Math MayhemMathematical LimericksWho says there's no poetry in mathematics? Consider this equation:
Integral zsquared dzBefore you send me critical emails, I already know that the "log" is "natural log" or "log to the base e". This limerick apparently dates from that period in history when physicists understood the convention that "log" without qualification meant "natural log" and that if any other kind of log was meant, you had to specify its base explicitly in the notation. The next equation limerick is easier. It was devised by Leigh Mercer (18931977), and appeared in Word Ways, 13, 1, (Feb, 1980), p. 36. Mercer also devised one of the most famous palindromes: "A man, a plan, a canal—Panama." Mercer's biography can be found in Word Ways, 24, 3. (August 1991), p. 131138. He was a London panhandler who drew caricatures on sidewalks for donations.
Translation:
A dozen a gross and a score,I suppose we should include here Mercer's example of how to make a limerick from a number, 1,264,853,971.2758463, or vice versa.
One thousand two hundred and sixty
A mathematician confided A burlycue dancer, a pipHere's two original mathematical limericks by Donald E. Simanek.
Null vectors have zero projection. The Professor said, "Now I'll tell youFinally, Martin Gardner contributes this one to our collection. The Unending Mystery of π
π goes on and on and on,
Pondering the infiniteness of π, Patrick Killen of Australia dashed off this limerick.
An adventurer once tried to fly
Martin Gardner revealed to me this curiosity of numerology: Write out the alphabet starting with J: JKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHI Erase all letters that have leftright symmetry (such as A) and count the letters in each of the five groups that remain. Who would have thought that π was hidden in the English alphabet? Folks addicted to mystical interpretations of mathematics get all excited about such things.
Math Proofreading. Write out 5 + 5 + 5 = 550 with pencil on paper, an "equation" which is obviously incorrect. But you can correct it by adding just one straight line with the pencil. Better yet, there are at least two different ways you can do this.
Fuzzy Logic Any variable x which refuses to be dependent on any y is is about as "independent" as it can be.
Base deception A problem in number base conversions: Prove that Christmas = Halloween = Thanksgiving. Proof:
Halloween = OCT 31 Thanksgiving = NOV 27
DEC 25 is 25 base 10 or (2 x 10) + (5 x 1) = 25
Oneliners.Amoebas make poor mathematicians; they divide to multiply.
Q. What do you get when you cross an anopheles mosquito with a mountain climber? Since a homonym (scalar & scaler) is involved, this works only as a spoken joke.
Submit math and physics jokes or general comments to the address shown to the right. When commenting on a specific document, please reference it by name or content.
Return to the top of this document.
