(Thanks to the nice people at the bottom of the page for some gems. Your joke or gem could go here, too. Just e-mail me.)
“The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift, which we neither understand nor deserve.”—E.P. Wigner from “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” in Symmetries and Reflections, (Oxbow Press, Woodbridge, Conn., 1979), p. 237.
Mathematical Moments (AMS) are short articles demonstrating the role math plays in science, technology, and culture.
- Here is a Wolfram site on my field, tomography.
- This fun web site, www.whydomath.org, describes fun mathematics (including tomography) and what mathematicians do.
- Here is a creative, interactive math site, imaginary.org, sponsored by the Mathematical Institute Oberwolfach.
- Here is a blog for the mathematically curious.
- Here is an enjoyable discussion on infinity.
- Numberphile has enjoyable math excursions.
Check out Vi Hart’s site for really fun math videos that are suitable for everyone and include real math! Here’s a nice New York Times article about her work.
Did you ever wonder about zero?? Read on!
Here is a story about prison inmates discovering math. Tufts has a terrific program, TUPIT, in which Tufts faculty and students teach in Massachusetts prisons.
Here are interesting facts about the whole numbers up to 9,999.
And here’s all about Tom Lehrer’s new math. Google his name to find other songs of his!
In math 135, Real Analysis, we prove the Bolzano Weierstrass Theorem, and here is a Rap version for the real line!! Rumor has it this will be on some final or another!
Here is inspiration for everyone who has had a paper rejected (or been rejected from a job …. or…..(originally at http://www.columbia.edu/%7Exs23/reject.htm).
If you want a theorem named after you, read on!
Here is a list of how (or how not) to write a paper (originally at http://www.jmilne.org/math/tips.html)
If that isn’t good enough, read on to tell if you’re really a pure mathematician.
Here’s a fun and really effective way to convince people you’ve been working too hard. (This always gets me laughing!)
If you ever wondered where mathematics stands in the intellectual hierarchy read on!
(these very cool jokes came from http://xkcd.com )
What do you call two guys who love algebra? Ans: Alge-bros
A waiter asks a computer scientist (or logician), “Do you want soup or salad?” The computer scientist replies, “yes.”
Here’s how NOT to impress your teachers.
Speaking of numbers, if people call you “four eyes,” what should you say?
……I’m number 1!! (hint: i*i*i*i)
Here and here and are web sites for math jokes. Here’s one for math jokes by kids.
Here is a web site for math comics, and here’s a Larson comic for those who think they don’t have horse sense about math (but you all do have good sense about math!).
Here are some riddles complements of James Adler.
How about reading 75 proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem.
If you’d like the Beatles and Pi, then sing on!
Why did pi get its driver’s license revoked? A: because it didn’t know when to stop.
Speaking of numbers: I thought about taking the square root of two, but that is just irrational.
In the same vein, here is one more way to do math:
Q: Do you know why 16/64 = 1/4?
A: Cancel the 6’s!
- Q: Why is glue so bad at math?
- A: It gets stuck on everything!
- Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
- A: The answer is trivial and left as an exercise for the reader.
Do you know why 6 is afraid of 7?? Click here for the answer.
WARNING: I have been known to put this question on final tests!
If you want to hear the answer sung, click here! (originally on http://www.bnlmusic.com/ )
Q: How many elements are in a commutative group?
A: A-belian (…………….10^9)
What did one math book say to the other?? Click here for the answer.
What did the zero say to the eight?? Click here for the answer.
If you’re in a German mood….What, according to Sigmund Freud, comes between fear and sex? Click here for the answer!
Theorem: All positive integers are interesting.
Proof: Assume the contrary. Then there is a lowest non-interesting positive integer. But, hey, that’s pretty interesting! A contradiction.
Theorem: Consider the set of all sets that have never been considered. Hey!
They’re all gone! Oh, well, never mind…
Q: Do you already know the latest stats joke?
A friend got this in a fortune cookie (really!!): 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
A professor gives a multiple-choice test and sees a student flipping coins. The prof. goes over and asks the student why he’s flipping coins and the student explains he didn’t study and figures that just random guessing would be better than anything he could do.
Finally, near the end of the test, the prof. sees the student furiously flipping coins and walks over and asks why. Click here for reason.
A farmer asks his sheepdog to count his new sheep. The dog runs into the field, and after a bit, runs back to his master,
“40,” replies the dog.
“How can there be 40?” exclaims the farmer. “I only bought 38!”
“I know,” says the dog. “But I rounded them up.”
Q: Why can’t you hold a conversation with derivatives?
A: Because they keep going on tangents!
Here’s what your math profs mean when they use the following words:
- 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.
- It can easily be shown: No more than four hours are needed to prove it.
- Brute force: Four special cases, three counting arguments and two long inductions.
- Elegant proof: Requires no previous knowledge of the subject matter and is less than ten lines long.
- Similarly: At least one line of the proof of this case is the same as before.
- Two line proof: I’ll leave out everything but the conclusion, you can’t question ’em if you can’t see ’em.
- Briefly: I’m running out of time, so I’ll just write and talk faster.
- Proceed formally: Manipulate symbols by the rules without any hint of their true meaning.
- Proof omitted: Trust me, It’s true.
e^x and a constant are walking down the street together when the constant sees a differential operator coming their way. He starts to run away, and e^x asks “Why are you running away?” The constant answers “That’s a differential operator. If it acts on me, I disappear.” e^x says “I’m e^x, I don’t have anything to worry about.” and keeps on walking. When he reaches the differential operator, he says “Hi, I’m e^x.” The differential operator responds, “Hi, I’m d/dy”
If you would like to derive click here!
Two mathematicians are studying a convergent series.
The first one says: “Do you realize that the series converges even when all the terms are made positive?”
The second one asks: “Are you sure?”
The first one says: “Absolutely!“
A group of Mathematicians were in a band. They got up on stage and proceeded to stand there in silence for three whole minutes. When a member of the audience asked what they were doing, the band replied, “why, we’re playing an imaginary number.”
Q: What does a mathematician say at the door on Halloween?
A: Trig or Treat!!
Do you know what (sin x)/n is? ANS: six!
Now, do you know what (sin x)/x is?
Speaking of imaginary numbers…. Here’s something that happened last time I got a wrong number: “I’m sorry, the number you have dialed is an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and dial again.”
Do you know the shortest mathematical joke?…… Let epsilon be less than zero.
… and then there was the statistician who drowned in a river which was only 5 inches deep……on average.
What’s yellow, linear, normed, and complete?? Click here for answer.
What’s complete, has an inner product, and is filled with satirical office humor? Click here for the answer.
Here are some good ones from http://mathworld.wolfram.com/AbelianGroup.html
Q: What’s purple and commutes? A: An Abelian grape.
Q: What is lavender and commutes? A: An Abelian semigrape.
Q: What’s purple, commutes, and is worshipped by a limited number of people?
A: A finitely-venerated Abelian grape.
Q: What is non-orientable and lives in the ocean? A: Möbius Dick,
Q: What’s nutritious and commutes? A: An Abelian soup.
Why was the student confused when they went from English class to math class?
Answer: Because they were taught that a double negative in English is bad, but in math, it’s a positive!
An engineer physicist and mathematician are asked to make a fence to enclose the most land with the least fencing.
The engineer says “I can do that” and makes a circular fence.
The physicist “I can do better” and makes a fence that goes around the equator.
The math bemusedly says” Oh yeah…wow” and makes a small fence around herself. “I declare this to be the outside!”
Why can you never trust a math teacher holding graphing paper? They must be plotting something.
Why was the equal sign so humble? Because she knew she wasn’t greater than or less than anyone else.
What do you call dudes who love math? Algebros.
A man was complaining that although he had been able to teach his horse mathematics and physics the horse was unable to learn philosophy, which proves you can’t put Descartes before the horse.
Physics is math constrained by reality and engineering is physics constrained by money!
Here’s a fun anagram: eleven plus two = twelve plus one
There are three types of people, those who know how to count and those who don’t.
There are 10 types of people, those who know binary and those who don’t.
Then, if you are a romantic math person at heart, check out this.
Here’s a fun update to the Abbott and Costello joke about who’s on first but with computers (thanks to Cousin Nino).
Here’s how Abbott and Costello show 7 x 13 = 28!
Here are some fun puns.
Here is a fun article on Babbage and Lovelace who were early computer aces.
What English King invetnted fractions??
Answer: Henry the 1/8! It made sense since he had to “divide from the Catholic Church. That takes some courage, so he must have been twice the man Louis the 1/16 ever was!
Thanks to R. Ammon, S. Atlas, E. Axinn, M. Babai, A.Berrian, M.Birtwhistle, S. Bobrow, B. Boghosian, M. Burr, B. Calis, A. Casale, C. Collins, J, Cormack, S. Cugini, M. Curtis, P. Forte, R. Freed, D. Grayson, D. Greisen, T. Gwena, E. Harris (and the play “ Proof” by David Auburn), B. Hasselblatt, E. Harvey, A. Haurwitz, Gabor H., L. Howell, S. Hu, J. Hugg, D. Ivy, D. Jacobs, S. Jara, KK, M. Kain, E. Kalafarski, A. Kang ,R. Kufmann, R. Kelley, D. Lauden, A. Lee, R. Levitt, K. Lewis, Max I.L.S., H. Lin, T. London, K. Maxwell, S. MacLachlan, B.Z. Mayer, E. McClure, L. Mittel, A super Ottoson sixth grade math teacher, K. Mueller, S. Mullins, R. Mungar, I. Nazhar, F. Nelson, K, Nichols-Schmolze, Anne A.P., S. Patch, C. Pierce, B. Powers, R. Pratt, LQ, Nick and Lauren Q., G. Raymond, J. Rennie, A. Rieder, O. Rigatti, M. Rose, T. Schuster, M. Scott, J. Seltzer, D. Shaw, N. Slaughter, E. St. Sauvier, C.M. Tan, M. Thramann, R. Tobin, J. Waldman, J. Xu, M. Yan, J. Yorke, Y. Zhu, the Zigos, Uncle Karl, cousins Diney, Kaa, Karl III, Lisa, Nancy, and Nino, niece Ashley, kids at Boston Children’s Hospital, and some kind anonymous soul.