We hold these truths to be intuitively obvious; that all physicists were born equal (to a first approximation), and were endowed by their creator with certain indiscrete rights, and among these are a mean rest life, n degrees of freedom, and the pursuit of the physics secretary*. We also reserve the following rights, which are invariant under all linear transformations.
- To approximate all problems to ideal cases.
- To use order of magnitude calculations whenever it is necessary.
- To dismiss all functions which diverge as "nasty" and "unphysical".
- To invoke the uncertainty principle when confronted by confused mathematicians, electrical engineers, and others.
- When pressed by non-physicists for an explanation of (4) to mumble in a sneering voice about physically naive mathematicians.
- To equate the two sides of an equation which are dimensionally inconsistent with a suitable comment such as "Well, we are only interested in order of magnitude anyway." see (2).
- To the extensive use of "bastard notation" when conventional mathematics will not work.
- To justify shaky reasoning on the basis that it gives the correct answer.
- To use plausibility arguments in place of proofs, and thenceforth to refer to these arguments as proofs.
- To take on faith any principle which seems right but can't be proven.
- When confronted with a question which requires any thought at all to reply... "Why not?"
Source: Dr. Kelly, Physics 152, Miami University, 1965
* Note pre-equal opportunity era unconscious sexism.