Archive for December 29, 2011

Algebra, a Symbol-Minded Pursuit

It is reported that when Augustus DeMorgan was asked his age, he responded algebraically:

I was x years old in the year x2.

From personal experience, I can assure you that responding to a simple question with an algebra problem is no way to make friends. But perhaps DeMorgan had better success with this tactic than I.

As it turns out, there is a similar fact regarding my age and year of birth.

In the year x2, my age will x years with the digits of x reversed.

The following anonymous quotation would, I suspect, meet with DeMorgan’s approval:

The human mind has never invented a labor-saving machine equal to algebra.

Almost everyone has an opinion about algebra, and most people have expressed their opinion without anonymity.

  • Stand firm in your refusal to remain conscious during algebra. In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.
    Fran Lebowitz
  • One person’s constant is another person’s variable.
    Susan Gerhart
  • [My algebra teacher] kept putting problems up on the board. I just kept following her and erasing the problems. Then she yells at me. I’m like, “Number 1, I like to attack the problem, not the person. That’s the first rule of problem solving. And B, you kinda seem like you’re a trouble maker, because you got to come up with all these fake problems, and it’s really cutting into our pizza time.” And she’s like, “You can’t list things 1 and then B. It’s 1 and 2, or A and B.” And I’m like, “Oh, you don’t like it when I mix numbers and letters together? Like you do in algebra, you hypocrite?”
    Mike Vecchione

December 29, 2011 at 2:04 am Leave a comment

About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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December 2011

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