Ode »An die 8.02«

8.02 is a second-semester freshman physics class in electromagnetism, taught at MIT. Though all of the authors of this Ode passed the freshman physics requirement, none of us actually took 8.02.

The Ode is to be sung to the tune in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony: Ode »An die Freude« (``To Joy''), using the original rhythm.

Verse 1

Will I pass my eight-oh-two test,
Or be fluxing all my life?
Del cross E and Del dot B---,
Oh, why must I bear this strife?

Ampère's Law, and Gaussian pill-box,
Who was Maxwell anyway?
How I miss the laws of Newton,
Simpler things of yesterday.

I remember frames of reference,
Motion, elasticity---
Now I find I've gained potential,
But I've lost my energy.

Verse 2

Hertz and Tesla, Ohm and Coulomb,
This is somewhat much for me:
I can learn to read the Classics,
Start a new philosophy.

They can show me, they can snow me,
They will never make me see---
Lines of force around my brain
Are looping so magnetically.

Is it left hand? Is it right hand?
I can never keep it straight.
Self-induction, self-destruction,
I will never go Course Eight.

Verse 3

All this fretting, all this sweating,
Just to score a lowly D.
Thank God Mom and Dad don't know, or
I'd be part of history.

Must I spend my whole life learning
Just why E and M's so great?
I just pulled my twelfth all-nighter,
And I want to vegetate.

Will I ever have a future?
Is this all to no avail?
I can hope for graduation
Whilst I'm sheltered by Pass/Fail.


Jeffrey Silver (18 lines), silver@math.harvard.edu
Matthew T. Bear (13 lines), mtbear@mit.edu
Neil Cudmore (4 lines), digitally homeless
Dave Kaffine (1 line), dave.kaffine@east.sun.com
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