(*) Here is one by an anonymous mathematician (posted by Ron Ferguson to
math-teach Mailing List):
[A math. prof.]
gave 4 problems as a final example. The first three asked for proofs
of theorems. The last proposed a statement and asked the student to
"prove or disprove" the statement. One student struggled for a long
time, then approached the professor:
"On this last problem, do you want me to prove it or disprove it?"
the student asked.
"Which ever is correct," replied the professor.
"Oh," said the student, " I can do either one. I just wanted to
know which you preferred."
Article 7615 of rec.humor:
>From: ed@csd4.milw.wisc.edu (Ed bunny Ahrenhoerster)
Subject: Math joke collection
Keywords: LONG Long long
Message-ID: <6723@uwmcsd1.UUCP>
Date: 4 Sep 88 00:29:18 GMT
Organization: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
I have had a number of requests for my collection of math jokes,
so I will just post it here. These were taken off the net a year
or two ago (from sci.math), so these are 100% guaranteed repeats. (hey at least
i am honest :-) Included is the name of whoever posted these originally.
-Ed
******************************************************************************
>From uwmcsd1!ig!agate!helios.ee.lbl.gov!nosc!cod!jscosta Wed Jun 29 02:01:57 C
DT 1988
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Q: What's yellow, and equivalent to the Axiom of Choice?
A: Zorn's Lemon.
James Currie
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Heisenberg might have slept here.
Aaron Avery, University of Wisconsin
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My geometry teacher was sometimes acute, and sometimes
obtuse, but always, he was right.
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I saw the following scrawled on a math office blackboard in college:
1 + 1 = 3, for large values of 1
Rob Gardner, HP Ft. Collins, CO
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lim ----
8-->9 \/ 8 = 3
Donald Chinn, UC-Berkeley
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Weiner was in fact very absent minded. The following story is told
about him: When they moved from Cambridge to Newton his wife, knowing
that he would be absolutely useless on the move, packed him off to
MIT while she directed the move. Since she was certain that he would
forget that they had moved and where they had moved to, she wrote down
the new address on a piece of paper, and gave it to him. Naturally,
in the course of the day, an insight occurred to him. He reached in
his pocket, found a piece of paper on which he furiously scribbled
some notes, thought it over, decided there was a fallacy in his idea,
and threw the piece of paper away. At the end of the day he went
home (to the old address in Cambridge, of course). When he got there
he realized that they had moved, that he had no idea where they had
moved to, and that the piece of paper with the address was long gone.
Fortunately inspiration struck. There was a young girl on the street
and he conceived the idea of asking her where he had moved to, saying,
"Excuse me, perhaps you know me. I'm Norbert Weiner and we've just
moved. Would you know where we've moved to?" To which the young
girl replied, "Yes daddy, mommy thought you would forget."
The capper to the story is that I asked his daughter (the girl in
the story) about the truth of the story, many years later. She
said that it wasn't quite true -- that he never forgot who his
children were! The rest of it, however, was pretty close to what
actually happened...
Richard Harter, Computer Corp. of America, Cambridge, MA
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Theorem : All positive integers are equal.
Proof : Sufficient to show that for any two positive integers, A and B,
A = B. Further, it is sufficient to show that for all N > 0, if A
and B (positive integers) satisfy (MAX(A, B) = N) then A = B.
Proceed by induction.
If N = 1, then A and B, being positive integers, must both be 1.
So A = B.
Assume that the theorem is true for some value k. Take A and B
with MAX(A, B) = k+1. Then MAX((A-1), (B-1)) = k. And hence
(A-1) = (B-1). Consequently, A = B.
Keith Goldfarb
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A bunch of Polish scientists decided to flee their repressive
government by hijacking an airliner and forcing the pilot to
fly them to a western country. They drove to the airport,
forced their way on board a large passenger jet, and found there
was no pilot on board. Terrified, they listened as the sirens
got louder. Finally, one of the scientists suggested that since
he was an experimentalist, he would try to fly the aircraft.
He sat down at the controls and tried to figure them out. The sirens
got louder and louder. Armed men surrounded the jet. The would be
pilot's friends cried out, "Please, please take off now!!!
Hurry!!!!!!" The experimentalist calmly replied, "Have patience.
I'm just a simple pole in a complex plane."
Lyle Levine, Washington University, St. Louis
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An assemblage of the most gifted minds in the world were all posed the followin
g 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, oblivious to the rest of the world,
then announces: "I don't what the answer is, but I can tell you, an answer
exists!".
Philosopher: "But what do you _mean_ by 2 * 2 ?"
Logician: "Please define 2 * 2 more precisely."
Accountant: Closes all the doors and windows, looks around carefully,
then asks "What do you _want_ the answer to be?"
Computer Hacker: Breaks into the NSA super-computer and gives the answer.
Dave Horsfall, Alcatel-STC Australia, North Sydney
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During a class of calculus my lecturer suddenly checked himself and
stared intently at the table in front of him for a while. Then he
looked up at us and explained that he thought he had brought six piles
of papers with him, but "no matter how he counted" there was only five
on the table. Then he became silent for a while again and then told
the following story:
"When I was young in Poland I met the great mathematician Waclaw
Sierpinski. He was old already then and rather absent-minded. Once he
had to move to a new place for some reason. His wife didn't trust
him very much, so when they stood down on the street with all their
things, she said:
- Now, you stand here and watch our ten trunks, while I go and get a
taxi.
She left and left him there, eyes somewhat glazed and humming
absently. Some minutes later she returned, presumably having called
for a taxi. Says Mr Sierpinski (possibly with a glint in his eye):
- I thought you said there were ten trunks, but I've only counted to nine.
- No, they're TEN!
- No, count them: 0, 1, 2, ..."
Kai-Mikael, Royal Inst. of Technology, Stockholm, SWEDEN
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What's nonorientable and lives in the sea?
Mobius Dick.
Jeff Dalton, U. of Edinburgh, UK
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Definition:
Jogging girl scout = Brownian motion.
Ilan Vardi, Stanford
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