When will I ever need these equations in real life? - The Beaverton

When will I ever need these equations in real life?


A few days ago I stumbled across a major empirical inconsistency in the apsidal precession predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. As I finished writing down the Lagrangian of a relativistic particle so that I could explore the problem further and re-derive the field equation to boot (in the form containing the 4-vector potential), I was forced to ask myself: when am I, Stephen William Hawking, ever going to need these equations in real life?

I mean, I can see how all these formulas and whatnot might be indispensable for the furtherance of the human race. And yes, they could very well be the seeds of a unified physical theory that many of the world’s brightest minds are chasing. But that’s hardly the point. What I’d like to know is why I have to miss the season eight finale of Grey’s Anatomy because of some dumb exterior derivative I have to evaluate over a star-convex set?

Man, I could be doing so many other things right now. I could be hanging out with friends, carousing, enjoying the outdoors. I could be doing stuff I actually like. But no. Instead of being allowed to have fun like other guys my age, I have to spend hours of my time each day writing down the symmetric momentum flux stress-energy tensor within local spacetime curvature. And for what? So I can put my name on some idiotic paper?

It’s stupid.

Not everybody wants to know how to construct a homeomorphism between two epsilon balls in n-dimensional Euclidian space. Some of us are perfectly okay with knowing how many watermelons Billy has if he starts with eleven and loses six. And yet, the scientific community insists on making us do all this pointless algebra without regard for what is actually useful in day-to-day life. How many times do you think the knowledge of quantum effects near a black hole’s event horizon has helped me figure out what tip to leave the pizza guy?

That’s right: Zilch. Naught. The additive identity. The integral of an odd function over opposite bounds. ZERO. That’s why we have things these things called calculators available right now. Google them. They can do all this stuff just as well, if not better, than I can.

What frustrates me is that sometimes I don’t even get what the question is asking. What do these symbols mean? Do we treat Billy’s watermelons as particles or rigid bodies? Or maybe waves?

There is no way around it. Math is for total dweebs.