minutia press.
Pop Quiz

There's an old joke about induction and pop quizzes that's worth retelling.

If somebody promises you a pop quiz next week, it can't happen.


  • If Thursday comes and still no pop quiz, then it must be on Friday,
    in which case it won't be a surprise. Thus, you can't have a pop quiz on Friday.
  • With Friday ruled out, if Wednesday comes and still no pop quiz, then it must be on Thursday; again, no surprise.
  • And so on

The 102 graders and I were talking about pop quizzes last night, and we agreed that you should be able to give anybody a pop quiz at any time. Like, maybe, twice in the same lecture period. They may expect hte first one, but the second one would surely come as a pleasant surprise.

Taking this a step further (a theme of my life), I think I should be able to approach any of my students at any time and given them a pop quiz. I don't limit the scope of this to before graduateion, either. Someday, you may be walking the streets of Palo Alto, and like a fee-hungry warrant-server, I will appear out of nowhere and deposit a pop quiz in your hands. Surprise!


That is actually kind of a scary thought. "Professor Cytron: The Quizinator"

Posted by: Nathan at March 11, 2003 6:28 PM

Maybe I'll be forced to change my name and move to a remote location under the government's Quiz Protection Program. Then The Quizinator won't be able to get me.

Posted by: Brodie at March 12, 2003 7:19 AM

As a Master of Science, I will be able to simply alter the gravitational constant in the Quizinator's general vicinity, therefore catapulting him and the pop quiz off into the stratusphere. Or I could even alter the coefficient of friction between the Quizinator and the ground so that he is unable to approach me without sliding away.

Posted by: Chris Hill Festival at March 12, 2003 11:23 AM

Run, run, run but you can't hide. I laugh at gravitational constants.

Posted by: rkc at March 12, 2003 9:53 PM

Behold the powers of the PhD!

Posted by: James at March 12, 2003 11:03 PM

It should be known throughout the realm that a lowly grad student can never outrun a Full Professor, no matter how many fundamental universal constants he (or she) changes.

Posted by: Brodie at March 13, 2003 12:57 PM