This article was also published in the Fall 2008 issue of Northeastern University's comic magazine, The Times New Roman.
Energy cannot be created or destroyed. We know this as the first law of thermodynamics.
Since energy is matter according to Einstein's E = MC^2, that means that matter cannot be created or destroyed. And, as we all know, the principle source of matter affected by this is beards.
So when one man shaves his beard, another is grown in its stead. A goatee is grown, mutton chops are shaved, and the total beard content of the universe remains constant.
One can easily see the effects of this law in everyday life. Recently, I witnessed two old friends bump into each other in the basement of The Havard Book Store. Between awkward hellos and goodbyes, one of the friends remarked that he had shaved his beard and his friend had grown a beard, the energy transferring between them in a process scientists call "gross."
While no one denies its base principle (it is long accepted by Occam's razor which says that the theory that supposes the fewest entities is most likely correct. Since the first law supposes a finite amount of beards and every other theory supposes an infinite amount of beards, the former is correct. Infinite beards, in the words of science, is just silly.), there are many controversies surrounding its implications. For one, what exactly constitutes a beard? If it is confined solely to the face, then only men and my fourth grade english teacher Miss Broxenfellow can apply this theory. More, the Bush administration, in its search for new sources of energy, is currently funding experiments to determine beards' connection with global warming. So far the results are inconclusive, but a lead researcher holds out hope. "Muslims," he said with great enthusiasm.
Still others question childrens' role in this new theory. There is some evidence to suggest that children represent a kind of superposition between bearded and unbearded. When questioned about his thoughts on the subject, four-year-old Mark Horner said, "WaulRAGHOOOOOOhhn!"
Finally, a bill is under review in Congress that would allow bearded men the right to vote. This new theory may go far in proving that these men and women are subject to the laws of physics like everyone else, and are therefore human. It is suspected that the bill will pass by a close shave.
It is still unclear what this new law means for walruses.