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MIT student blogger Melis A. '08

Everybody LOVES a math joke by Melis A. '08

Math jokes for a Monday chuckle!

Judging by the facebook group “I Wish I Were Your Derivative So I Could Lie Tangent To Your Curves!” with 42,000 members, everybody loves a math joke. My roommate, a math major, is especially into them…here’s one she loves to tell (copied from an article in the American Mathematical Society Journal, with a link to the article below). Seriously, she even told it at a Harvard party that we went to, with an audience of future lawyers and chemists:

“A biologist, a physicist, and a mathematician were sitting in a street caf√© watching the crowd. Across the street they saw a man and a woman entering a building. Ten minutes later they reappeared together with a third person. “They have multiplied,” said the biologist. “Oh no, an error in measurement,” the physicist sighed. “If exactly one person enters the building now, it will be empty again,” the mathematician concluded.”

If you’re interested, check out this article in the American Mathematical Society Journal, called Foolproof: A Sampling
of Mathematical Folk Humor
by Paul Renteln and Alan Dundes

Here are some I received in an email:
I’ve definitely felt like doing this before….

43 responses to “Everybody LOVES a math joke”

  1. glareflair17 says:

    Melis, these jokes are so funny! I am trying not to laugh too loud because I’m in a library but WOW! How cool are math jokes when you actually get them?


  2. Robert Carr says:

    Math jokes make all my cauchy sequences converge.

    (A metric space where every cauchy sequence converges to an element of said metric space is ‘complete’.)

  3. Given: Study = No Fail
    And: No Study = Fail

    1. Study + No Study = Fail + No Fail

    2. Study ( 1 + No ) = Fail ( 1 + No )

    3. Study ( 1 + No ) = Fail ( 1 + No )
    ——– ———-
    ( 1 + No ) ( 1 + No )

    Q.E.D. Study = Fail

    …(*stares at Study Guide*)…. “Curse You”

  4. oops! didn’t preview that before I posted.
    Step 3. divides by (1+NO) not (1+No)(1+No),
    though I’m sure everyone got that.

  5. Wow!! I had read them already! but still they are a good laugh, the article is so much fun to read. It really reminds me a lot of good old teachers back in middle school who were cracking such jokes (some of which we didn’t understand at all!!!)

  6. Melissa Hunt says:

    This one’s corny, but oh well =)

    You’ve got three cups of coffee and 14 sugar cubes. Without breaking any individual cubes in pieces, how do you split these cubes up so that you have an odd amount in each cup?

    Given up?

    1, 1, and 12

    (But, Melissa, 12 isn’t an odd number!)

    Don’t ya think it’s kinda odd to put 12 sugar cubes in one cup of coffee?

  7. Will Miao says:

    has anyone seen this one?

  8. Deb says:

    There is facebook group that’s titled “I want to be a derivative so i can be tangent to your curves” and its photos are the best math jokes ever. =)

  9. Deb says:

    whoa sorry i just spaced out for a sec… i didn’t see that you had mentioned the group on the first line of your entry *holds head in shame*

    yea… that’s what i get for eagerly looking at the math jokes first.

  10. Gauri says:

    I love that facebook group!

    Math jokes rock!

  11. Gauri says:

    I love that facebook group!

    Math jokes rock!

  12. Gauri says:

    I love that facebook group!

    Math jokes rock!

  13. anon MMX says:

    1 dollar = 100 cents = (1/10 dollar)*(1/10 dollar) = (1/100 dollar)= 1cent.

    Hence 1dollar = 1 cent

  14. Thorn says:

    Man I love these things. I use them in my tutor period every once in a while, and the Calc kids say that they love em. Good Stuff.

  15. Thuita Maina says:


    I also received that email; you must have been forwarded by one of my friends! I like the joke “I Wish I Were Your Derivative So I Could Lie Tangent To Your Curves!”

  16. Guyomar says:

    That certainly is funny. I can just imagine what my Math teacher’s face would have looked like if I’d given answers like that on the tests she’d set… wink

  17. Ruben says:

    Math is funny, math is useful, math is only a noun. So why dont we learn “math” in English? We do! At least if you go to an American school, you’ll learn it in English. Math is a universal language, but if you call customer service, they’ll ask you what language you prefer, and math is never among the choices! If a company was to use math as its official language, it would be the most efficient in the world!
    Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with math jokes

  18. Anonymous says:

    “1 dollar = 100 cents = (1/10 dollar)*(1/10 dollar) = (1/100 dollar)= 1cent.

    Hence 1dollar = 1 cent”

    Mm… this joke is wrong. the actual result from [(1/10 dollar)*(1/10 dollar)] is NOT (1/100 dollar) rather it is (1/100 dollar^2) therefore, it’s NOT equal to 1 cent.

  19. Omar says:

    “1 dollar = 100 cents = (1/10 dollar)*(1/10 dollar) = (1/100 dollar)= 1cent.

    Hence 1dollar = 1 cent”

    Mm… this joke is wrong. the actual result from [(1/10 dollar)*(1/10 dollar)] is NOT (1/100 dollar) rather it is (1/100 dollar^2) therefore, it’s NOT equal to 1 cent.

  20. Prashanth says:

    Lol these jokes are great… keep em’ coming!

  21. pranav says:


  22. GOD says:

    All of these Jokes are old .Make some new :D

  23. Jack says:

    Ya, oldie, but goodie

    I like the blondie one smile

  24. Chun says:

    Pretty funny jokes. However, the limit as x approaches 8 of 1/(x-8) is not infinity; it does not exist.

  25. Ying Wei says:

    cool jokes, i love it:)
    do u have some more, such as bio jokes, chem jokes and physics jokes?

  26. Michael says:

    You want a good joke? Meet the math pimp:

    An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are trying to set up a fenced-in area for some sheep, but they have a limited amount of building material. The engineer gets up first and makes a square fence with the material, reasoning that it’s a pretty good working solution. “No no,” says the physicist, “there’s a better way.” He takes the fence and makes a circular pen, showing how it encompasses the maximum possible space with the given material.

    Then the mathematician speaks up: “No, no, there’s an even better way.” To the others’ amusement he proceeds to construct a little tiny fence around himself, then declares:

    “I define myself to be on the outside.”

  27. Anonymous says:

    I find the biology jokes group much better, personally– “If I were an enzyme I’d be DNA helicase so I could unzip your genes.” Then again, I’m just more of a life sciences person than maths, sooo.

  28. Kelly says:

    I especially like the one with the hanging on the square root. =P

  29. Sam Jackson says:

    Oops my contact info wasn’t entered above… my mistake. Here is a link to aforementioned facebook group:

  30. faye says:

    Similar to the joke above:
    A mathematician is someone who thinks that if there are supposed to be three people in a room and five walk out, then two must enter the room in order for it to be empty.

  31. Jess says:

    They’re just SO GOOD!

  32. Amy says:

    HaHa~My HS calculus teacher showed these jokes in class, we were just…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I don’t know what to say…I love the “sinx” one the most!!!

  33. Shashank says:

    HA!!…nice once…

    i liked the one about expand (a+b)^n…thz really a nice way to study maths…:D

  34. Shashank says:

    aaah my ‘typestakes’…its ‘ones’ and nt ‘once’ in the frst line ppl

  35. James says:

    This is a joke I read somewhere…

    This is sort of chauvinistic, but it’s all in good fun. :D

    We all know women take both time and money.



    Now, we all know the expression time=money



    Now, everyone says that money is the root of all evil.








  36. Bryan says:

    Two mathematicians are in a restaurant, bemoaning the fact that the general public knows so little about mathematics. One is totally pessimistic, but the other thinks there’s some hope.

    Eventually the pessimist goes to the bathroom and while he’s gone, the optimist brings over the waitress, who’s a vacant-eyed blonde (oops! maybe this is a blonde joke). He hands her $10 and says, “When my friend comes back, I’ll call you to the table, and I’ll ask you a question. Just answer ‘log x’ and there’s another $10 in it for you.”

    The friend returns, and the guy says, “You know, I think the general public DOES know more math than you think. I’ll bet you $100 that the blonde waitress can integrate 1/x.” Of course the other guy accepts, the waitress is brought over, and she’s asked, “What is the integral of 1/x?”

    She answers, “log x”, then pauses, and adds, “plus an arbitrary constant.”

  37. Toby says:

    If you enjoyed those, then you should check out the web comic It’s amazingly geeky and almost always funny. Some of my favorite:


  38. Christianna says:

    Those math jokes are awesome!! It reminds me of some jokes I found on this physics site… I think there is some math humor as well!

  39. ncie jokes girl, anyways im guessing your studying at mit. could you post some information for international students. My email is also my orkut identity if you can post something there that would be really gr8. thnx.