48th IEEE Semiconductor Interface Specialists Conference
Bahia Resort Hotel, San Diego, CA
December 6 - 9, 2017 (Tutorial: Dec 6)

If you have attended previous SISC's, you know that we have one cherished TRADITION: a Limerick contest, which is one of the major highlights of the conference. During the conference, all attendees are gently encouraged and slightly forced to submit one or more Limericks to the Limerick organizer. During the Conference Banquet on Friday evening, all Limericks are presented and an esteemed panel of experts makes a fair judgement to select a number of finalist Limericks. After a second presentation of the selected Limericks, the audience chooses the winner (based on their amount of applause). The winner receives a handsome prize and the honor of organizing the next year's contest.

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What is a Limerick?

A limerick is a five-line poem with the following rhyme pattern: a a b b a. The rhythm is just as important in a limerick as the rhyme. The beat must be "anapestic" (weak, weak, strong..see below) with three feet in lines 1, 2, and 5 and 2 feet in lines 3 and 4. Another common characteristic of many Limericks is that the first line ends with the name of a place, although this is not strictly necessary. Some people say that soldiers returning from France to the Irish town of Limerick in the 1700's invented the limerick.

Most importantly, Limericks are meant to be funny. They often contain hyperbole, onomatopoeia (naming a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it, e.g. "buzz" or "hiss"), idioms, puns, and other figurative devices. The last line of a good limerick contains the PUNCH LINE or "heart of the joke."

Here's a classic example:

There was a young man of Oporta (w S w w S w w S w)
Who daily got shorter and shorter. (w S w w S w w S w)
    The reason, he said, (w S w w S)
    Was the hod on his head, (w w S w w S)
Which was filled with the heaviest mortar. (w w S w w S w w S w)

- C.L. Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll

How strictly does your Limerick have to adhere to the rules? The main points are as follows:

  1. Five lines where lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme with each other, and line 3 and 4 rhyme with each other.
  2. Lines 3 and 4 should be shorter than lines 1, 2 and 5 for the sake of the rhythm.
  3. Most importantly, it should be FUNNY!

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How do you win the SISC Limerick Contest?

In order to win the Limerick contest at the SISC, your Limerick should reflect some (very funny) aspects related to the conference, its papers, or its attendees - especially the "good old chaps" of the conference. It can also have some very innovative and funny personal touch or jokes about science in general and semiconductor (interfaces) in particular. As an example, here was a finalist entry in the 2000 contest, which reflected on the evolution of a "rump session" that was held and peppered with remarks from several "good old chaps".

We all enjoyed the rump session
and heard reliability tension
    opinions flew 'round
    the session broke down
The cause? Hot Comment Injection

More examples will be shown in the session breaks. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions. We are looking forward to an entertaining Limerick contest!

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Selected Limericks from past SISC conferences

All time favorites 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 ...

If you attended past SISC and remember or have any Limericks from any of the years we are still missing, please contact the webmaster.

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External links

Wikipedia: Limerick

Physics Limericks

Rhyming Dictionary

Please contact the webmaster with suggestions for other Limerick-related links.