Tag Archives: Math humor

Ikea proofs

Overheard: He writes a lot of Ikea proofs — all the parts are there,but the reader has to assemble them, and sometimes there are a fewextra parts at the end.

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Medals per capita

So I made a joke to a friend about how, after Slovenia got their first medal, they were doing really well on a medals per capita basis.  And then, being me, I took this joke too far and actually started … Continue reading

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The Erdős FBI file

A cute little article here about Paul Erdős’s FBI file.  The short version is … that it’s not very interesting; the FBI routinely (and correctly) determined that he was just interested in doing mathematics.  In a Minnesota-centric note, it was … Continue reading

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Sequences and series

Me: “Calculus is basically just a sequence of lies.” JY: “Or a series of lies. [pause] Which is really just a sequence of partial lies.”

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Zorn Arena UW-EC

Right next door is the Arena of Choice. Also interesting (at least to me):

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Q: What do you call it when in early January you use an exact sequence to describe the structure of a module?

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Proof by induction

If you’re solving a combinatorial problem depending on a parameter n and the first few values are 1, 1, 2, 5, 14, your sequence is the Catalan numbers.  If the next term of the sequence is 42, that constitutes a … Continue reading

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Math in the public sphere

Wore my New York City Math Team 2007 t-shirt to the supermarket yesterday; the cashier was very impressed that I knew 32 × 32 immediately.  In a pleasant detour from how these conversations usually go, he remarked that he needs … Continue reading

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Q: “What’s an anagram of Banach-Tarski?” A: “Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski”   (Explanation for the uninitiated here.  Thanks T&L!)

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Applied mathematics

D:   “As a sphere gets smaller, the ratio of surface area to volume increases, right?” Me: “Yes.” D: “Ok, good.  The problem with mini Reese’s peanut butter cups is that there’s too much chocolate and not enough peanut butter.”

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