Math Jokes

There are jokes about everything out there and science is no exceptions. Often it is fairly easy to make jokes about mathematicians. I got a few sent from a friend, and decided to compile a few of my favourites in a post for you.

A few qoutes

Mathematics is the art of giving the same name to different things. — J. H. Poincare

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them, they translate it into their own language, and forthwith it means something entirely different. — Goethe

Medicine makes people ill, mathematics make them sad and theology makes them sinful. — Martin Luther

A statement

Algebraic symbols are used when you do not know what you are talking about.

I have seen papers like that….

Comparison of different occupations

A physicist and a mathematician are sitting in a faculty lounge. Suddenly, the coffee machine catches on fire. The physicist grabs a bucket and leap towards the sink, filled the bucket with water and puts out the fire. Second day, the same two sit in the same lounge. Again, the coffee machine catches on fire. This time, the mathematician stands up, got a bucket, hands the bucket to the physicist, thus reducing the problem to a previously solved one.

An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician were asked to hammer a nail into a wall.
The engineer went to build a Universal Automatic Nailer — a device able to hammer every possible nail into every possible wall.
The physicist conducted series of experiments on strength of hammers, nails, and walls and developed a revolutionary technology of ultra-sonic nail hammering at super-low temperature.
The mathematician generalized the problem to a N dimensional problem of penetration of a knotted one dimensional nail into a N-1 dimensional hyper-wall. Several fundamental theorems are proved. Of course, the problem is too rich to suggest a possibility of a simple solution, even the existence of a solution is far from obvious.

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were traveling through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the window of the train.
“Aha,” says the engineer, “I see that Scottish sheep are black.”
“Hmm,” says the physicist, “You mean that some Scottish sheep are black.”
“No,” says the mathematician, “All we know is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is black!”

I have the same feeling every time I talk to a real matematician


Several scientists were all posed the following question: “What is 2 * 2 ?”

The engineer whips out his slide rule (so it’s old) and shuffles it back and forth, and finally announces “3.99”.
The physicist consults his technical references, sets up the problem on his computer, and announces “it lies between 3.98 and 4.02”.
The mathematician cogitates for a while, then announces: “I don’t know what the answer is, but I can tell you, an answer exists!”.
Philosopher smiles: “But what do you mean by 2 * 2 ?”
Logician replies: “Please define 2 * 2 more precisely.”
The sociologist: “I don’t know, but is was nice talking about it”.
Behavioral Ecologist: “A polygamous mating system”.
Medical Student : “4” All others looking astonished : “How did you know ??” Medical Student : :I memorized it.”

A mathematician and an engineer attend a lecture by a Physicist. The topic concerns Kulza-Klein theories involving physical processes that occur in spaces with dimensions of 9, 12 and even higher. The mathematician is sitting, clearly enjoying the lecture, while the engineer is frowning and looking generally confused and puzzled. By the end the engineer has a terrible headache. At the end, the mathematician comments about the wonderful lecture.
Engineer: “How do you understand this stuff?”
Mathematician: “I just visualize the process”
Engineer: “How can you POSSIBLY visualize something that occurs in 9-dimensional space?”
Mathematician: “Easy, first visualize it in N-dimensional space, then let N go to 9”

And at last a few relating to my own profession of control engineering:

Halfway through a recent airplane flight from Warsaw to New York, there was nearly a major disaster when the flight crew got sick from eating the fish. After they had passed out, one of the flight attendants asked over the intercom if there were any pilots in the cabin.
An elderly gentleman, who had flown a bit in the war, raised his hand and was rushed into the cockpit of the 747. When he got there, took the seat, and saw all the displays and controls, he realized he was in over his head. He told the flight attendant that he didn’t think he could fly this plane. When asked why not, he replied,
“I am just a simple Pole in a complex plane”
So, they just had to rely on the method of steepest descents.

A plane is travelling from Warsaw to London when it encounters a large amount of turbulence. A quick thinking engineer stands up and says “All poles should move to the left half of the plane”.

Closing remarks

I have posted a few of my favourite math jokes, there are many more out there. Andrej and Elena Cherkae made a huge collection include most (if not all of the ones posted here).

If you like jokes on book form instead I can recommend Math Jokes 4 Mathy folks

An last but not least what is your favourite math joke?

Posted by Kristian

Leave a Reply