The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Jul 28, 2007

Bongs galore

Why didn't the cyclotron at the Saha Institute in Calcutta work? And why is there no R & D in Bengal?

The Bengalis (or Bongs, as they are known by the rest of us desis) are a smart, fish-eating folk. In common with other communities in India, they have a distinctive lilt when they speak English, although they like to say their accent is the finest in the country. As they do not distinguish between the sounds 'r' and 'd' (the rolling 'd', as in 'sari', if you know what I mean), there is no R or D in Bengal.

As for the cyclotron, this is a more arcane joke. A charge q travelling with velocity V through a magnetic field B suffers a force F given by F = q (V x B), where x is the vector cross product. The Bongs pronounce V and B the same: 'bhi'. Now 'bhi' cross 'bhi' is zero, so there is no force on the electrons in the Saha cyclotron, and hence it doesn't work.

Okay, a nerdy joke, and losing somewhat in its telling. But now it's out in the ether, and it won't be long before furious Bongs assail me for devaluing their R & D.


Balaji Sowmyanarayanan said...

Lol. The stress with which they pronounce the 'Bhi' will be enough to drive the electrons way beyond calcutta?

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