk and found this note: “Meet us at the bar and grill across the street. You drove!”

Beware of quantam ducks! Quark! Quark! Quark!

Engineers calculate all the angles

If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.

Old chemical engineers never die, they just fail to react.

Research is the act of going up alleys to see if they are blind.

To err is human, to forgive is divine, but to check — that’s engineering.

Achievements in materials
Over the years, researchers and scientists have tinkered to devise new and useful materials. Materials research in the 20th century exploded with new developments in a host of industries including automobiles to aircraft, sporting goods to skyscrapers, clothing to computers, and a host of electronic devices.

Notable names in materials history include Henry Bessemer, who figured out how to make steel in large quantities (in 1855), and Andrew Carnegie, who wrote “All hail, King Steel,” in a 1901 paean to the monarch of metals, praising it for working “wonders upon the earth.” Milestones include:

1907 – Bakelite, the first thermosetting plastic, is created.

1915 – Jesse Littleton, a Corning research physicist, cuts the bottom from a glass battery jar, takes it home, and asks his wife to bake a cake in it. The glass withstands the heat and this leads to the development of borosilicate glasses for kitchenware and later to Pyrex cookware.

1933 – Polyethylene is accidentally discovered by J. C. Swallow, M.W. Perrin, and Reginald Gibson.

1934 – Wallace Carothers and Julian Hill of DuPont discover nylon. They also learn that it increases in strength and silkiness when stretched — thus discovering cold drawing.

1938 – Roy Plunkett, a DuPont scientist discovers Teflon when tetrafluoroethylene gas polymerizes on the sides of a container.

1946 – DuPont chemist Earl Tupper develops a sturdy but pliable synthetic polymer he calls Poly T. By 1947 Tupper forms his own corporation and produces Tupperware.

1953 – DuPont produces Dacron, a synthetic material first developed in Britain in 1941 as polyethylene terephthalate.

1977 – Researchers Hideki Shirakawa, Alan MacDiarmid, and Alan Heeger discover electrically conducting organic polymers and win the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2000.

1990s-present – Scientists investigate nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter on atomic and molecular scales.

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