Posts tagged ‘Calculus’

Math for International Beer Day

I don’t need an excuse to do math. Nor do I need one to drink beer.

But if I did, today is IBD.

International Beer Day

I’m most happy when I can pursue my two passions simultaneously…

Root Beer Squared

That said, I never attempt calculus while imbibing. It’s not safe to drink and derive.

And like most of the American populace, I almost never attempt to think logically while drinking beer…

A bartender asks three logicians, “Would all of you like beer?”
The first answers, “I don’t know.”
The second answers, “I don’t know.”
The third answers, “Yes!”

August 1, 2014 at 1:16 am 2 comments

DBEYR — Newton and Leibniz Did Not Text

Wilhelm Gottfried Liebniz was born on July 1, 1646, and his first paper about integral calculus was published 329 years ago. Whether he discovered calculus before or after Newton is an issue that mathematical historians have debated for centuries.

Honestly, who cares? Both were great mathematicians. Still, it’s fun to think about how this issue might play out if they were both alive today…

iPhone Text Newton Leibniz
Check out the iPhone Text Generator to create your own fake text conversations.

July 1, 2013 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Pringles: The Edible Hyperbolic Paraboloid

PringlesMy wife forwarded an email with a link to a CNN article and subject line, “Your husband will love this.” Uh-oh. Even my closest friends cannot correctly predict what I will and will not love, so how would a colleague of my wife — who only knows me from an introduction at a professional reception — be able to make such a prediction?

But the article did not disappoint. The author wrote about the mathematically satisfying shape of Pringles®, and she quoted her husband thus:

They [Lays Stax] set themselves up as a Pringles competitor, but it’s an entirely different curvature!

I have never met the author, but her last name was familiar. As luck would have it, her math professor husband and I taught together at a gifted camp for several summers. Small world, eh?

My favorite line of the article was from the last paragraph.

Flavor is subjective. Math is irrefutable.


What I enjoyed most about this occurrence was the intersection of several math topics. The article discusses parabolic cylinders and hyperbolic paraboloids, which are topics in multivariable calculus; a colleague of my wife forwarded a link about an article written by the wife of a former colleague, which demonstrates social network theory; and, a colleague of my wife is not equivalent to the wife of my colleague, which shows non‑commutativity.

Hyperbolic Paraboloid

My two cents? Pringles® rule.

August 31, 2012 at 11:16 am 1 comment

Getting Rich the Hard Way

Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.

Teacher: If you have $4, and you ask your father for another dollar, how much would you have?

Johnny: Four dollars.

Teacher: Young man, you don’t know your addition facts!

Johnny: Ma’am, you don’t know my father!

Johnny’s father and my dad seem to have a lot in common. But my dad would have been proud of me yesterday. While walking home from the local coffee shop, I noticed a corner of a dollar bill on the ground. Not the whole bill, mind you, just a corner that had been ripped off. I thought not much of it, until two feet later I saw another scrap of the dollar bill… then another… and another…

I know and understand Calculus, and I realized that a lot of little things can add up to a lot, so I spent 15 minutes scouring the area for as many pieces of the dollar bill as I could find. I took them home and asked my sons, “Wanna do a puzzle?” We spent a half-hour reconstructing the bill and taping it together. The pictures below show the before and after:

Dollar Found

The bill was not in good enough shape to be accepted by a vending machine (too much tape, I suspect, and the missing piece on the right side surely didn’t help, either), but it was in good enough shape for my bank to give me four shiny quarters in exchange for it.

I know that a penny saved is a penny earned. But what is a dollar found?

And the bigger question: What should I do with my new-found wealth?

I decided to buy a lottery ticket. The state gambling commission organized a raffle that boasted an infinite amout of money as the prize. To my great surprise, I won! When I showed up to claim the prize, they told me it would be disbursed as 1 dollar now, 1/2 dollar next week, 1/3 dollar the thrid week, 1/4 dollar the week after that, and so on.

But the joke’s on them. My winnings for the third week will include a one-third cent piece, and that’s gotta be worth something, right?

(Note: Almost everything above is true. I really did find the pieces of a dollar bill on the ground yesterday. As best I can tell, the bill had been on the lawn when it was cut by the blades of a power mower. And my bank really did give me four quarters in exchange for the taped-up, reconstructed version.)

April 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm Leave a comment

Which Calculus Joke is Funniest? Nun of the Above

My friend Pat Flynn, a teacher at Olathe East High School, recently told me about his childhood experience with math education.

Sister Mary Constance only used her ruler to measure pain, not distance.

That’s one of the funniest lines I’ve heard in a long time! Along similar lines…

What do you get if you cross a zero and a pigeon?
A flying none!

Pat is a calculus teacher, and I once heard some students discuss his humor.

When our calculus teacher would tell us a joke, my friend would laugh twice: once when he first heard it, then again when he got it.

Here are some jokes that Pat would surely like his calculus students to suffer through.

What did the calculus teacher ask the dazed and confused student?
“Young man, have you been taking derivatives?”

What’s the difference between a mathematician and a physicist?
A physicist will take the average of the first three terms of a divergent series.

But it’s not just calculus… Pat enjoys making students groan at every level, so here are some all-purpose jokes.

Why did the variable break up with the constant?
The constant was incapable of change.

Did you hear about the bodybuilding mathematician who was always positive?
He had nice abs().

January 13, 2012 at 10:41 am 1 comment

Preparing for Mid-Terms

ExamThe day before mid-term exams, the calculus professor allowed 10 minutes at the end of class for questions.

When one student asked the professor how many problems would be on the exam, the professor replied, “I think you will have a lot of problems on the exam.”

“Well, sir,” the student continued, “do you have any suggestions for what I can do to prepare?”

“Yes,” he said. “Just study the old exams. The mid-term exam will have the same types of problems, just the numbers will be different. But not all of the numbers will be different. Both π and e will be the same, of course, and there’s a reason it’s called Planck’s constant…”

Before dismissing the class, the professor warned that there would be no acceptable excuses for missing the exam.

Upon hearing this, the class clown said, “What about sexual exhaustion?”

“I’m sorry, Jason,” said the professor. “You’ll just have to write with your other hand.”

October 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment


Some things I’ve noticed…

  • Algebra is x sighting.
  • Rational people are partial to fractions.
  • Geometricians like angles… to a degree.
  • Vectors can be ‘arrowing.
  • Calculus teachers can go on and on about sequences.
  • Translations are shifty.
  • Complex numbers are unreal.
  • Most people’s feelings about integers are positive.
  • On average, people are mean.

May 31, 2011 at 1:17 pm 2 comments

Questions Needing Answers

Inquiring minds want to know, so here are answers to questions that you’ve surely been pondering.

Q: If one man can wash one stack of dishes in one hour, how many stacks of dishes can four men wash in four hours?
A: None. They’ll all sit down together to watch football.

Q: Why don’t members of the Ku Klux Klan study Calculus?
A: Because they don’t like to integrate.

Q: What did the circle say to the tangent line?
A: “Stop touching me!”

Q: Why did the statistician cross the interstate?
A: To analyze data on the other side of the median.

April 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm 1 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.

MJ4MF (offline version)

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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