Let ε < 0.


A party of physicists

Filed under: Puns, Science humor — Travis @

One day, all of the world’s famous physicists decided to get together for a tea luncheon. Fortunately, the doorman was a grad student, and able to observe some of the guests…

Everyone gravitated toward Newton, but he just kept moving around at a constant velocity and showed no reaction.

Einstein thought it was a relatively good time.

Coulomb got a real charge out of the whole thing.

Cavendish wasn’t invited, but he had the balls to show up anyway.

Cauchy, being the only mathematician there, still managed to integrate well with everyone.

Thompson enjoyed the plum pudding.

Pauli came late, but was mostly excluded from things, so he split.

Pascal was under too much pressure to enjoy himself.

Ohm spent most of the time resisting Ampere’s opinions on current events.

Hamilton went to the buffet tables exactly once.

Volt thought the social had a lot of potential.

Hilbert was pretty spaced out for most of it.

Heisenberg may or may not have been there.

The Curies were there and just glowed the whole time.

van der Waals forced himeself to mingle.

Wien radiated a colourful personality.

Millikan dropped his Italian oil dressing.

de Broglie mostly just stood in the corner and waved.

Hollerith liked the hole idea.

Stefan and Boltzman got into some hot debates.

Everyone was attracted to Tesla’s magnetic personality.

Compton was a little scatter-brained at times.

Bohr ate too much and got atomic ache.

Watt turned out to be a powerful speaker.

Hertz went back to the buffet table several times a minute.

Faraday had quite a capacity for food.

Oppenheimer got bombed.


Standards for incosequential trivia

Filed under: Puns, Science humor — Travis @

–Philip A. Simpson

10-15 bismols: 1 femto-bismol

10-12 boos: 1 picoboo

1 boo2: 1 boo-boo

10-18 boys: 1 attoboy

1012 bulls: 1 terabull

101 cards: 1 decacards

10-9 goats: 1 nanogoat

2 gorics: 1 paregoric

10-3 ink machines: 1 millink machine

109 los: 1 gigalos

10-1 mate: 1 decimate

10-2 mentals: 1 centimental

10-2 pedes: 1 centipede

106 phone: 1 megaphone

10-6 phones: 1 microphone

1012 pins: 1 terapin

From The NBS Standard, No. 15, January 1, 1970.

In a similar theme, might I also suggest this.


Nonstandard measurements

Filed under: Puns, Science humor — Travis @

Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower

Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon

Ratio of an igloo’s circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi

Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong

Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram

1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche

1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope

1 kilogram of falling figs: 1 Fig Newton

1 unit of suspense in an Agatha Christie novel: 1 whod unit

2 monograms: 1 diagram

2 wharves: 1 paradox

2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League

3 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League

8 nickels: 2 paradigms

10 rations: 1 decoration

100 rations: 1 C-ration

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone: 1 Rod Serling

52 cards: 1 decacards

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it’s less filling: 1 lite year

453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake

1000 aches: 1 kilohurtz

1000 cubic centimeters of wet socks: 1 literhosen

2000 mockingbirds: two kilomockingbirds

2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton

1 million bicycles: 2 megacycles

1 million microphones: 1 megaphone

1 trillion pins: 1 terrapin

100 Senators: Not 1 decision

Most of these were sent to me by David Glickenstein.


Good reasons for not doing your math homework

Filed under: Lower-division jokes, Puns, Upper-division jokes — Travis @

I accidentally divided by zero and my paper burst into flames.

I have the proof, but there isn’t room to write it in this margin.

I could only get arbitrarily close to my textbook. I couldn’t actually reach it.

I was watching the World Series and got tied up trying to prove that it converged.

I couldn’t figure out whether i am the square of negative one or i is the square root of negative one.

I locked the paper in my trunk but a four-dimensional dog got in and ate it.

I took time out to snack on a doughnut and a cup of coffee. I spent the rest of the night trying to figure which one to dunk.

I could have sworn I put the homework inside a Klein bottle, but this morning I couldn’t find it.

I’ve included a reference to the solutions manual, reducing this assignment to one previously solved.

I had too much π and got sick.


8 reasons π is better than e

Filed under: Lower-division jokes, Puns — Travis @
  • e is less challenging to spell than π.
  • The character for e is so cheap that it can be found on a keyboard. But π is special (it’s under “special symbols” in word processor programs.)
  • e has an easy limit definition and infinite series. The limit definition of π and the infinite series are much harder.
  • You understand what e is even though you start learning it late when you’re in pre-calculus. But π, even after five or six years it’s still hard to know what it really is.
  • People mistakenly confuse Euler’s Number (e) with Euler’s Constant (denoted by γ). There is no confusion with the one and only π.
  • e is named after a person, but π stands for itself.
  • π is much shorter and easier to say than “Euler’s Number”.
  • To read π, you don’t have to know that Euler’s name is really pronounced Oiler.


9 reasons e is better than π

Filed under: Lower-division jokes, Puns — Travis @
  • e is easier to spell than pi.
  • The character for e can be found on a keyboard, but π sure can’t.
  • Everybody fights for their piece of the π.
  • ln(π) is a really nasty number, but ln(e) = 1.
  • e is used in calculus while π is used in baby geometry.
  • e‘ is the most commonly used letter in the English alphabet.
  • e stands for Euler’s Number, π doesn’t stand for squat.
  • You don’t need to know Greek to be able to use e.
  • You can’t confuse e with a food product.



Filed under: Academic humor, Discontinuous humor, Goofy graphs, Puns — Travis @

Here are two interesting sentences for you to ponder over (and over and over…). The first is quite cute and efficient:

The second is a little more erudite:

…It’s an extremely clever implementation of Quine’s paradox. Neat.


Lotsa riddles 1: puns

Filed under: Puns, Riddles — Travis @

Q: What is this?

A: A cow pi.

Q: What do you call a really big tumor?
A: A threemor.

Q: What do you get when you cross a calculator and a friend?
A: A friend you can count on!

Q: What do you get when you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?
A: Pumkin pi.

Q: What do 2 poor monomials do at a restaurant?

A: Binomial.

Q: What does the little Mermaid wear to math class?
A: An algebra.

Q: What is a forum?
A: Twoum + twoum.

Q: What is the shape of a dead parrot?1
A: A polygon.

Q: What is + + ?
A: 9 (tree plus tree plus tree).

Q: What is + + after a dust-storm?

A: 99 (dirty-tree + dirty-tree + dirty-tree).

Q: What is + + after a dust-strom and after a bird poops on each tree?
A: 100 (dirty-tree and a turd + dirty-tree and a turd + dirty-tree and a turd).

Q: What tool do you use in algebra?
A: Multi-pliers!

Q: Where do mathematicians go shopping?
a: At the decimall.

Q: Which knight of the Round Table was a mathematician?
A: Sir Cumference.

Q: (Continuing) …And what was his wife’s name?
A: Lady Di of Ameter.

Q: Who invented fractions?
A: Henry 1/8.

Q: Why should you wear glasses to math class?
A: Because it helps to improve division.

Q:What’s a tuba plus tuba?
A: Fourba!2

1. Related to me by Kayla Rithmiller.

2. From They Might be Giants.


Trivia Mathematica

Filed under: Academic humor, Puns, Upper-division jokes — Travis @

In 1940 over lunch, Norbert Weiner and Aurel Winter amused themselves by inventing titles for articles in a journal to be called Trivia Mathematica. Wiener was enormously amused by the results, and insisted on showing them to Tibor Rado, who was well known to have no sense of humor, and was not amused. This is that list.

Announcement of the Revival
of a Distinguished Journal
founded by Norbert Wiener and Aurel Winter
in 1939.

“Everything is trivial once you know the proof.” — D. V. Widder

The first issue of Trivia Mathematica (Old Series) was never published. Trivia Mathematica (New Series) will be issed continuously in unbounded parts. Contributions may be written in Basic English, English BASIC, Poldavian, Peanese and/or Ish, and should be directed to the Editors at the Department of Metamathematics, University of the Bad Lands. Contributions will be neither acknowledged, returned, nor published.

The first issue will be dedicated to N. Bourbaki, John Rainwater, Adam Riese, O. P. Lossers, A. C. Zitronenbaum, Anon, and to the memory of T. Rado, who was not amused. It is expected to include the following papers.

  • On the well-ordering of finite sets.
  • A Jordan curve passing through no point on any plane.
  • Fermat’s Last Theorem I: The case of even primes.
  • Fermat’s Last Theorem II: A proof assuming no responsibility.
  • On the topology im Kleinen of the null circle.
  • On prime round numbers.
  • The asymptotic behavior of the coefficients of a polynomial.
  • The product of large consecutive integers is never a prime.
  • Certain invariant characterizations of the empty set.
  • The random walk on one-sided streets.
  • The statistical independence of the zeros of the exponential.
  • Fixed points in theorem space.
  • On the tritangent planes of the ternary antiseptic.
  • On the asymptotic distribution of gaps in the proofs of theorems in harmonic analysis.
  • Proof that every inequation has an unroot.
  • Sur un continu d’hypotheses qui equivalent a l’hypothese du continu.
  • On unprintable propositions.
  • A momentous problem for monotonous functions.
  • On the kernels of mathematical nuts.
  • The impossibility of the proof of the impossibility of a proof.
  • A sweeping-out process for inexhaustible mathematicians.
  • On transformations without sense.
  • The normal distribution of abnormal mathematicians.
  • The method of steepest descents on weakly bounding bicycles.
  • Elephantine analysis and Giraffical representation.
  • The twice-Born approximation.
  • Pseudoproblems for pseudodifferential operations.

The Editors are pleased to announce that because of a timely subvention from the National Silence Foundation, the first issue will not appear.


Tom Swifties

Filed under: Puns — Travis @

“6 is a special number,” Tom said perfectly.

“Remove the braces,” remarked Tom parenthetically.

“If p, then q,” implied Tom.

“The concavity changes here,” said Tom with inflection.

“It is three meters long,” ruled Tom.

“Square root of 2 is not equal to a fraction!” Tom yelled irrationally.

“They are mirror images,” reflected Tom.

“Repeating decimals do not end,” remarked Tom in his infinite wisdom.

“This is a function,” related Tom.

“1/2 is a fraction,” said Tom properly.

“It is a vector,” directed Tom.

“3 = 11 in mod 2,” noted Tom basely.

“It touches the circle just once,” noted Tom tangentially.

b2 – 4ac = 0,” discriminated Tom.

“I don’t know what (b2 – 4ac) equals and I don’t care!” said Tom indiscriminately.

“Space is an infinite set of points,” Tom said distantly.

“1… 3… 5… 7…” Tom said oddly.

“It must be a convex quadrilateral,” figured Tom.

“1 = 1,” Tom stated absolutely.

“99 is almost 100,” said Tom roughly.

“The function ez is holomorphic,” Tom analyzed.

“It’s a plane figure,” Tom said flatly.

“Proofs are necessary,” reasoned Tom.

“I hate quizzes,” Tom stated testily.

“It’s not the y-axis, it’s not the y-axis, it’s not the y-axis,” Tom said inordinately.

“The decimal expansion of 1/3 is .3333333….,” repeated Tom.

“ex may be written as 1 + x/1! + x2/2! + x3/3! + …,” expanded Tom.

These are all by Arthur Coxley and his students, except the last three, which are mine.

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