What Makes Math Funny
The following joke comes from Harold Reiter, a math professor at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte:
Last night, I was working on a difficult problem, and getting nowhere with it. So I went to bed. When I woke up this morning, it was dark; but then it dawned on me!
Despite public perception, Harold contends that most mathematicians have a keenly developed sense of humor. I love Harold’s description for why math things are funny:
For mathematicians, technical words have a specific meaning that are sometimes quite different from the colloquial meaning, and often that distinction can be emphasized in a humorous way. Take the word dawn. Two meanings come to mind, a “brainstorm” and “the start of a new day.” So, it makes sense to try to get both meanings into a one-liner: When I woke up , it was dark; but then it dawned on me!