Thursday, March 8, 2012


*Image courtesy of Silver and Black Forever

Story Time! In my Modern Physics class (oh, so many years ago!), there was a homework problem that stumped me.  Now maybe it's just me, but I could not figure out what was meant by the following question:

"Find the configuration that is closest to unity."

Unity...unity...what do they mean by unity? Unless you look up "unity" on wikipedia under the "Mathematics" section, there are many ambiguous meanings to this word...In the end, I basically knew how to do the problem, but had no idea what it meant. 

Last day of class, the professor asks..."So does anyone have any questions?"...I raise my hand- "What is meant by unity?"

He looked puzzled for a second, and I stated the problem directly from the book..."Oh, it means one." 

Really? One? Why couldn't you have said "one" in the first place? 

The class turned around to see who asked the question (I was sitting in the back).  I don't know if they 
  1. thought I was stupid for not knowing what unity is
  2. thought "What question is she asking about?"
  3. or genuinely didn't know what unity was.

I guess we'll never know what the general class opinion was...(it should be noted that I've heard some pretty dumb maybe this one wasn't so dumb, haha)

Was I the stupid one in this case, or should the problem be reworded?

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