September Cartoon

Cartoons often have many possible levels of interpretation and extrapolation. As I look at this Sidney Harris cartoon, I see many possibilities. One is as follows: The cartoon shows a department chair (far right) accompanying the university provost (far left) of international fame for his analysis of the humor in Anton Chekhov’s short stories, presenting a plaque to a chemistry professor in recognition of her election to the National Academy of Sciences. The citation reads “In recognition of her seminal computational studies on the rheological properties of elastic polymers under stress: Why bubblegum bubbles break.” The department chair wonders if he will ever be recognized for the elaborate custom apparatus that he designed to confirm the computational studies. — Yvonne Connolly Martin, Abbott (retired)