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Monday, September 15, 2008


A nice thing happened to me on Sunday. I was talking on the phone with my grad school mathematician son (hereafter known as, MGSMS) and he told me several math jokes.

[Background info needed: whenever MGSMS starts talking math, I know it is time to strap on my thinking cap and listen hard. I am recognizing terms. I know that differential equations and real analysis are math things, but I don’t exactly know what they are. (Exactly here means, not at all.) This doesn’t bother me though; I just love to hear him talk shop.]

Meanwhile back at the math jokes…HSAT, (see second comment on this post; thanks D.P.) when MGSMS was telling me the jokes, I had the tiniest bit of trepidation, expecting not to have a clue, but I did! I even got two of them and laughed loudly. (In text talk, that would be spelled ROFL.) I was so busy listening hard to the math lingo I expected not to understand that I got the bones of the jokes, but not the meat, so I am going to repeat them here taking a bit of creative license.

Joke #1 (This one made me laugh the hardest): There was a physicist, an engineer and a mathematician stranded on one of those desert islands you’ve heard so much about in movies, books, and television with nothing to eat but a single can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. The problem was they were hungry, but they had no implement with which to open the can. At this point, the physicist, engineer, and mathematician put their minds to solving the problem.

After a while, the physicist suggested that they heat the can until the temperature of the liquid inside elevated to the point that the can would explode. The other two pooh-poohed the idea, due to the mess this action would incur.

The engineer put forth his solution next. He thought it might be wise to climb into one of the rather tall and exotic-looking trees at the edge of the beach and hurl the can from that great height onto one of the large rocks below, smashing it David Letterman style. The other two pooh-poohed the idea, due to the mess this action would incur.

The mathematician then suggested, “Let’s assume we have a can opener…”

Joke #2: There was a biologist, a physicist, and a mathematician eating ice cream sundaes at a park. Across the street there was a lovely two-story home. It had an old-fashioned front porch, a huge weeping willow tree with a rope swing, and flower boxes on each window that were brimming with blue and white lobelia and silvery ivy. However, because there was no car in the driveway and everything was quiet on the property, the biologist, the physicist, and the mathematician determined that the house was empty.

After the biologist, the physicist, and the mathematician finished their ice cream sundaes, they went back to the little concession stand, which was manned by two teenaged girls, one with braces. The physicist purchased a round of root beer floats, and the three wise guys went back to the park bench to look at the lovely, but empty house.

As they were spooning out the vanilla ice cream, a man in a bright yellow T-shirt and old jeans walked up to the front of the empty house, opened the robin-egg blue front door, and went inside.

The biologist, the physicist, and the mathematician were slurping out the last of the root beer through their red-and-white striped straws when the man in the bright yellow T-shirt and old jeans came out the robin-egg blue front door with another fellow in a forest green, button-down shirt and khaki cargo pants.

The biologist, the physicist, and the mathematician each raised their left eyebrows and appeared to be contemplating the mysteries of the universe.

The conclusions of the three follow:
The biologist, “Obviously, they multiplied.”
The physicist, “I believe our initial count was incorrect.”
The mathematician, "If exactly one person goes back in again, the house will be empty."

1 comment:

emmaus said...

Hey, I got those jokes! lol