Before the war it was always hard for a physicist to know what to answer when asked what he did. Any answer which included the word “physics” resulted either in complete lack of recognition or in some form of medical humor. I am reminded of a friend who spent a confused and confusing time with a local draft board, some seven years ago, in small middle western town, trying to explain why a young physicist should not be transformed into a G.I. just then. After a series of dissertations and questions and explanations on the subject of “what is a physicist?” my friend saw a gleam of understanding appear in one pair of eyes. “I see,” said one of the board members, “a physicist is a kind of an electrician! Why didn't you say so?”
Acoustics and modern physics
Philip M. Morse; Acoustics and modern physics. Physics Today 1 August 1949; 2 (8): 14–17. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3066586
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