A Science Joke

For some reason, this seems to be my New Year’s contribution.

A group of wealthy horse racing investors wanted to be able to breed the perfect horse.

So they interviewed a geneticist, a nutritionist, and a physicist. Each was given a year to research the issue and submit a proposal to the investors.

The geneticist said that he could genetically engineer an unbeatable racehorse, but it would take 200 years and $100 billion.

The nutritionist reported next, saying that he could devise a program of nutrition that could produce winners, at a cost of $10 million per race.

Finally, the physicist reported that he could produce a winning horse at no expense to the investors. The investors, astounded, asked the physicist how he would do it. The physicist replied, “It was simple: first, I assumed a spherical horse in a vacuum … ”

The back story of where and when I heard that joke is even more interesting.

I was working under contract to DARPA on a procurement for an advanced system. We were reviewing bidders’ proposals, which were extensive and numerous.

The review team was composed mostly of upper level government scientists and engineers. The work was grinding, complicated, and tedious to the extreme. After days of grueling work, one of the engineers decided to try to lighten things up.

He told a few ‘regular’ jokes. No response. He told a few off-color jokes. Crickets.

The project liaison I was working with was a young guy from one of the physics think tanks serving the DoD. He told the joke above. The room fell apart.

Ain’t science wonderful?

Happy New Year to those who celebrate it now. (The rest of us will wait for either the Lunar New Year or the Spring Solstice. To each his own!)

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