Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Mathematics Humor -- in rhyming verse . . .

      At the website KOMPLEXIFY! a mathematician named Travis celebrates his love of mathematics in various ways, including humor and verse.  He supplies lots of limericks and parodies, including Tom Lehrer's parody of "That's Entertainment" entitled "That's Mathematics" which  I offer below.  (Here is a link to the rich list of Travis' poetic postings.)

That’s mathematics!       by Tom Lehrer

Counting sheep
When you’re trying to sleep,
Being fair
When there’s something to share,
Being neat
When you’re folding a sheet,
That’s mathematics!

When a ball
Bounces off of a wall,
When you cook
From a recipe book,
When you know
How much money you owe,
That’s mathematics! 

How much gold can you hold in an elephant’s ear?
When it’s noon on the moon, then what time is it here?
If you could count for a year, would you get to infinity,
Or somewhere in that vicinity?

When you choose
How much postage to use,
When you know
What’s the chance it will snow,
When you bet
And you end up in debt,
Oh try as you may,
You just can’t get away
From mathematics!

Andrew Wiles gently smiles,
Does his thing, and voila!
Q.E.D., we agree,
And we all shout hurrah!
As he confirms what Fermat
Jotted down in that margin,
Which could’ve used some enlargin’.

Tap your feet,
Keepin’ time to a beat,
Of a song
While you’re singing along,
With the rest of the guys,
Yes, try as you may,
You just can’t get away
From mathematics!

To hear a recording of Lehrer's song, go here.

For more math-poetry parody go here to the site KOMPLEXIFY!

For lots of math-humor, here's an entertaining AMS article, "Mathematical Jokes."

1 comment:

  1. Ed Southall got a bunch of today's best math populizers to do a pandemic rendition of this song. Very fun!

    I'd also recommend Lehrer's Lobachevsky and, of course, New Math.