I was thinking about attitudes toward physics the other day, and realized that whenever I meet somebody (not a physicist) for the first time and tell them that I’m a physicist, their initial responses most frequently fall into one of three general categories:
- “You must be really smart.”
- “I hated that when I took it in high school/ college.”
- “Can you explain string theory to me?”
It occurs to me that this helps explain why physicists are not generally considered scintillating conversationalists. Because, really, where can you go from any of those starting points?
Anyway, that got me wondering what the stock responses are for people from other academic fields. I asked a few people at lunch today, but there weren’t all that many people there. So, consider this a free-form poll question:
When you meet new people, and tell them what you do for a living, what are the most common responses?
It would help, of course, if you say what it is that you do in the same comment with the response. Though I suppose it might be amusing to just get the response, and try to guess the profession from that…