Why Turkeys Can’t Fly

Being a physicist, you might look for scientific answers to this question.  You might figure it’s a result of the turkey’s awkward large-bird-small-wings arrangement or more likely, given how we feel after eating turkey, that they just have more than their share of heavy particles.  (And, to be fair, everyone even remotely interested in astrophysics knows that given enough velocity small wings are all that’s needed — but turkeys still haven’t evolved booster rockets, so that’s little help.)

This turkey does not fly. Courtesy Trois Têtes (TT)/Flickr.

Or you might be tempted to take the evolutionary route and suppose that their inability to fly has emerged over time as a result of the fact that we have to eat them on Thanksgiving.  This is a complicated proposition, however, because it requires a particle accelerator and assuming a spherical turkey if we want to ensure that our birds emerge perfectly from our thermodynamic bird-prep devices.  Or as we at GradschoolShopper like to call them, ovens.

But the correct answer to why turkeys can’t fly is, of course, that they refuse to take off their shoes at TSA security checkpoints.

This turkey is spherical (we assume). Courtesy of drgillybean/Flickr.

Here at GradschoolShopper, we’re thankful for a lot of things, and turkey is but one.  We’re thankful to be in the position of giving you AIP’s wealth of grad program knowledge in an easier-to-use, searchable format.  We’re thankful for the many of you who use our service and find the advice we offer helpful.

We’re also thankful to be adding some fresh features to this site.  Over the next few weeks you’ll begin to see more content from more contributors.  Ever wish you knew someone who could tell you exactly what grad programs are looking for, or a preview of what you’ll be facing in your application process?  Well, keep an eye on this page and stay tuned…


(Oh, and before anyone calls us on it: although they aren’t the most impressive aviators, turkeys can indeed fly.)

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Advice to Students

Apply to as many schools as you possibly can. Maintain your focus but cast a wide net in order to increase your choices when it comes time to accepting offers. Be sure to research the specific characteristics of each program, such as degree length, faculty, class sizes, fellowship opportunities, research specialties etc. as these factors may drastically influence your decision. — Crystal Bailey, Education and Careers Program Manager at the American Physical Society, Podcast Episode #2

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