Dear Mr. Hick,

Hi! My name is Sammy, and I live in Alaska with my mama, papa, and puppy dog, Puppy. I am only six, so my mama typed this for me. You are one of my favorite people. Ever!

There’s this thing that we see up here a lot called the aurora borealis. (That looks like a hard word to spell! Wow.) My papa says it has something to do with electrons (another really hard word!), but I have a secret: I think it’s heaven.

What do you think, Mr. Hick?


Sammy Davis
Fairbanks, Alaska

Dear Sammy,

Sammy, I one-hundred-percent agree with you! Those are indeed the lights of God’s kingdom that you see coruscating on the northern horizon every few months. You can tell your papa I said so, too.

Now, let me give you some sound advice: Look long and hard on those lights, Sammy Davis, because that’s as close as you’re ever going to get to heaven, given the fact that you decided to convert to Judaism while doped up in the hospital after that auto wreck. Say hi to the rest of the Rat Pack for me, would you?

Puppy is a great name for a dog, by the way. Very imaginative. I can only dream what you’ll call your first-born child, should you ever be unlucky enough to have one.

Kind regards,

Bill Hick, Science Prick


Dear Bill Hick,

My stupid friend Marcus told me that bowling balls float. I said no way. He said yeah-huh. We made a bet and then I threw my dad’s bowling ball into the pool and it sank. But Marcus won’t pay me because he says he saw something on your show that showed a bowling ball floating in a fish tank or something dumb like that. But we both saw it. The ball sank. Would you settle this, and tell Marcus to pay me my stupid five dollars?

Vince Anderson
Ventura, California

Dear Vince,

This is obviously a question of density. Or, perhaps more appropriately, denseness.

I could go on and on about density, buoyancy, water-weight displacement, and the like, but you don’t come off as terribly intelligent, so let’s keep it basic and just stick with what you need to know:

Your dad is a bowler. Given this fact, it follows that he likely has a severe drinking problem, and is therefore more prone to abusing you verbally and physically. How do you think he’s going to react when he sees his bowling ball at the bottom of the swimming pool? My guess is badly. So you have to ask yourself the same question I am faced with each time I receive back-alley fellatio: Was it really worth the five dollars? Maybe. Maybe not.

If I were you, I would sleep with one eye open, Vince, lest you end up sleeping next to that bowling ball.


Bill Hick, Science Prick


Dear Bill Hack, Science Quack,

I am Dr. Sachin Vishnakyra, and I write to you from the engineering department of the California Institute of Science and Technology. Not long ago, my lab associates and I inquired with you requesting your “expert” consultation on a certain scientific matter. You did not reply, however. It is in the spirit of scientific endeavor that I contact you a second time.

Recently, my group discovered that the quantum-confined Stark effect may be responsible for the reduced modal gain observed in optoelectronic devices utilizing InGaN quantum wells.

If the electron and hole wave functions are indeed spatially separated under low injection conditions, their low overlap integral explains the gain reduction. However, we do not yet understand what effect this spatial separation will have on the electroluminescence properties of the quantum wells at high injection levels.

From one “scientist” to another, I ask: do you care to elaborate?

On behalf of my lab partners, I look forward to benefiting from your vast knowledge on this subject.

Sachin Vishnakyra, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Researcher
California Institute of Science and Technology

Dear Dr. Vishnakyra,

Forgive me for neglecting to address your previous inquiry. It was received, but disregarded nevertheless, along the lines that it was nothing more than a juvenile attempt at discrediting me as a “scientist.” Obviously, however, you feel the need to press the issue. So, to paraphrase Wyatt Earp: You called down the thunder, well now you’ve got it, mister.

Any researcher worth his salt would already have concluded that the quantum-confined Stark effect is the result of the piezoelectric fields present at the interfaces between the InGaN quantum wells and the GaN barriers. These piezoelectric fields cause the quantum wells to be triangular in shape, thus separating the electron and hole wave functions and leading to a reduced overlap integral. No shit, right?

So, under higher injection levels, the shapes of the quantum wells begin to level out and the effective band-gap in the material is increased. Therefore, the electroluminescence will experience a blue shift under these high injection levels.

Boo-yah! I feel this answers your question quite sufficiently. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have matters of greater scientific consequence to attend to; namely, optimizing yo mama’s modal gain until she reaches threshold. After that, “in the spirit of scientific endeavor,” I think I’ll increase my injection level until I completely populate her triangular well.


Bill Hick, Science Prick

P.S. Yo mama’s like an overlap integral: she so fat, she overlap a ground-water well!