Favorite math jokes

For the discussion of math. Duh.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby phlip » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:37 am UTC

Either him or Euler... I think his list is even longer than the one for Cauchy... Actually, all of these pages are pretty ridiculous.

I think I'll call it the Last Euler-Fermat Theorem from now on.

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Monika » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:06 pm UTC

Kirby wrote:For the final question on an oral exam, a student was asked to find the limit to infinity of the following sequence: I know, I know that you know, I know that you know that I know, I know that you know that I know that you know, ...

Dazzled, all the student could come up with was, "I don't know."

The professor, equally baffled, replied, "Seriously? Come on. It's common knowledge!"

I don't get it.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby phlip » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:15 pm UTC

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby TheChewanater » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:31 pm UTC

phlip wrote:Either him or Euler... I think his list is even longer than the one for Cauchy... Actually, all of these pages are pretty ridiculous.


We should call math "Eularology".
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Monika » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

phlip wrote:A hint.

Thanks.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby StickFigure206 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:28 pm UTC

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Mike_Bson » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:03 pm UTC

i is being such a hypocrite, considering it is not a rational number.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby luftbahnfahrer » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:07 pm UTC

Here's a joke that I've had a few mathemician friends of mine convinced that this is a good joke:

Why did Bourbaki stop publishing?
Because he realised that Serge Lang was one person.

I understand that 'Bourbaki' was the pseudonym used by a group of French mathematicians that published a series of textbooks in the 1930s and 40s, and that Serge Lang was a member of this group. But why is this joke funny? I just don't get it.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby skullturf » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

Serge Lang is known for being an incredibly prolific author of textbooks, despite being only one person. I think the idea of the joke is that the members of Bourbaki were like, "Geez, even though we're a collection of people, we can't compete with that guy Lang!"

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby CZeke » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:28 am UTC

Mindworm wrote:
I don't see how this begs the question. Fermat's Last Theorem has been proven, and I see no invalid algebraic steps in this proof.

One would need to find out whether the statement he proved is used somewhere in the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. I'm no expert on this
(or on any math, at this point), but I heard that Wiles used many results of higher math (things that have only been proven recently), and you would have to check every single one of them for this trivial lemma.


I disagree completely. A proof is a proof. If it relied on anything that wasn't already proven, we couldn't call it that. So if this irrationality of roots of 2 is somehow involved in the proof of FLT, it must also be proven there, or at least an existing proof must be cited.

By the same token, once something is proven, we can use it in other proofs without fear. This problem of "begging the question" (I think what Eebster meant was circular reasoning) only happens if we assume things -- if we show that A implies B and B implies A, and call that a proof of both. This is different. If you use known fact X in a proof of theorem Y, then use theorem Y to prove X again, you haven't done anything invalid. You've just wasted your time, because X was already proven.

Using FLT to prove roots of 2 are irrational is perfectly sound, whether the FLT proof uses that fact or not. The joke is just that it's the mathematical equivalent of shooting a fly with a cannon.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Dason » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:31 am UTC

CZeke wrote:The joke is just that it's the mathematical equivalent of shooting a fly with a cannon.

That sounds like it would still take quite a bit of work.
double epsilon = -.0000001;

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby CZeke » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:48 am UTC

Let's say a dead fly, then.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:55 am UTC

CZeke wrote:By the same token, once something is proven, we can use it in other proofs without fear. This problem of "begging the question" (I think what Eebster meant was circular reasoning) only happens if we assume things -- if we show that A implies B and B implies A, and call that a proof of both. This is different. If you use known fact X in a proof of theorem Y, then use theorem Y to prove X again, you haven't done anything invalid. You've just wasted your time, because X was already proven.

The proof of this begs the question because it assumes a much stronger condition to prove a much weaker one. That doesn't mean it isn't "valid" in the sense that the propositions entail the conclusions, but it certainly isn't a useful way to derive new information, either.

It's similar to the following proof that humans need to eat food:

1. All animals need to eat food.
2. Humans are animals.
3. Therefore humans need to eat food.

Technically 1 and 2 are known to be true and do entail 3, but in order to prove 1 in the first place we would have needed to know many things, including 3.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Kirby » Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:00 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:It's similar to the following proof that humans need to eat food:

1. All animals need to eat food.
2. Humans are animals.
3. Therefore humans need to eat food.

Technically 1 and 2 are known to be true and do entail 3, but in order to prove 1 in the first place we would have needed to know many things, including 3.


Unless, of course, we defined animals as entities that need to eat food.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Monika » Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:33 am UTC

There are animals that don't eat, like a fly that mates and dies within one day.
Then it is a dead fly and can be shot with a cannon.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby mike-l » Fri Apr 08, 2011 4:56 pm UTC

Monika wrote:There are animals that don't eat, like a fly that mates and dies within one day.
Then it is a dead fly and can be shot with a cannon.

[nitpick]
Mayfly's are the shortest lived insect, living from 30 minutes to 1 day. But they still eat. Also they exist in larva for months to a year, they just die shortly after hatching.

Any living organism that does anything must consume something, whether it be food or energy (eg light or heat), conservation of energy and all.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Monika » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:50 pm UTC

Maybe it wasn't the flies then, but there was some kind of insect or worm that doesn't eat his whole (short) life time. I think it only applied to the males.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:02 am UTC

Monika wrote:Maybe it wasn't the flies then, but there was some kind of insect or worm that doesn't eat his whole (short) life time. I think it only applied to the males.

Well obviously it couldn't apply to both genders at all stages of life. :O

But no, I don't think there is anything like what you are imagining. There are, however, some adult insects that do not eat. (Also a great many adult plants.)

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby pizzazz » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:18 pm UTC

Mike_Bson wrote:i is being such a hypocrite, considering it is not a rational number.


True, though both its real and imaginary parts are rational, so maybe it likes rational numbers better than irrational ones.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:21 pm UTC

pizzazz wrote:
Mike_Bson wrote:i is being such a hypocrite, considering it is not a rational number.


True, though both its real and imaginary parts are rational.

But its argument is transcendental.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby mike-l » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:04 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
pizzazz wrote:
Mike_Bson wrote:i is being such a hypocrite, considering it is not a rational number.


True, though both its real and imaginary parts are rational.

But its argument is transcendental.

So is -1's
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Kurushimi » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:25 am UTC

Recent conversation lead me to this
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby CZeke » Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:38 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:The proof of this begs the question --


Stop right there. We agree on everything except your use of this term. Begging the question is the specific logical fallacy of assuming at some point what you're trying to prove. If something's already proven and you're just using it, there's no assumption, so you can't be begging the question.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby phlip » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:42 am UTC

Right... if you use A to prove B, then use B to prove C, then use C to prove B again, then everything's still valid. Redundant, sure (and indeed that's the joke), but not fallacious.

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Mon Apr 11, 2011 4:03 am UTC

CZeke wrote:Stop right there. We agree on everything except your use of this term. Begging the question is the specific logical fallacy of assuming at some point what you're trying to prove. If something's already proven and you're just using it, there's no assumption, so you can't be begging the question.

This phrase seems to stir more controversy than I care to deal with right now. Suffice it to say that many terms for logical and rhetorical fallacies are frequently used in a less formal sense (cf. "slippery slope"), as they nearly always crop up in informal logic. Whether or not this usage is "correct" is perhaps a different issue.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Demosthenes » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:58 pm UTC

A woman in a bar tries to pick up a mathematician.
"How old, do you think, am I?" she asks coyly.
"Well - 18 by that fire in your eyes, 19 by that glow on your cheeks, 20 by that radiance of your face, and adding that up is something you can probably do for yourself..."

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Qaanol » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:27 am UTC

Normal people smoke pot on the way to work.
wee free kings

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby joshz » Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:24 am UTC

What's the difference between a mathematician and a philosopher?
Spoiler:
A mathematician only needs some paper, a pencil, and a trash can for their work. A philosopher can do without the trash can.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:16 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:Normal people smoke pot on the way to work.

I don't get it.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby phlip » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:28 am UTC

No, you see, it's a pun... in that if you take the bell curve, and turn it upside-down, it looks kinda like a cooking pot, and then there's another pun on "work", meaning force times distance, which makes it all...

Yeah, I got no idea either.

Code: Select all

enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Talith » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:27 am UTC

I'm guessing it's a reference to some notable mathematicians (and other scientists) doing their best work while high. So they smoke weed while working (not sure how many people actually smoke on the way to work.... maybe that's an american thing)

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Qaanol » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:39 am UTC

Commute with a joint.
wee free kings

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:37 am UTC

Qaanol wrote:Commute with a joint.

Wait, I still don't get it. Is a "joint" like a "join"?

E: For normal subgroups A and B, A∨B = B∨A, where ∨ represents the join of the lattice of normal subgroups, so I guess that makes sense.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:24 am UTC

Wikipedia wrote:Representations

According to the standard mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, quantum observables such as x and p should be represented as self-adjoint operators on some Hilbert space. It is relatively easy to see that two operators satisfying the canonical commutation relations cannot both be bounded. The canonical commutation relations can be made tamer by writing them in terms of the (bounded) unitary operators e−ikx and e−iap, which admit finite-dimensional representations as well. The resulting braiding relations for these are the so-called Weyl relations. The uniqueness of the canonical commutation relations between position and momentum is guaranteed by the Stone-von Neumann theorem. The group associated with these commutation relations is called the Heisenberg group.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby mahannes » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:07 pm UTC

This might be to geeky even for this forum, but I came up with a while ago and have had a hard time finding a nerdy enough crowd so I figured I'd try here. =)

A frequentist and a bayesanist walk into a bar. A girl is smiling at the bayesanist as they order drinks. The frequentist says:

"Go flirt with her, you can easily score her."

The bayesanist then walks up to her and talks for a bit, but she turns him down and leaves. Walking back to the frequentist he has a big smile on his face, and the frequentist asks him why he would look so happy, when his flirtation appearently didn't end well. The bayesanist answers:

"According to my calculations, we're making out right now!"

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby ConMan » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:39 pm UTC

I was thinking of showing that to some Bayesian friends/coworkers to see if it's funny to them, but I'm having trouble coming up with a suitable prior.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Dason » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:43 pm UTC

mahannes wrote:This might be to geeky even for this forum, but I came up with a while ago and have had a hard time finding a nerdy enough crowd so I figured I'd try here. =)

A frequentist and a bayesanist walk into a bar. A girl is smiling at the bayesanist as they order drinks. The frequentist says:

"Go flirt with her, you can easily score her."

The bayesanist then walks up to her and talks for a bit, but she turns him down and leaves. Walking back to the frequentist he has a big smile on his face, and the frequentist asks him why he would look so happy, when his flirtation appearently didn't end well. The bayesanist answers:

"According to my calculations, we're making out right now!"

Sounds like the cheeky bastard used a point mass prior.

(It does tend to make the calculations easier...)
double epsilon = -.0000001;

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby NathanielJ » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:36 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
Qaanol wrote:Commute with a joint.

Wait, I still don't get it. Is a "joint" like a "join"?


Presumably it's "a joint" like "adjoint". A normal operator is one that commutes with its adjoint. Hence, the joke. You may now slap your knee.
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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:03 pm UTC

NathanielJ wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:
Qaanol wrote:Commute with a joint.

Wait, I still don't get it. Is a "joint" like a "join"?


Presumably it's "a joint" like "adjoint". A normal operator is one that commutes with its adjoint. Hence, the joke. You may now slap your knee.

Ah, I see.

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Re: Favorite math jokes

Postby Garrett » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:25 pm UTC

Dunno if someone already posted this:
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