Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Math Humor

An age old question is “Do mathematicians have a sense of humor?” The answer sort of depends on the audience, other mathematicians or us plebeians. Since this is the Science Lifestyle blog with presumably some math-o-philes out there, let’s see how these jokes resonate with you. Your comments are welcome.

Q: What do you get when you cross a mountain goat and a mountain climber?
A: Nothing – you can’t cross two scalars.

Q: What is clear and use by trendy sophisticated engineers to solve other differential equations?
A: The Perrier transform.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the Mobius strip?
A: To get to the same side.

Q: What’s polar bear?
A: A rectangular bear after a coordinate transform.

Q: What is often used by Canadians to help solve certain differential equations?
A: The Lacross transform.

Q: What’s polite and works for the telephone company?
A: A deferential operator.

Top Ten Excuses for Not Doing Homework:
  1. I accidentally divided by zero and my paper burst into flames.
  2. Isaac Newton’s birthday.
  3. I could only get arbitrarily close to my textbook. I couldn’t actually reach it.
  4. I have the proof, but there isn’t room to write it in this margin.
  5. I was watching the World Series and got tied up trying to prove that it converged.
  6. I have a solar-powered calculator and it was cloudy.
  7. I locked the paper in my trunk, but a four-dimensional dog got in and ate it.
  8. I couldn’t figure out whether i am the square of negative one or I is the square root of negative one.
  9. I took time out to snack on a doughnut and a cup of coffee [and] I spent the rest of the night trying to figure which one to dunk.
  10. I could have sworn I put the home work inside a Klein bottle, but this morning I couldn’t find it.

Absent minded professor anecdote:

One day the Wiener family was scheduled to move into a new house. Mrs. Weiner, mindful of her husband’s propensity for forgetting, wrote the new address on a slip of paper and handed it to him. He scoffed, saying, “I wouldn’t forget such an important thing,” but he took the slip of paper and put it in his pocket. Later that same day at the university a colleague came by his office with an interesting problem. Weiner searched for a piece of paper and took the slip from his pocket to use to write some mathematical equations. When he finished, he crumpled up the slip of paper and threw it away. That evening, he remembered there was something about a new house but he couldn’t find the slip of paper with address on it. Without any alternative course of action, he returned to his old home, where he spotted a little girl on the sidewalk. “Say, little girl,” he said, “Do you know where the Wieners live?” The girl replied, “That’s OK, Daddy, Mommy sent me to get you.”

[Note: courtesy of “Foolproof: A Sampling of Mathematical Folk Humor,” from Notices of the AMS, Volume 52, Number 1.]

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