Math Humor


Top 10 Excuses for Not Turning in Math Homework

10. It's Isaac Newton's birthday.
9. I couldn't decide whether i is the square root of -1 or i are the square root of -1.
8. I accidently divided by 0 and my paper burst into flames.
7. It's stuck inside a Klein bottle.
6. I could only get arbitrarily close to my textbook.
5. I had too much pi and got sick.
4. Someone already published it, so I didn't bother to write it up.
3. A four-dimensional dog ate it.
2. I have a solar calculator and it was cloudy.
1. There wasn't enough room to write it in the margin.


Top Ten Things That Math and Sex Have in Common

10. Explicit discussions of either topic is a faux pas at most cocktail parties.
9. Historically, men have been in control, but there are now efforts to get women more involved.
8. There are many joint results.
7. Both are prominent on college campuses, and are usually practiced indoors.
6. Most people wish they knew more about both subjects.
5. Both involve long and hard problems, and can produce interesting topology and geometry.
4. Both merit undivided attention, but mathematicians are prone to think about one while doing the other.
3. Saint Augustine was hostile to both, and Alan Turing took an unusual approach to both.
2. Both typically begin with a lot of hard work and end with a great but brief reward.
1. Professionals are generally viewed with suspicion, and most do not earn high pay.


Definitions of Terms Commonly Used in Math

CLEARLY: I don't want to write down all the in-between steps.

TRIVIAL: If I have to show you how to do this, you're in the wrong class.

OBVIOUSLY: I hope you weren't sleeping when we discussed this earlier, because I refuse to repeat it.

RECALL: I shouldn't have to tell you this, but for those of you who erase your memory tapes after every test, here it is again.

WITHOUT LOSS OF GENERALITY: I'm not about to do all the possible cases, so I'll do one and let you figure out the rest.

ONE MAY SHOW: One did, his name was Gauss.

IT IS WELL KNOWN: See "Mathematische Zeitschrift'', vol XXXVI, 1892.

CHECK FOR YOURSELF: This is the boring part of the proof, so you can do it on your own time.

SKETCH OF A PROOF: I couldn't verify the details, so I'll break it down into parts I couldn't prove.

HINT: The hardest of several possible ways to do a proof.

BRUTE FORCE: Four special cases, three counting arguments, two long inductions, and a partridge in a pair tree.

SOFT PROOF: One third less filling (of the page) than your regular proof, but it requires two extra years of course work just to understand the terms.

ELEGANT PROOF: Requires no previous knowledge of the subject, and is less than ten lines long.

SIMILARLY: At least one line of the proof of this case is the same as before.

CANONICAL FORM: 4 out of 5 mathematicians surveyed recommended this as the final form for the answer.

THE FOLLOWING ARE EQUIVALENT: If I say this it means that, and if I say that it means the other thing, and if I say the other thing...

BY A PREVIOUS THEOREM: I don't remember how it goes (come to think of it, I'm not really sure we did this at all), but if I stated it right, then the rest of this follows.

TWO LINE PROOF: I'll leave out everything but the conclusion.

BRIEFLY: I'm running out of time, so I'll just write and talk faster.

LET'S TALK THROUGH IT: I don't want to write it on the board because I'll make a mistake.

PROCEED FORMALLY: Manipulate symbols by the rules without any hint of their true meaning.

QUANTIFY: I can't find anything wrong with your proof except that it won't work if x is 0.

FINALLY: Only ten more steps to go...

Q.E.D. : T.G.I.F.

PROOF OMITTED: Trust me, it's true.


A Math Romance

They integrated from the very point of origin. Her curves were continuous, and even though he was odd, he was a real number. The day their lines first intersected, they became an ordered pair. From then on it was a continuous function. They were both in their prime, so in next to no time they were horizontal and parallel. She was awed by the magnitude of his perpendicular line, and he was amazed by her conical projections. "Bisect my angle!" she postulated each time she reached her local maximum. He taught her the chain rule as she implicitly defined the amplitude of his simple harmonic motion. They underwent multiple rotations of their axes, until at last they reached the vertex, the critical point, their finite limit. After that they slept like logs. Later she found him taking a right-handed limit, that was a problem, because it was an improper form. He meanwhile had realized that she was irrational, not to mention square. She approached her ex, so they diverged.


Top Ten Reasons to Become a Statistician

10. Deviation is considered normal.
9. We feel complete and sufficient.
8. We are mean lovers.
7. Statisticians do it discretely and continuously.
6. We are right 95% of the time.
5. We can safely comment on someone's posterior distribution.
4. We may not be normal but we are transformable.
3. We never have to say we are certain.
2. We are honestly significantly different.
1. No one wants our jobs.


Top Ten Math Major Pick-Up Lines

10. You fascinate me more than the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.
9. Since distance equals velocity times time, let's let velocity or time approach infinity, because I want to go all the way with you.
8. My love for you is like a concave up function because it is always increasing.
7. Let's convert our potential energy to kinetic energy.
6. Wanna come back to my room....and see my 733mhz Pentium?
5. You and I would add up better than a Riemann sum.
4. Your body has the nicest arc length I've ever seen.
3. I wish I was your derivative because then I would be tangent to your curves.
2. I hope you know set theory because I want to intersect you and union you.
1. Would you like to see my log?


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