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What's your favorite bit of math/science humor?

  1. mathsciguy profile image59
    mathsciguyposted 6 years ago

    Mine is the list of invalid methods of proof (original source unknown):

    Proof by example
    The author gives only the case n = 2 and suggests that it contains most of the ideas of the general proof.

    Proof by intimidation

    Proof by vigorous handwaving
    Works well in a classroom or seminar setting.

    Proof by cumbersome notation
    Best done with access to at least four alphabets and special symbols.

    Proof by funding
    How could three different government agencies be wrong?

    Proof by eminent authority
    �I saw Karp in the elevator and he said it was probably NP-complete.�

    Proof by reference to inaccessible literature
    The author cites a simple corollary of a theorem to be found in a privately circulated memoir of the Slovenian Philological Society, 1883.

    Proof by accumulated evidence
    Long and diligent search has not revealed a counterexample.

    Proof by ghost reference
    Nothing even remotely resembling the cited theorem appears in the reference given.

    Bonus points if you find examples of these invalid methods of proof in certain popular forum debates... smile

    1. Jbern117 profile image79
      Jbern117posted 6 years ago in reply to this

      This one isn't necessarily math/science humor, but is about a mathematician and engineer, so I suppose it kind of fits...

      A mathematician and an engineer are sitting next to each other on a long flight. The mathematician leans over to the engineer and asks if he would like to play a fun game. The engineer just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.

      The mathematician persists and explains that the game is real easy and lots of fun. He explains, "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $5."

      Again, the engineer politely declines and tries to get to sleep. The mathematician, now somewhat agitated, says, "Okay, if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5, and if I don't know the answer, I'll pay you $50!"

      This catches the engineer's attention, and he sees no end to this torment unless he plays, so he agrees to the game. The mathematician asks the first question. "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?"

      The engineer doesn't say a word, but reaches into his wallet, pulls out a five-dollar bill and hands it to the mathematician Now, it's the engineer's turn. He asks the mathematician "What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down on four?"

      The mathematician looks up at him with a puzzled look. He takes out his laptop computer and searches all of his references. He taps into the air phone with his modem and searches the net and the Library of Congress. Frustrated, he sends e-mail to his co-workers all to no avail.

      After about an hour, he wakes the engineer and hands him $50. The engineer politely takes the $50 and turns away to try to get back to sleep.

      The mathematician then hits the engineer, saying, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down on four?" The engineer calmly pulls out his wallet, hands the mathematician five bucks, and goes back to sleep.

  2. kerryg profile image87
    kerrygposted 6 years ago


  3. profile image0
    Motown2Chitownposted 6 years ago

    Helium walks into a bar.  The bartender looks at him snidely and scoffs, "We don't serve inert gases in this place buddy."

    Helium does not react.

  4. cubesz profile image59
    cubeszposted 6 years ago

    Little Boy: "My math teacher is crazy".

    MOTHER: "Why?"

    Little Boy: "Yesterday she told us that five is 4+1; today she is telling us that five is 3 + 2."

  5. profile image71
    jhyun95posted 6 years ago

    A worker walks into a building and two walk out.

    Physicist: Experimental error.
    Biologist: They must have reproduced.
    Mathematician: If one more person walks in the building will be empty

  6. paradigmsearch profile image91
    paradigmsearchposted 6 years ago

    These are good. lol smile