I wouldn’t say whine. I have never seen a physicist whine. We are too high on coffee to do that, we just tear things apart, ripping the fabric of space-time (There you go, ladies and gentlemen, the terrible jokes are back). But I can tell what a physicist may feel uncomfortable with, and will use myself as an example for a couple of those.
One thing I believe we’re not comfortable with is when people assume we are geniuses just because we are doing physics. Don’t get me wrong, I am talking about the kids (and by kids, I mean mentally immature, not an actual minor. We have to specify everything, or else the internet crucifies you, like “someone” was allegedly… I am digressing) on the internet who say things like “Hey look, I have an IQ in the 99th percentile, look at me”, and also, physics does demand a lot of work to be understood, but I don’t like when I see people using things like “I read Quantum Mechanics books because I am very smart”. Like, many people think Einstein achieved what he did just because of his intellect, and I think that is an offense to Einstein, by disregarding the efforts he did. Sure, having an IQ of 200 is great, but if you don’t make at least the effort to learn something you will definitely not achieve anything. That being said, there are various examples of physicists you could describe as being prodigies, like Von Neumann, Dyson or Witten. But most physicist that go to work on the field, do it because they love what they are working on, and not because they feel like “With my intellect, this is the least I could do to you, mere lesser minds (Who speaks like this?)”. Again, I am not generalizing. Maybe there are geniuses who are also selfish pricks, and yes that sounds contradictory, but we are humans, contradiction, dichotomy materialized in flesh. Just so we can be clear, I looked up for dichotomy in the dictionary before using it. In the same, even best physicists today will still look for work done by those before him. Not only because we want to learn what they discovered, but for more trivial reasons, like plagiarism. Who cares if you found a new cure for cancer? If you don’t quote those who did a prior work on that, who may have had come close to reaching your conclusion, a lawyer is coming up in your ass with a lawsuit. And you will lose credibility, and the scientific community will pretty much ignore you, and we don’t want our brightest minds to go to waste, just because of some silly pride. So yeah, that is one frustration for me. Sure, we can say, that it may also be because I am stupid, and I take it. Yeah, I am stupid. Which is why I try to find ways to not be stupid anymore.
And also, really important, all this new age bullsh*t about quantum this, quantum that, magnetic something something, usually related to some biological or medical principle, like quantum mind (Now there is quantum biology, and that is a legit science)… The reason this ticks me of is because it affects my field. Whenever someone hears medical physics, or biophysics they start saying, oh yeah I heard about your field. I am like, “Really? I thought mine was a darkhorse in the different subfields of physics”, and then I just hear a “I’ve reading specially a lot on the quantum nature of consciousness” (Now again, we can use the mathematical methods in quantum mechanics and apply it to neurophysics, but in no way we assume brain activity to have a quantum feature) or “Do you work on magnetic therapy?” (We do use magnetic fields in medical and biological physics, but as far as I am aware, only in imaging and spectroscopy)*. I guess it is the same with astronomers and astrophysicists when they get asked “I was born in April, do you know the effects Jupiter has on me?” (While this is a hypothetical, I do know a friend of mine who went through this). Sure, these people are not at fault, they were just misinformed, my real frustration is with those gurus that spread these false statements as factual. We physicists do enjoy a bit of pondering and philosophy, but when you take that thought experiment and turn it into something “factual”, not only you have gone out of physics, you left the realm of science altogether.
I mean, today I was talking about it with this friend of mine. She is more tolerant to them, and even sometimes we joke around with astrology, but that is because most of us have already accepted astrology as a pseudo-science. And those who go there, don’t think they will actually meet with a scientist. However, those who go to homeopaths, actually believe they are meeting with a respectable doctor. And that is dangerous.
Sorry for my long rant, but these are things that I think could possibly make us whine a lot. And to all other physicists, if you think I exagerated on some parts or if you think I left something out, please tell me.
*An update to that, actually we can use magnetic fields for therapy, but definitely not in the way they are talking about it.