Still on Assignment Here...


Update on the situation regarding the professor. Today I was handed a copy of his "final report". It was his previous report with one short chapter appended, containing his results from the most recent series of tests. He neglected to add this additional chapter to the table of contents, alas. Sloppy work.

This is the report that contains the equation derived from expressions that are true only in the limit as the Mach number approaches infinity, an equation which is therefore true only in the limit of infinitely strong shocks, in which case his equation is true by virtue of both sides of the equation being equal to infinity. In mathematics we call this a meaningless result. This is the equation which he then applies to shocks of Mach number, say, 2.

After confidently stating in the meeting described here that "the data supports this", alas, he has included no supporting data in this final chapter. Why? Because far from supporting him, the data proves him wrong. Is he likely to admit this? Never. He's something like seventy years old, and this may be the first time in his life he's been wrong about anything, and the possibility just does not compute. He's going to retire next June (yippee!) and he'll go to his grave believing he was right.

[Update: I saw the data. The professor's predictions were off by more than 10,000 percent. He was claiming accuracy to within a few percent, so nyah nyah or words to that effect.]

July 2012

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