# A Variety of Math Jokes

Occupy Math has raised the issue of mathematical humor from time to time. In this week’s blog, by request, there are nothing but jokes.   There are 20 jokes here – keep track of how many you get and that is your Mathemagician Rating.  Mathematicians use words a little differently from other people. That leads to the following sort of joke.

☆  Do you know what’s odd? Every other number.

☆  The obtuse triangle is upset because it’s never right.

Mother:  Son, what did you learn at university?

Son:  Well, Ma, I learned that pie are squared.

Mother:  That’s ridiculous, son! Pie are round. Cornbread are squared.

☆  Question: What is 2n+2n? Answer: I’m not sure, but I think its from another country.

Another source of mathematical humor is people not understanding the directions. (It is true that better directions can usually be written.)

Some math jokes require you to know special facts.

☆  There are 10 sorts of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don’t.

☆  Two is the oddest prime of all.

☆ Question: What is a polar bear? Answer: A rectangular bear after a coordinate transformation.

☆  Question: What do you get if you cross a mountain climber with a mosquito? Answer: Nothing, you cannot cross a scalar with a vector.

☆  Training in mathematics helps you to not be able to tell the difference between a coffee cup and a donut.

☆  The number 5! is equal to 120, not FIVE!

☆  Garrison Keeler (the worlds tallest radio comedian) created a wonderful mathematical joke in the sign-off for his weekly News from Lake Wobegon, to wit:

“From Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.”

There are quite a few jokes that have to do with the way that mathematicians view those in other areas or the way people in other areas view mathematicians.

☆ Different professions testing the proposition “all odd numbers bigger than 1 are prime”:

• Physicist: “Three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, nine is not prime. The proposition is false.”
• Mathematician: “Nine is the smallest counter example. The proposition is false.”
• Engineer: “Three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime. Close enough.”
• Chemist: “Three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, nine is an experimental error, 11 is prime, 13 is prime, 15 suggests the proposition is false.”
• Computer scientist: “Three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, SEGMENTATION FAULT…”
• Student: “Dude, odd numbers are really prime!”
• Biologist: “Three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, nine is prime. The proposition is true.”
• Social scientist: “Three is prime, four is not prime. The proposition is false.”
• Administrator: “Three is prime, wait, I’ll have to get back to you.”

A couple of physicists are at a conference with a day off in the middle. Finding that there are hot air balloons for rent, they decide to make an ascension. They get into an argument about the way that the balloon works and forget to navigate. Presently they realize they are completely lost. They let some of the hot air out of the bag and drift lower. Above an alpine meadow they see a man in shorts and a heavy coat wearing a huge backpack. He is stomping across the meadow, head down, in a straight line. The first physicist addresses him:

“Where are we?”

The man reacts with startlement and then watches the balloon drift for a while. As the two physicists are almost out of earshot, he replies:

“You are in a hot air balloon.”

An exchange between the two physicists follows:

“Oh good grief! He’s a mathematician!”

“How can you tell?”

“He took a long time to answer. The answer was completely correct. It was also totally useless.

There are three women on a train. One of them is an psychologist, one of them is a engineer, and one of them is a mathematician. They have just crossed the border into Scotland and they see a black sheep standing in a field, though the window. The psychologist exclaims “The sheep in Scotland are black!” The engineer says, “No. There is at least one black sheep in Scotland.” The mathematician replies in an exasperated tone, “No. There is at least one sheep in Scotland, with at least one black side.

This next one is a calculus joke.

☆ Question:

Answer: Log cabin. Unless you remember that an indefinite integral requires a +C in which case the answer is house boat.

☆  Occupy Math found this floating around the internet and would love a proper attribution!

The next joke is really funny to mathematicians and others really don’t seem to get it. It is a null-set joke, if that helps.

Occupy Math hopes that the jokes you did not get will motivate you to diligently pursue your studies in mathematics. He also hopes the post has not made you think of calling the nice young men in their clean white coats. In any case, a tweet or comment that points out other math jokes would be appreciated!

I hope to see you here again,
Daniel Ashlock,
University of Guelph,
Department of Mathematics and Statistics