Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Math humor

      Phyllis Diller (1917-20120), outspoken and funny, pioneering female comedian, died Monday, August 20.  Her self-deprecating humor was hugely hilarious -- and it helped the rest of us also not to take ourselves too seriously.
     In honor of Phyllis Diller and humor, I first offer a link to a "poem" from a favorite math-cartoonist -- Randall Munroe offers an amusing rhyming critique of the various majors (including math) available to undergraduates --  at   And, below, I share several slightly funny math jokes adapted from ones found at Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks and shaped into 4x4 or 5x5 syllable-square poems.

     How can a math
     person add spark
     to a party?
     Well, she can leave!

          How can we discern
          a proposition
          from a lemma?  You
          won't ever get a 
          lemma at a bar!

     Did you hear about
     the newest largest 
     prime?  It's exactly
     three times as large as
     the preceding one.

Some math songs also are a source of humor.  Here is a link to videos for ten songs about mathematics (posted by Dave Richeson, Dickinson College).  And here are some math lyrics by Larry Lesser of the University of Texas. 

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