Can Thermodynamics Be Funny?

A question suggested by today’s edition of the comic strip “The New Adventures of Queen Victoria.”  (FYI, Queen Victoria is part of the strip, just not today.)  I’ve mentioned the strip before, and since Barfly and Schrödinger are featured today, I figured I’d note it again (click for larger version).

The New Adventures of Queen Victoria, December 18, 2010

Is the Joke Funny?

Credit, of course, to Pab Sungenis, the mind behind the strip, and, where you can check out archives of the comics (registrations required).

YMMV, but I subscribe to the notion that if you have to explain the joke, it’s not funny.  A corollary is that if you have to look something up to get the joke, it wasn’t funny (at least to you).

Since most only know Schrödinger from his theoretical cat, and not his discussions of entropy connected with his work in biology (Francis Crick cites Schrödinger as an inspiration in the direction of his DNA research), the audience probably doesn’t know he really engaged with the notion of entropy.  I think you probably need that knowledge to even appreciate the absurdity of the knock-knock joke.

And having killed what funny there might have been, I apologize.  Thermodynamics can be funny, but I don’t think this is how to get the laughter from it.  Bully on Schrödinger for crossing disciplinary boundaries.  Comic strips can be educational!


3 thoughts on “Can Thermodynamics Be Funny?

  1. Well, this doesn’t augment the funniness factor much, but the comic also makes me think about the MC Hawking song “Entropy”:

    You down with entropy?
    Yeah, you know me!

  2. Pingback: In Lieu Of Fruit Or Flowers… | Pasco Phronesis

  3. Pingback: The Blog Is Knocking On Wood | Pasco Phronesis

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