HowTo:Identify scientists at a party

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Identifying a scientist at a party hinges on the unconditional presence of a beard.

It is a common occurrence at a party that one needs to quickly identify a scientist. For example, a political discussion may have broken out on the balcony and one needs to determine whether there is settled science with which to decide the argument. Fortunately, there is a simple algorithm (which is scientist-ese for method).


  1. Those men and women standing on tables and taking their clothes off are not scientists. They are real estate agents.
  2. Those men mixing the "fruit punch" and laughing maniacally while tipping in bottles of vodka and packets of illicit looking pills are not scientists but engineers.
    Engineers are "close relatives" of scientists. They are the reason that corporations have a Research and Development department and not just Research. Mixing vodka and pills into the punch bowl is called "applied science."
  3. Those men and women dancing wildly around the centre of the room, knocking over the potted plants and treading on the dog's tail are not scientists. They are lawyers. Some of them may also be real estate agents part-time.
  4. Those men and women standing against the walls, holding their wine or beer and nervously stroking their beards (see below) and saying "Hmmmm!" — They are the scientists.

Quick check[edit]

Having identified a scientist, the observer can verify the result with a simple algorithm — Sorry, in a simple way. Try this joke on him: Ask, "Can I get you another miscible solution of ethanol in dihydrogen monoxide?" If he laugh until he cries, he's a scientist. If he giggles nervously and moves away from you, he's an artist.

About those beards[edit]

Exercise for the reader

Graph this article as a flowchart. This will enable the algorithm to be implemented in a modern computer language, such as Haskell, so that scientists at a party can be identified by a mobile device or party drone.

Scientists wear beards, but women scientists wear stick-on beards. Female artists also wear stick-on beards, but artists can usually be distinguished from scientists because scientists' beards are goatees and artists wear berets. Québecois may also wear berets and false goatee beards, but their berets are made from beaver skin. (The beard may be the tail. This is why women from Québec can move small logs with their beards.)

Having found one[edit]

The partygoer's Doomsday Weapon.

If the reason for seeking a scientist was indeed to bring settled science to a political argument that had broken out on the balcony, you will now need to determine whether your scientist was on the winning side when the scientists took that vote to settle the science. This is outside the scope of this article.

If the reason was that the alcohol is running out and the party is getting dull and you need to get rid of the scientist, an effective method is to throw rocks at the scientist.

However, we again need not a method but an algorithm, because if the scientist is a geologist, he will be grateful for the contribution of rocks, will explain each one, and the party will get duller at an exponentially faster pace. In this case, the remedy is to break a can of beer out of one of the dwindling six-packs and throw it out the window like a grenade. A geologist will jump out the window after it (a move called spelunking or potholing) and the party will be saved.

See also[edit]