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Math Jokes

  1. Customer: "How much is a large order of Fibonaccos?"
    Cashier: "It's the price of a small order plus the price of a medium order."
    Henry G. Baker (

  2. Zenophobia: the irrational fear of convergent sequences.
    Mike Taylor (

  3. There really are only two types of people in the world, those that don't do math, and those that take care of them.
    Larry James (

  4. A physicist, a biologist, and a mathematician are sitting in a café and notice people going into and coming out of the house across the street. First they see two people going into the house. Time passes. After a while, they notice three persons coming out of the house.
    The physicist: "The measurement was not accurate."
    The biologist: "They have reproduced."
    The mathematician: "If one person enters the house, then it will be empty again."

  5. An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician find themselves in an anecdote, indeed an anecdote quite similar to many that you have no doubt already heard. After some observations and rough calculations, the engineer realizes the situation and starts laughing. A few minutes later, the physicist understands too and chuckles to himself happily as he now has enough experimental evidence to publish a paper. This leaves the mathematician somewhat perplexed, as he had observed right away that he was the subject of an anecdote, and deduced quite rapidly the presence of humor from similar anecdotes, but considers this anecdote to be too trivial a corollary to be significant, let alone funny.
    Forwarded to me by Phil Freed.

  6. Q: What is the physicist's definition of a vector space?
    A: A set V such that for any x in V, x has a little arrow drawn over it.
    Snis Pilbor (

  7. A farmer discovered his horse was extraordinarily intelligent. You could ask it an arithmetic problem, and it would tap out the answer with a hoof. Researchers were fascinated and tested the horse. They discovered the horse understood algebra, Euclidean geometry, calculus, and even group theory. However, when they gave the horse problems with Cartesian coordinates, it just stood there dumbly, like any horse. This was quite surprising, given how intelligent the horse was otherwise. They brought in an expert who examined the situation and explained the problem: "Of course the horse cannot understand any Cartesian coordinates you show it. You are putting Descartes before the horse."

  8. ex and a constant were walking down the street. Suddenly, the constant notices a differential operator walking along the other side of the street. "Oh, no!" exclaims the constant. "I've got to run away! You've got to hide me! There's a differential operator... he could reduce me to nothing!" "Hmmmph," came the haughty reply. "I'm ex. He can't do anything to me." So ex walked across the street and introduced himself. "Hi. How are you doing? I am ex," he bragged. "Pleased to meet you," replied the differential operator. "I'm d/dy."
    Forwarded to me by Phil Freed.

  9. Never say "N factorial," simply scream "N" at the top of your lungs.
    Mark David Biesiada (

  10. Theorem: Consider the set of all sets that have never been considered. Hey! They're all gone! Oh, well, never mind...
    Dr. David Batchelor (

  11. One of my undergrad professors was asked what kind of problems would be on the final. His answer: "Just study the old tests. The problems will be be the same, just the numbers will be different. But not all the numbers will be different. Pi will be the same. Planck's constant will be the same..."
    Kurt Jaeger (

  12. Expand (a+b)^n.
        (a + b) ^ n
      (a  +  b)  ^  n
    (a   +   b)   ^   n
    et cetera.
    Zdislav V. Kovarik (kovarik@mcmail.cis.McMaster.CA).

  13. Another professor, when asked how many problems there would be on the final, turned to the student and replied, "I think you will have lots of problems on the final."
    Kurt Jaeger (

  14. If a traveling salesman starts in Houston, visits every city in the United States just once, and ends up where he started, has he completed a Houston Euler Circuit?
    Todd Federman (

  15. Philosophy is a game with objectives and no rules.
    Mathematics is a game with rules and no objectives.
    Ian Ellis (

  16. A mathematician, standing puzzled at the photocopier and complaining to the secretary: "I set it to 'Single Sided Copy,' and now it comes out as a Möbius Strip!"
    Originally a cartoon in the American Mathematical Monthly, via Hauke Reddman (
When somebody asked for a one-paragraph description of the game Set!, I wrote:
The 81 points in the four-dimensional vector space over the integers modulo three are shuffled in preparation for selection without replacement. A Set is three colinear points. The dealer reveals 12 points to all players. Any player who discovers a Set proclaims "Set!", identifies its points to the other players, and collects the points. If "Set!" is proclaimed in error, the player's score is decreased by three. The dealer reveals three more points each time the revealed points number fewer than 12 or contain no Set. When play cannot continue, the player with the most points wins.

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Toni Cornelissen
4 september 2007
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