# Math jokes

A party of people travel in a hot-air balloon. The balloon is blown out to sea, and after many days, land comes into sight again. When floating over the coastline, they see a man walking along a path. One of them shouts: 'Hello! Where exactly are we?'

The wanderer looks up, scratches his head, and thinks for some time. Then he shouts: 'You're in the gondola of a hot-air balloon!'

That must have been a mathematician. Because:
1) He thought a long time before giving an answer.
2) The answer is absolutely correct.
3) The answer is absolutely useless.

Related General Discussion News on Phys.org
A mathematician organized a raffle in which the prize was advertised as an
infinite amount of money. He sold all the tickets quickly. When the winning
ticket was drawn, and the happy winner came to claim his prize, the
mathematician explained the mode of payment:
1 dollar now, 1/2 a dollar next week, 1/3 a dollar the week after that...

Problem 1: You have a pot full of water. It's on the right-hand side of the oven. Make it boil.

Engineer: Put it on the oven.
Physicist: Put it on the oven.
Mathematician: Put it on the oven.

Problem 2: You have a pot full of water. It's on the left-hand side of the oven. Make it boil.

Engineer: Put it on the oven.
Physicist: Put it on the oven.
Mathematician: We move the pot to the right-hand side and, in doing so, reduce the problem to one we have already solved...

Tom Mattson
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
A physicist, an engineer and a mathematician were given the following simple task:

Given a length L of fence, build a pen that encloses the maximum area.

The physicist knew the well-known result of calculus of variations that a circle maximizes the area, so he set up a circular pen.

The engineer was conscious of all the production costs, including R&D time, so he didn't bother with the math and simply set up a square pen.

The mathematician wrapped the fence tightly around himself, and said "I define myself to be on the outside".

Tom Mattson
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Engineers think that equations approximate reality.
Physicists think that reality approximates equations.
Mathematicians have yet to make any connection between the two.

Integral
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
A Topologist is a mathmatician who cannot tell the difference between his morning cup of coffee and his donut.

An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician applied for a job requiring computational skill. The test question was "What is 2 times 2?"

The engineer pulled out a slide rule {this is an old joke!} and replied "3.998".
The physicist used a scientific handheld calculator and came up with "3.99999998 x 100".
The mathematician answered "I don't know the value, but I can prove it exists and that it is unique."

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Originally posted by quartodeciman
An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician applied for a job requiring computational skill. The test question was "What is 2 times 2?"

The engineer pulled out a slide rule {this is an old joke!} and replied "3.998".
The physicist used a scientific handheld calculator and came up with "3.99999998 x 100".
The mathematician answered "I don't know the value, but I can prove it exists and that it is unique."
Then the accountant walked over to the door closed it and sat back down. Quietly he asked "What do you want it to be?".

This legend, the truth of which is not necessarily related to
its value, concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the
University of Copenhagen: "Describe how to determine the height
of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied: "Tie a long piece of string to the neck
of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the
skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the
length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the
student was failed immediately.

He appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably
correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter
to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was
indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge
of physics.

To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in
and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer
which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic
principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased
in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running
out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely
relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use.

On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the
skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it
takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then
be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad
luck on the barometer.

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the
barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its
and thereafter it is simple matter of proportional arithmetic
to work out the height of the skyscraper.

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could
tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like
a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the
skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the
gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sq root(l / g).

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it
would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the
skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of
course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pres-
sure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and
convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the
height of the building.

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise inde-
pendence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly
the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say
to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give
you this one if you tell me the height of this building'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel
prize for Physics.

There are only 10 types of people in the world: programmers, and those who don't get it.

Originally posted by plus
Then the accountant walked over to the door closed it and sat back down. Quietly he asked "What do you want it to be?".
Ha! Ha! Right! He got the job, because it was an auditing position.
Thanks,

Three (3) statisticians were out duck hunting, and a duck took off, right it front of them.

The first Statistician fired at a duck and was ahead of it by 15%, the second Statistician fired off a quick follow up, and was behind the duck by 15%, the third Statistician dropped his calculator and screamed "WE GOT IT!"

Let |[ee]| < 0

Originally posted by Sting
Let |[ee]| < 0
That is really very funny!
I would like to see some fabulous conclusion made from an antecedent like this-- like those sneaky, covert divide-by-zero conclusions,
e.g.1=2.

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enigma
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Originally posted by Sting
Let |[ee]| < 0
I don't get it.

I don't get it.
Note the absolute value sign. Is there ever a negative absolute value?

I understood that. My problem was that I didn't think that it was funny. It is just something which does not make sense.

Mathematician & normal guy in a bar.
Mathematician: "When I come home from work, always the same thing happens. As soon as I step out of the car, my dog comes zooming out of the front door. While I walk along the garden path towards the house, the dog keeps zooming back and forth between me and the front door. If the path is 15 m long, I move at 2 m/s, and the dog at 4 m/s, what total distance does the dog cross? (grin)"
Normal guy: "30 m"
Mathematician: "Woooow! You did that nasty sum all in your head?!! Whoa!"
Normal guy: "What sum?"

I heard a different telling of this story:

In the 1940s, a guest at a house party in Princeton cornered John Von Neumann and told him this puzzle. JVN instantly spat out the answer, 30 m.

The guest replied, "Oh course, you are a clever mathematician. You saw the trick right away. The man is walking 15 m at speed 2 m/s. So, the man takes 15/2 seconds, or 7.5 seconds, to reach the door. Since the dog always runs at speed 4 m/s during that time, then the distance covered must be 30 m. But you were fast to see that opportunity."

JVN replied "No, I didn't think of that. I just added up the series of terms.
It's 10 + 10 + 10/3 + 10/3 + 10/32 + 10/32 + 10/33 + 10/33 and so on, and that is just 30."

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I understood that. My problem was that I didn't think that it was funny. It is just something which does not make sense.
I know it's a humor thread but I think it was supposed to be more paradox-by-nature or ironic.

I didn't get it at first but after a second, I could find subtle humour in it.

Okay, I have one (you've probably heard).

A biologist, a physicist and a mathematician were all drinking coffee and tea and observing a house across the street from them. They notice that two people walk into the house and then an hour later, three people walk out.

Physicist: An experimental error. Our first measurement was incorrect.

Biologist: No, they've obviously reproduced.

Mathematician: No, now when a one person enters the house, it'll be empty again.

Originally posted by quartodeciman
I would like to see some fabulous conclusion made from an antecedent like this-- like those sneaky, covert divide-by-zero conclusions,
e.g.1=2.
a^2 - a^2 = (a-a)(a+a)
a(a-a) = (a-a)(a+a)
a = a+a
a = 2a
1 = 2

i know a 3=4, but it would take too long to type up, because of powers and fraction. lemme know if someone *really* wants to see it.

chroot
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Originally posted by redruM
a^2 - a^2 = (a-a)(a+a)
a(a-a) = (a-a)(a+a)
a = a+a
a = 2a
1 = 2

i know a 3=4, but it would take too long to type up, because of powers and fraction. lemme know if someone *really* wants to see it.
These "proofs" are old. You can't divide by zero. The operation between the second and third lines is illegal.

- Warren

Originally posted by Integral
A Topologist is a mathmatician who cannot tell the difference between his morning cup of coffee and his donut.
actually, a topologist would say that the two are homeomorphic not that they're not different.

got another joke. the complex number i walks up to the number 1 in a bar and starts macking. 1 says to i, "get real."

another joke. an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician all travel by train through a different country and see a black sheep. the engineer says, "i guess the sheep in this country are black." the physicists says, "correction: some of the sheep are black." mathematician says, "correction: there is at least one sheep at least one side of which appears to be black."

btw, if 1=2, then 0=1. then 0=1,000,000. that would mean i have $1,000,000 in my bank account! too bad division by zero has been outlawed by congress. i'll keep doing it anyway in my own home where they can't see me. that's why i'm voting for arnold here in california cuz he said "i don't give a [something] what those people do in their homes." he was probably talking about homosexuals, which is what the interviewer was asking about, but maybe he was talking about mathematicians dividing by zero. division by zero is only the beginning to black math. black math helped me predict the stock market and now i have$1,000,000 in my bank account. black math saved my life.

|e|<0 kinda reminds me of infinitesimals for some reason, entities x that satisfy the following inequality for all real numbers e: 0 < x < e. kinda reminds me of a shrinking idealized dart board. if you ask what the probability of hitting the bullseye is then it's probability is x where 0 < x < e for all real numbers e (e represents the radii of shrinking circles around the bullseye). or you could say that probability 0 really means "almost impossible," whatever that means.

cheers,
phoenix

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This is not a mathmatematician joke but along the line as it is an occupational joke that is one of my favorites.

A team of industrial psychologists show up at a factory to do an experiement. They place three bowlng balls in an empty room with a one way mirror. First they place an engineer in the room and close the door while observing him throught the mirror. He spends his time trying to stack the three bowling ball one on top of another. He succeeds in getting two stacked up but can never get the third stacked.
Next the bring in a plant operater. He immediately place the three bowling balls one each in three courners of the room and goes sits down in the forth. 15 minutes later he gets up pulls out a notebook and goes over the the first ball, looks at it for a minute and writes something down in his notebook He then walks over to the second ball in the other courner and looks at it for minute and then writes something in his notebook. He does the same with the third then goes back to his courner and sits down. Fifteen minutes later he gets up and does the same thing again. His does this for an hour before the team has had enough and takes him out of the room.
Next they bring in a plant maintenance man. In ten minutes he has lost one bowling ball, broken the second and is trying to stuff the third into his luch bucket.