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From: verhagen@fys.ruu.nl (Joachim Verhagen)
Subject: science jokes (1/6)
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Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 12:10:20 GMT
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Xref: origin.ea.com rec.humor:629 eunet.jokes:56

ver 6.2 jan 23, 1995
Collected by Joachim Verhagen (verhagen@fys.ruu.nl)
Includes collection by Lars Olofsson (larso@wmute.trillium.se) of april 1994
Includes math jokes collection by Michael Cook (mlc@iberia.cca.rockwell.com)
of june 1994
Includes collection by Chris Bradfield  (ph2008@bris.ac.uk) of oktober 1994
Codes for subjects:
M mathematics ; P physics ; C chemistry ; B biology ; E engineering
A computer science.

=1. The mathematician, the physicist and the engineer (and other professions)
=2. Mathematics
=2.1 proofs
=2.2 statistics and statisticans
=2.3 mathematicians
=2.4 poetry
=3. physics
=3.1 poetry
=4. chemistry
=4.1 poetry
=5. miscellany
=5.1 poetry
=6. anecdotes about scientists
=7. mnemonics
=7.1 mnemonics
=7.2 mathematics
=7.3 computer science
=7.4 physics
=7.5 chemistry
=7.6 biology and medicine
=7.7 miscellany
=8. pranks
A mathmatician, a physicist, and an engineer were all given a red rubber
ball and told to find the volume. The mathmatician carefully measured
the diamaeter and evaluated a triple integral.  The physicist filled a
beaker with water, put the ball in the water, and measured the total
displacement. The engineer looked up the model and serial numbers in
his red-rubber-ball table.

If it was my company:  The engineer tried to look up the model and serial
numbers, couldn't find them, so told his manager that it's just not going
to work.
A mathematician and a physicist agree to a psychological experiment.
The mathematician is put in a chair in a large empty room and a
beautiful naked woman is placed on a bed at the other end of the room.
The psychologist explains, "You are to remain in your chair.  Every
five minutes, I will move your chair to a position halfway between its
current location and the woman on the bed."  The mathematician looks
at the psychologist in disgust.  "What? I'm not going to go through
this.  You know I'll never reach the bed!"  And he gets up and storms
out.  The psychologist makes a note on his clipboard and ushers the
physicist in.  He explains the situation, and the physicist's eyes
light up and he starts drooling.  The psychologist is a bit confused.
"Don't you realize that you'll never reach her?"  The physicist smiles
and replied, "Of course!  But I'll get close enough for all practical
Dean, to the physics department.  "Why do I always have to give you
guys so much money, for laboratories and expensive equipment and
stuff.  Why couldn't you be like the math department - all they need
is money for pencils, paper and waste-paper baskets.  Or even better,
like the philosophy department.  All they need are pencils and paper."
An engineer, physicist, and mathematician are all challenged with a
problem: to fry an egg when there is a fire in the house.  The
engineer just grabs a huge bucket of water, runs over to the fire, and
puts it out.  The physicist thinks for a long while, and then measures
a precise amount of water into a container.  He takes it over to the
fire, pours it on, and with the last drop the fire goes out. The
mathematician pores over pencil and paper.  After a few minutes he
goes "Aha!  A solution exists!" and goes back to frying the egg.

Sequel:  This time they are asked simply to fry an egg (no fire).  The
engineer just does it, kludging along; the physicist calculates
carefully and produces a carefully cooked egg; and the mathematician
lights a fire in the corner, and says "I have reduced it to the
previous problem."
From: pascual@tid.es (Pascual de Juan Nuqez)
Three men, a physican, a engineer and a computer scientist, are
travelling in a car. Suddenly, the car starts to smoke and stops.
The three atonished men try to solve the problem:

- Physican says: This is obviously a classic problem of torque.

                  It has been overloaded the elasticity limit of
                  the main axis.

- Engineer says : Let's be serious! The matter is that it has been
                  burned the spark of the connecting rod to the dynamo
                  of the radiator. I can easily repair it by hammering.

- Computer scientist says : What if we get off the car, wait a minute,
                  and then get in and try again?
An engineer, a mathematician, and a computer programmer are driving
down the road when the car they are in gets a flat tire.  The engineer
says that they should buy a new car.  The mathematician says they
should sell the old tire and buy a new one.  The computer programmer
says they should drive the car around the block and see if the tire
fixes itself.
Sender: karl@modi.diku.dk
david@ittpub.nl (David P. Morgan):

Several students were asked the following problem:

        Prove that all odd integers higher than 2 are prime.

Well, the first student to try to do this was a math student.  Hey
says "Hmmm...  Well, 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, and by
induction, we have that all the odd integers are prime."

Of course, there are some jeers from some of his friends.  The physics
student then said, "I'm not sure of the validity of your proof, but I
think I'll try to prove it by experiment."  He continues, "Well,
3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is ... uh, 9 is an
experimental error, 11 is prime, 13 is prime...  Well, it seems that
you're right."

The third student to try it was the engineering student, who
responded, "Well, actually, I'm not sure of your answer either.  Let's
see... 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is ..., 9 is
..., well if you approximate, 9 is prime, 11 is prime, 13 is prime...
Well, it does seem right."

Not to be outdone, the computer science student comes along and says
"Well, you two sort've got the right idea, but you'd end up taking too
long doing it.  I've just whipped up a program to REALLY go and prove
it..."  He goes over to his terminal and runs his program.  Reading
the output on the screen he says, "1 is prime, 1 is prime, 1 is prime,
1 is prime...."

Computer scientist using Unix: 3's a prime, 5's a prime, 7's a prime,
                               segmentation fault

Software tech support operator:  Well, we haven't had any reports of
composite odd numbers... do you have the latest version of ZFC?

  Hypothesis: All odd numbers are prime
    1) If a proof exists, then the hypothesis must be true
    2) The proof exists; you're reading it now.
    From 1 and 2 follows that all odd numbers are prime

From: chrisman@ucdmath.ucdavis.edu (Mark Chrisman)
Confused undergraduate:  Yes, it's true.  Proof:  Let p be any prime
number larger than 2.  Then p is not divisible by 2, so p is odd.  QED

From: chris@labtam.labtam.oz.au (Chris Taylor)
Wouldn't a modern physicist employ something like renormalization?

3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is ...

9/3 is prime 

11 is prime, 13 is prime, 15 is ...

15/3 is prime

17 is prime, 19 is prime, 21 is ...

21/3 is prime

Quantum Physics: All numbers are equally prime and non-prime until observed.

From: barry@numetrix.com (Barry Fruitman)
 English Major:
 1 is prime, 2 is prime, 3 is prime, 4 is prime...

Any fool could prove that the above is wrong...
After all, no English major can count that high! ;-)

P.S. And I should know...I've done^H^H^H^H spent time in the English army!

biologist or accountant or doctor or ...
Duh, what's a prime ?
A biologist, a statistician, a mathematician and a computer scientist are
on a photo-safari in Africa. They drive out into the savannah in their
jeep, stop and scour the horizon with their binoculars. 

The biologist: "Look! There's a herd of zebras! And there, in the middle:
a white zebra! It's fantastic! There are white zebras! We'll be famous!"

The statistician:
"It's not significant. We only know there's one white zebra"

The mathematician:
"Actually, we know there exists a zebra which is white on one side"

The computer scientist:
"Oh no! A special case!"
A philosopher, a physicist, a mathematician and a computer scientist were
travelling through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the
window of the train.

"Aha," says the philosopher, "I see that Scottish sheep are black."

"Hmm," says the physicist, "You mean that some Scottish sheep are

"No," says the mathematician, "All we know is that there is at least
one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is

"Oh, no!" shouts the computer scientist, "A special case!"

        Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were travelling on the same train
when they passed the same field full of sheep.

        "Look at that solitary black sheep among all those white ones" said
Watson to Holmes.

        "Yes Watson, the ratio of black sheep to white in that field is
one black to three hundred and seventeen white" replied Holmes.

        "But how can you be so precise" said Watson, flabbergasted.

        "Elementary, my dear Watson" replied Holmes, "I counted all of the
legs and divided by four!"
The problem with engineers is that they tend to cheat in order to get

The problem with mathematicians is that they tend to work on toy
problems in order to get results.

The problem with program verifiers is that they tend to cheat at toy
problems in order to get results.
From: levd@alien (Lev Desmarais)
  The difference between an Engineer and a Mathematician :

  The Engineer walks in her office and finds her trash can on fire.  She
gets the fire extinguisher and puts out the fire.

  The Mathematician walks in his office and finds his trash can on fire.
He gets the fire extinguisher and puts out the fire.

  The following day :

  The Engineer walks in her office and finds the trash can on fire on
top of her desk.  She gets the fire extinguisher and put out the fire.

  The Mathematician walks in his office and finds the trash can on fire
on top of his desk.  He takes the trash can and puts it on the floor.
He has reduced the problem to a previously solved state.  Too solve it
again would be redundant.
A physicist and a mathematician setting in a faculty lounge.
Suddenly, the coffee machine catches on fire.  The physicist grabs a
bucket and leaps towards the sink, fills the bucket with water and
puts out the fire.  The second day, the same two sit in the same
lounge.  Again, the coffee machine catches on fire.  This time, the
mathematician stands up, gets a bucket, hands the bucket to the
physicist, thus reducing the problem to a previously solved one.
An engineer, a mathematician, and a physicist are staying in three
adjoining cabins at a decrepit old motel.

First the engineer's coffee maker catches fire on the bathroom vanity.
He smells the smoke, wakes up, unplugs it, throws it out the window,
and goes back to sleep.

Later that night the physicist smells smoke too.  He wakes up and sees
that a cigarette butt has set the trash can on fire.  He says to
himself, "Hmm. How does one put out a fire?  One can reduce the
temperature of the fuel below the flash point, isolate the burning
material from oxygen, or both.  This could be accomplished by applying
water."  So he picks up the trash can, puts it in the shower stall,
turns on the water, and, when the fire is out, goes back to sleep.

The mathematician, of course, has been watching all this out the
window.  So later, when he finds that his pipe ashes have set the
bedsheet on fire, he is not in the least taken aback.  He immediately
sees that the problem reduces to one that has already been solved and
goes back to sleep.
From: dhein@onramp.net
An Engineer, a Physicist, and a Mathematician all go the same 
Conference.  University budgets being what they are, they all stay in 
the same cheap hotel.  Each room has the same floor plan, has the same 
cheap TV, the same cheap bed, and a small bathroom.  Instead of 
a sprinkler system, the hotel has opted for Fire Buckets.

The Engineer, Physicist, and Mathematician are all asleep in bed.  At 
about 2AM, the Engineer wakes up because he smells smoke.  He looks in 
the corner of the room and sees that the TV set is on fire!  He dashes 
into the bathroom, fills the Fire Bucket to overflowing with water, and 
drenches the TV set.  The fire goes out, and the Engineer goes back to 

A little while later, the Physicist wakes because he smells smoke.  He 
looks in the corner and sees that the TV set is on fire.  He grabs a 
handy envelope, estimates the BTU output of the fire, scribbles a quick 
calculation, then dashes into the bathroom and fills the Fire Bucket 
with just enough water to douse the flames.  He puts the fire out and 
goes back to sleep.

In a little while, the Mathematician wakes up to the smell of smoke.  
He looks in the corner and sees the TV on fire.  He looks into the 
bathroom and sees the Fire Bucket.  Having determined that a solution 
exists, he goes back to sleep.
A physicist, an engineer and a mathematician were all in a hotel
sleeping when a fire broke out in their respective rooms.

The physicist woke up, saw the fire, ran over to his desk, pulled
out his CRC, and began working out all sorts of fluid dynamics
equations.  After a couple minutes, he threw down his pencil, got
a graduated cylinder out of his suitcase, and measured out a
precise amount of water.  He threw it on the fire, extinguishing
it, with not a drop wasted, and went back to sleep.

The engineer woke up, saw the fire, ran into the bathroom, turned
on the faucets full-blast, flooding out the entire apartment,
which put out the fire, and went back to sleep.

The mathematician woke up, saw the fire, ran over to his desk,
began working through theorems, lemmas, hypotheses , you -name-it,
and after a few minutes, put down his pencil triumphantly and
exclaimed, "I have *proven* that I *can* put the fire out!"
He then went back to sleep.
A mathematician and a physicist were asked the following question:

        Suppose you walked by a burning house and saw a hydrant and
        a hose not connected to the hydrant.  What would you do?

P: I would attach the hose to the hydrant, turn on the water, and put out
   the fire.

M: I would attach the hose to the hydrant, turn on the water, and put out
   the fire.

Then they were asked this question:

        Suppose you walked by a house and saw a hose connected to
        a hydrant.  What would you do?

P: I would keep walking, as there is no problem to solve.

M: I would disconnect the hose from the hydrant and set the house on fire,
   reducing the problem to a previously solved form.
The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want mustard with
A lecturer tells some students to learn the phone-book by heart.

The mathematicians are baffled: `By heart? You kidding?'
The physics-students ask: `Why?'
The engineers sigh: `Do we have to?'
The chemistry-students ask:  `Till next Monday?'
The accounting-students (scribbling): `Till tomorrow?'
The laws-students answer: `We already have.'
The medicine-students ask: `Should we start on the Yellow Pages?'
The engineer thinks of his equations as an approximation to reality.
The physicist thinks reality is an approximation to his equations.
The mathematician doesn't care.
Three men with degrees in mathmatics, physics and biology are locked
up in dark rooms for research reasons.

A week later the researchers open the a door, the biologist steps out
and reports: `Well, I sat around until I started to get bored, then
I searched the room and found a tin which I smashed on the floor.
There was food in it which I ate when I got hungry. That's it.'

Then they free the man with the degree in physics and he says:
`I walked along the walls to get an image of the room's geometry, then
I searched it. There was a metal cylinder at five feet into the room
and two feet left of the door. It felt like a tin and I threw it at
the left wall at the right angle and velocity for it to crack open.'

Finally, the researchers open the third door and hear a faint voice
out of the darkness: `Let C be an open can.'
A doctor, a lawyer and a mathematician were discussing the relative
merits of having a wife or a mistress.

The lawyer says: "For sure a mistress is better. If you have a wife
and want a divorce, it causes all sorts of legal problems.

The doctor says: "It's better to have a wife because the sense of
security lowers your stress and is good for your health.

The mathematician says: " You're both wrong. It's best to have both so
that when the wife thinks you're with the mistress and the mistress
thinks you're with your wife --- you can do some mathematics.
A Mathematician, a Biologist and a Physicist are sitting in a street cafe 
watching people going in and coming out of the house on the other side 
of the street.

First they see two people going into the house. Time passes.
After a while they notice three persons coming out of the house.

The Physicist: "The measurement wasn't accurate.".
The Biologists conclusion: "They have reproduced".
The Mathematician: "If now exactly 1 person enters the house then it will be
empty again."
There were two men trying to decide what to do for a living.  They
went to see a counselor, and he decided that they had good problem
solving skills.

He tried a test to narrow the area of specialty.  He put each man in a
room with a stove, a table, and a pot of water on the table.  He said
"Boil the water".  Both men moved the pot from the table to the stove
and turned on the burner to boil the water.  Next, he put them into a
room with a stove, a table, and a pot of water on the floor.  Again,
he said "Boil the water".  The first man put the pot on the stove and
turned on the burner.  The counselor told him to be an Engineer,
because he could solve each problem individually.  The second man
moved the pot from the floor to the table, and then moved the pot from
the table to the stove and turned on the burner.  The counselor told
him to be a mathematician because he reduced the problem to a
previously solved problem.
   Three engineering students were gathered together discussing the possible
designers of the human body.

   One said, ``It was a mechanical engineer.  Just look at all the joints.''

   Another said, ``No, it was an electrical engineer.  The nervous system has
many thousands of electrical connections.''

   The last said, ``Actually it was a civil engineer.  Who else would run a
toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?''
An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are shown a pasture
with a herd of sheep, and told to put them inside the smallest
possible amount of fence. The engineer is first.  He herds the sheep
into a circle and then puts the fence around them, declaring, "A
circle will use the least fence for a given area, so this is the
best solution." The physicist is next. She creates a circular fence of
infinite radius around the sheep, and then draws the fence tight around
the herd, declaring, "This will give the smallest circular fence around
the herd." The mathematician is last. After giving the problem a little
thought, he puts a small fence around himself and then declares, "I
define myself to be on the outside!"
One day a farmer called up an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician
and asked them to fence of the largest possible area with the least
amount of fence.  The engineer made the fence in a circle and
proclaimed that he had the most efficient design.  The physicist made
a long, straight line and proclaimed 'We can assume the length is
infinite...' and pointed out that fencing off half of the Earth was
certainly a more efficient way to do it.  The Mathematician just
laughed at them.  He built a tiny fence around himself and said 'I
declare myself to be on the outside.'
Four men were sitting one day discussing how smart their dog's were.
The first man was an Engineer, who said his dog could do math.  His dog
was named T-Square, and he told him to get some paper and draw a square,
a circle, and a triangle, which the dog did with no sweat.

The Accountant said that his dog was better.  His dog, Slide Rule, was
told to fetch a dozen cookies, bring them back, and divide them into
piles of 3, which Slide Rule did with no problem.

The Chemist said his dog was smarter, his dog named Measure, was told to
get a quart of milk, and pour 7 ounces into a 10 ounce glass.  The dog
did this with no trouble at all, and all three men agreed that their
dog's were equally smart.

Then they turned to the Union Member and asked, what can your dog do?
The Union Member called his dog, who was named Coffee Break, and said,
"Show the fellows what you can do".

Coffee Break went over and ate the cookies, drank the milk, shit on the
paper, fucked the other dogs, and claimed he injured his back while
doing so, filed a grievence report for unsafe working conditions, put in
for Workmens Compensation, and left for home on sick leave.
A mathematician and a physicist are given the task of describing a room.
They both go in, and spend hours meticulously writing down every detail,
each turning in nearly a ream of paper. The next day, the room is changed,
and they are again given the task. The physicist spends the better part
of the day, but the mathematician, amazingly enough, leaves within a
minute. he hands in a single sheet of paper with the following
        Put picture back on wall to return to previously solved state.
To tell a difference between a mathematician and an engineer, perform
this experiment.  Put an empty kettle in the middle of the kitchen
floor and tell your subjects to boil some water.

The engineer will fill the kettle with water, put it on the stove, and
turn the flame on.  The mathematician will do the same thing.

Next, put the kettle already filled with water on the stove, and ask
the subjects to boil the water.  The engineer will turn the flame on.
The mathematician will empty the kettle and put it in the middle of
the kitchen floor... thereby reducing the problem to one that has
already been solved!
So a mathematician, an engineer, and a physicist are out hunting
together.  They spy a deer(*) in the woods.

The physicist calculates the velocity of the deer and the effect of
gravity on the bullet, aims his rifle and fires.  Alas, he misses; the
bullet passes three feet behind the deer.  The deer bolts some yards,
but comes to a halt, still within sight of the trio.

"Shame you missed," comments the engineer, "but of course with an
ordinary gun, one would expect that."  He then levels his special
deer-hunting gun, which he rigged together from an ordinary rifle, a
sextant, a compass, a barometer, and a bunch of flashing lights which
don't do anything but impress onlookers, and fires.  Alas, his bullet
passes three feet in front of the deer, who by this time wises up and
vanishes for good.

"Well," says the physicist, "your contraption didn't get it either."

"What do you mean?" pipes up the mathematician.  "Between the two of
you, that was a perfect shot!"

(*) How they knew it was a deer:

The physicist observed that it behaved in a deer-like manner, so it
must be a deer.

The mathematician asked the physicist what it was, thereby reducing it
to a previously solved problem.

The engineer was in the woods to hunt deer, therefore it was a deer.
A Mathematician (M) and an Engineer (E) attend a lecture by a
Physicist. The topic concerns Kulza-Klein theories involving physical
processes that occur in spaces with dimensions of 9, 12 and even
higher.  The M is sitting, clearly enjoying the lecture, while the E
is frowning and looking generally confused and puzzled.  By the end
the E has a terrible headache.  At the end, the M comments about the
wonderful lecture.  The E says "How do you understand this stuff?"
M: "I just visualize the process."
E: "How can you POSSIBLY visualize something that occurs in
9-dimensional space?"
M: "Easy, first visualize it in N-dimensional space, then let N go to 9."
What is "pi"?

Mathematician: Pi is the number expressing the relationship between the
               circumference of a circle and its diameter.

Physicist: Pi is 3.1415927 plus or minus 0.000000005

Engineer: Pi is about 3.
When considering the behaviour of a howitzer:

A mathematician will be able to calculate where the shell will land.

A physicist will be able to explain how the shell gets there.

An engineer will stand there and try to catch it.
There was a mad scientist ( a mad ...social... scientist ) who
kidnapped  three colleagues, an engineer, a physicist, and a
mathematician, and locked  each of them in seperate cells with plenty
of canned food and water but no can opener.

A month later, returning, the mad scientist went to the engineer's
cell and  found it long empty.  The engineer had constructed a can
opener from pocket trash, used aluminum shavings and dried sugar to
make an explosive, and escaped.

The physicist had worked out the angle necessary to knock the lids off
the tin  cans by throwing them against the wall.  She was developing a
good pitching arm and a new quantum theory.

The mathematician had stacked the unopened cans into a surprising
solution to the kissing problem; his desiccated corpse was propped
calmly against a wall, and this was inscribed on the floor in blood:

        Theorem: If I can't open these cans, I'll die.

        Proof: assume the opposite...
The USDA once wanted to make cows produce milk faster, to improve the
dairy industry.

So, they decided to consult the foremost biologists and recombinant
DNA technicians to build them a better cow.  They assembled this team
of great scientists, and gave them unlimited funding.  They requested
rare chemicals, weird bacteria, tons of quarantine equipment, there
was a horrible typhus epidemic they started by accident, and, 2 years
later, they came back with the "new, improved cow."  It had a milk
production improvement of 2% over the original.

They then tried with the greatest Nobel Prize winning chemists around.
They worked for six months, and, after requisitioning tons of chemical
equipment, and poisoning half the small town in Colorado where they
were working with a toxic cloud from one of their experiments, they
got a 5% improvement in milk output.

The physicists tried for a year, and, after ten thousand cows were
subjected to radiation therapy, they got a 1% improvement in output.

Finally, in desperation, they turned to the mathematicians.  The
foremost mathematician of his time offered to help them with the
problem.  Upon hearing the problem, he told the delegation that they
could come back in the morning and he would have solved the problem.
In the morning, they came back, and he handed them a piece of paper
with the computations for the new, 300% improved milk cow.

The plans began:

"A Proof of the Attainability of Increased Milk Output from Bovines:

Consider a spherical cow......"
An assemblage of the most gifted minds in the world were all posed the
following question:

"What is 2 * 2 ?"

The chemist says immediately circa 10 to the power 1.

The engineer whips out his slide rule (so it's old) and shuffles it
back and forth, and finally announces "3.99".

The physicist consults his technical references, sets up the problem
on his computer, and announces "it lies between 3.98 and 4.02".

The mathematician cogitates for a while, oblivious to the rest of the
world, then announces: "I don't what the answer is, but I can tell
you, an answer exists!".

Philosopher: "But what do you _mean_ by 2 * 2 ?"

Logician: "Please define 2 * 2 more precisely."

Accountant: Closes all the doors and windows, looks around carefully,
            then asks "What do you _want_ the answer to be?"

Computer Hacker: Breaks into the NSA super-computer and gives the answer.
From: MARTIN.VIETOR@HEIDEBOX.HEIDE.DE (Translation to blame on Joachim)
A mathematician, a physicist and a doctor were posed the questin 2*2.
 The physicist takes a notebook and starts scribbling. After 3 days of the 
most complex calculations he finds with use of the Earth radius, the 
gravitation constant : "Somewhere between pi and 2 times the square root
of 3."
 The mathematican comes back after a week with dark rings under his eyes
and proclaims: "Colleges, their is a solution."
 The doctor says simple :"4"
The others answer: "Oh well you memorized it."
Philosopher: "Resolution of the continuum hypothesis will have
              profound implications to all of science."

Physicist:   "Not quite.  Physics is well on its way without those
              mythical `foundations'.  Just give us serviceable mathematics."

Computer Scientist:
             "Who cares? Everything in this Universe seems to be finite
              anyway.  Besides, I'm too busy debugging my Pascal programs."

             "Forget all that!  Just make your formulae as aesthetically
              pleasing as possible!"
From: "F. Ted Tschang" 
An economist, an engineer, and a physicist are marooned on a deserted
island.  One day they find a can of food washed up on the beach and
contrive to open it. The engineer said: "let's hammer the can open
between these rocks".  The physicist said: "that's pretty crude.  We can
just use the force of gravity by dropping a rock on the can from that
tall tree over there".  The economist is somewhat disgusted at these
deliberations, and says: "I've got a much more elegant solution.  All we
have to do is assume a can-opener."
In some foreign country a priest, a lawyer and an engineer are
about to be guillotined.  The priest puts his head on the block,
they pull the rope and nothing happens -- he declares that he's
been saved by divine intervention -- so he's let go.  The lawyer
is put on the block, and again the rope doesn't release the
blade, he claims he can't be executed twice for the same crime
and he is set free too.  They
grab the engineer and shove his head into the
guillotine, he looks up at the release mechanism and says, "Wait
a minute, I see your problem......"
Einstein dies and goes to heaven only to be informed that his room is
not yet ready.  "I hope you will not mind waiting in a dormitory.  We
are very sorry, but it's the best we can do and you will have to share
the room with others." he is told by the doorman (say his name is
Pete).  Einstein says that this is no problem at all and that there is
no need to make such a great fuss.  So Pete leads him to the dorm.
They enter and Albert is introduced to all of the  present
inhabitants.  "See, Here is your first room mate.  He has an IQ of
"Why that's wonderful!"  Says Albert.  "We can discuss mathematics!"
"And here is your second room mate.  His IQ is 150!"
"Why that's wonderful!" Says Albert.  "We can discuss physics!"
"And here is your third room mate. His IQ is 100!"
"That Wonderful!  We can discuss the latest plays at the theater!"
Just then another man moves out to capture Albert's hand and shake it.
"I'm your last room mate and I'm sorry, but my IQ is only 80."
Albert smiles back at him and says, "So, where to you think interest
rates are headed?"
An engineer, a mathematician, and a physicist went to the races one
Saturday and laid their money down.  Commiserating in the bar after
the race, the engineer says, "I don't understand why I lost all my
money.  I measured all the horses and calculated their strength and
mechanical advantage and figured out how fast they could run..."

The physicist interrupted him: "...but you didn't take individual
variations into account.  I did a statistical analysis of their
previous performances and bet on the horses with the highest
probability of winning..."

"...so if you're so hot why are you broke?" asked the engineer.  But
before the argument can grow, the mathematician takes out his pipe and
they get a glimpse of his well-fattened wallet.  Obviously here was a
man who knows something about horses.  They both demanded to know his

"Well," he says, between puffs on the pipe, "first I assumed all the
horses were identical and spherical..."
A group of scientists were doing an investigation into problem-solving
techniques, and constructed an experiment involving a physicist, an
engineer, and a mathematician.

The experimental apparatus consisted of a water spigot and two identical
pails, one of which was fastened to the ground ten feet from the spigot.

Each of the subjects was given the second pail, empty, and told to fill the
pail on the ground.

The physicist was the first subject:  he carried his pail to the spigot,
filled it there, carried it full of water to the pail on the ground, and
poured the water into it.  Standing back, he declared, "There: I have
solved the problem."

The engineer and the mathematician each approached the problem similarly.
Upon finishing, the engineer noted that the solution was exact, since the
volumes of the pails were equal.  The mathematician merely noted that he
had proven that a solution exists.

Now, the experimenters altered the parameters of the task a bit:  the pail
on the ground was still empty, but the subjects were presented with a pail
that was already half-filled with water.

The physicist immediately carried his pail over to the one on the ground,
emptied the water into it, went back to the spigot, *filled* the pail, and
finally emptied the entire contents into the pail on the ground,
overflowing it and spilling some of the water.  Upon finishing, he
commented that the problem should have been better stated.

The engineer, in turn, thought for some time before going into action.  He
then took his half-filled pail to the spigot, filled it to the brim, and
filled the pail on the ground from it.  Again he noted that the problem had
an exact solution, which of course he had found.

The mathematician thought for a long time before stirring.  At last he
stood up, emptied his pail onto the ground, and declared, "The problem has
been reduced to one already solved."
	A doctor, an architect, and a computer scientist were arguing
about whose profession was the oldest.  In the course of their
arguments, they got all the way back to the Garden of Eden, whereupon
the doctor said, "The medical profession is clearly the oldest, because
Eve was made from Adam's rib, as the story goes, and that was a simply
incredible surgical feat."
	The architect did not agree.  He said, "But if you look at the
Garden itself, in the beginning there was chaos and void, and out of
that, the Garden and the world were created.  So God must have been an
	The computer scientist, who had listened to all of this said,
"Yes, but where do you think the chaos came from?"
From: chemistrwb@aol.com (ChemistRWB)
A chemist, a physicist and an Engineer went on a camping trip, accompanied
by a guide.  The were brought to a cabin in the deep Canadian wilderness.
Inside the cabin was a wood-burning stove, but it was set up on bricks
about 60 cm above the floor of the cabin.  The three scientists speculated
about the function of the high placement of the stove.  The chemist said,
"Obviously, the guide has anticipated the convection currents of the heat
an placed the stove in a raised position to maximize the heat flow in the
semi-adiabatic system."  The Physicist believed, "No, it's far simpler
than that, the guide placed the stove higher so movement from the
countertops to the stove would be minimized and energy conserved."   The
engineer believed he had the true answer, "Obviously, you fellows don't do
much camping.  The stove is place higher so we can bring in wood and put
it under the stove to dry."  The guide soon returned and all three
scientists were eager to find out who was right.  The guide replied,
"Well, we was bringin' the dang thing up the river and part of the chimney
pipe fell off the boat,  so we had to put it up for the pipe to reach the
PS:  If you know all the words in this essay, your English is better than
99% of native  Americans.
From: grayd@is.dal.ca (James D. Gray)
An Engineering Student, a Physics Student, and a Mathematics student were 
each given $150 dollars and were told to use that money to find out exactly
how tall a particular hotel was.
	All three ran off, extremely keen on how to do this.  The Physics 
student went out, purchased some stopwatches, a number of ball bearings,
a calculator, and some friends.  He had them all time the drop of ball 
bearings from the roof, and he then figured out the height from the time 
it took for the bearings to accelerate from rest until they impacted with
the sidewalk.
	The Math student waited until the sun was going down, then she 
took out her protractor, plumb line, measuring tape,and scratch pad, 
measured the length of the shadow, found the angle the buildings roof 
made from the ground, and used trignometry to figure out the height of 
the building.
	These two students bumped into the Engineering student the next
day, who was nursing a really bad hangover.  When asked what he did to 
find the height of the building he replied:
	"Well, I walked up to the bell hop, gave him 10 bucks, asked him 
how tall the hotel was, and hit the bar inside for happy hour!"
An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician find themselves in an
anecdote, indeed an anecdote quite similar to many that you have no
doubt already heard.  After some observations and rough calculations
the engineer realizes the situation and starts laughing.  A few
minutes later the physicist understands too and chuckles to himself
happily as he now has enough experimental evidence to publish a paper.

This leaves the mathematician somewhat perplexed, as he had observed
right away that he was the subject of an anecdote, and deduced quite
rapidly the presence of humour from similar anecdotes, but considers
this anecdote to be too trivial a corollary to be significant, let
alone funny.

Joachim Verhagen     		   Email:J.C.D.Verhagen@fys.ruu.nl
Department of molecular biofysics, University of Utrecht
Utrecht, The Netherlands.
0, unseen,,
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Subject: science jokes (3/6)
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The law of the excluded middle either rules or does not rule, O.K.?
Is the square root of ab absurd?
Algebra is x-sighting.
Vectors can be 'arrowing.
I'm partial to fractions.
I like angles ... to a degree.
I could go on and on about sequences.
Translations are shifty.
Complex numbers are unreal.
I feel positive about integers.
On average, people are mean.
From: c1prasad@watson.ibm.com (prasad)
Klein bottle for rent -- inquire within.
From: jusinkko@mail.freenet.hut.fi (jukka sinkko)
 In the topologic hell the beer is packed in Klein's bottles.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Pierre de Fermat:  I just don't have room here to give the full explanation.
From: mstueben@pen.k12.va.us (Michael A. Stueben)
                            IN THE
                     HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS

  In the interest of historical accuracy let it be known that

1) Fibonacci's daughter was not named "Bunny."
2) Michael Rolle was not Danish, and did not call his
   daughter "Tootsie."
3) William Horner was not called "Little-Jack" by his
4) The "G" in G. Peano does not stand for "grand."
5) Rene Descartes' middle name is not "push."
6) Isaac Barrow's middle name is not "wheel."
7) There is no such place as the University of Wis-cosine,
   and if there was, the motto of their mathematics
   department would not be "Secant ye shall find."
8) Although Euler is pronounced oil-er, it does not follow
   that Euclid is pronounced oi-clid.
9) Franklin D. Roosevelt never said "The only thing we have
   to sphere is sphere itself."
10) Fibonacci is not a shortened form of the Italian name that
    is actually spelled: F i bb ooo nnnnn aaaaaaaa
11) It is true that August Mobius was a difficult and
    opinionated man. But he was not so rigid that he could
    only see one side to every question.
12) It is true that Johannes Kepler had an uphill struggle
    in explaining his theory of elliptical orbits to the
    other astronomers of his time. And it is also true that
    his first attempt was a failure. But it is not true that
    after his lecture the first three questions he was asked
    were "What is elliptical?" What is an orbit?" and "What
    is a planet?
13) It is true that primitive societies use only rough
    approximations for the known constants of mathematics.
    For example, the northern tribes of Alaska consider the
    ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle to
    be 3. But it is not true that the value of 3 is called
    Eskimo pi. Incidentally, the survival of these tribes is
    dependent upon government assistance, which is not always
    forthcoming. For example, the Canadian firm of Tait and
    Sons sold a stock of defective compasses to the government
    at half-price, and the government passed them onto the
    northern natives. Hence the saying among these peoples:
    "He who has a Tait's is lost."
                           The History of 2 + 2 = 5
                               by Houston Euler

                "First and above all he was a logician.  At
                least thirty-five years of the half-century
                or so of his existence had been devoted
                exclusively to proving that two and two always
                equal four, except in unusual cases, where
                they equal three or five, as the case may be."

                        -- Jacques Futrelle, "The Problem of Cell 13"

Most mathematicians are familiar with -- or have at least seen references in
the literature to -- the equation 2 + 2 = 4.  However, the less well known
equation 2 + 2 = 5 also has a rich, complex history behind it.  Like any other
complex quantitiy, this history has a real part and an imaginary part; we shall
deal exclusively with the latter here.

Many cultures, in their early mathematical development, discovered the equation
2 + 2 = 5.  For example, consider the Bolb tribe, descended from the Incas of
South America.  The Bolbs counted by tying knots in ropes.  They quickly
realized that when a 2-knot rope is put together with another 2-knot rope, a
5-knot rope results.

Recent findings indicate that the Pythagorean Brotherhood discovered a proof
that 2 + 2 = 5, but the proof never got written up.  Contrary to what one might
expect, the proof's nonappearance was not caused by a cover-up such as the
Pythagoreans attempted with the irrationality of the square root of two.
Rather, they simply could not pay for the necessary scribe service.  They had
lost their grant money due to the protests of an oxen-rights activist who
objected to the Brotherhood's method of celebrating the discovery of theorems.
Thus it was that only the equation 2 + 2 = 4 was used in Euclid's "Elements,"
and nothing more was heard of 2 + 2 = 5 for several centuries.

Around A.D. 1200 Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci) discovered that a few weeks after
putting 2 male rabbits plus 2 female rabbits in the same cage, he ended up with
considerably more than 4 rabbits.  Fearing that too strong a challenge to the
value 4 given in Euclid would meet with opposition, Leonardo conservatively
stated, "2 + 2 is more like 5 than 4."  Even this cautious rendition of his
data was roundly condemned and earned Leonardo the nickname "Blockhead."  By
the way, his practice of underestimating the number of rabbits persisted; his
celebrated model of rabbit populations had each birth consisting of only two
babies, a gross underestimate if ever there was one.

Some 400 years later, the thread was picked up once more, this time by the
French mathematicians.  Descartes announced, "I think 2 + 2 = 5; therefore it
does."  However, others objected that his argument was somewhat less than
totally rigorous.  Apparently, Fermat had a more rigorous proof which was to
appear as part of a book, but it and other material were cut by the editor so
that the book could be printed with wider margins.

Between the fact that no definitive proof of 2 + 2 = 5 was available and the
excitement of the development of calculus, by 1700 mathematicians had again
lost interest in the equation.  In fact, the only known 18th-century reference
to 2 + 2 = 5 is due to the philosopher Bishop Berkeley who, upon discovering it
in an old manuscript, wryly commented, "Well, now I know where all the departed
quantities went to -- the right-hand side of this equation."  That witticism so
impressed California intellectuals that they named a university town after him.

But in the early to middle 1800's, 2 + 2 began to take on great significance.
Riemann developed an arithmetic in which 2 + 2 = 5, paralleling the Euclidean
2 + 2 = 4 arithmetic.  Moreover, during this period Gauss produced an
arithmetic in which 2 + 2 = 3.  Naturally, there ensued decades of great
confusion as to the actual value of 2 + 2.  Because of changing opinions on
this topic, Kempe's proof in 1880 of the 4-color theorem was deemed 11 years
later to yield, instead, the 5-color theorem.  Dedekind entered the debate with
an article entitled "Was ist und was soll 2 + 2?"

Frege thought he had settled the question while preparing a condensed version
of his "Begriffsschrift."  This condensation, entitled "Die Kleine
Begriffsschrift (The Short Schrift)," contained what he considered to be a
definitive proof of 2 + 2 = 5.  But then Frege received a letter from Bertrand
Russell, reminding him that in "Grundbeefen der Mathematik" Frege had proved
that 2 + 2 = 4.  This contradiction so discouraged Frege that he abandoned
mathematics altogether and went into university administration.

Faced with this profound and bewildering foundational question of the value of
2 + 2, mathematicians followed the reasonable course of action: they just
ignored the whole thing.  And so everyone reverted to 2 + 2 = 4 with nothing
being done with its rival equation during the 20th century.  There had been
rumors that Bourbaki was planning to devote a volume to 2 + 2 = 5 (the first
forty pages taken up by the symbolic expression for the number five), but those
rumor remained unconfirmed.  Recently, though, there have been reported
computer-assisted proofs that 2 + 2 = 5, typically involving computers
belonging to utility companies.  Perhaps the 21st century will see yet another
revival of this historic equation.

In the beginning there was only one kind of Mathematician, created by
the Great Mathematical Spirit form the Book: the Topologist.  And they
grew to large numbers and prospered.

One day they looked up in the heavens and desired to reach up as far
as the eye could see.  So they set out in building a Mathematical
edifice that was to reach up as far as "up" went.  Further and further
up they went ... until one night the edifice collapsed under the
weight of paradox.

The following morning saw only rubble where there once was a huge
structure reaching to the heavens.  One by one, the Mathematicians
climbed out from under the rubble.  It was a miracle that nobody was
killed; but when they began to speak to one another, SUPRISE of all
surprises! they could not understand each other.  They all spoke
different languages.  They all fought amongst themselves and each went
about their own way.  To this day the Topologists remain the original

                            - adapted from an American Indian legend
                              of the Mound Of Babel
=2.1 PROOFS:
                          PROOFS THAT P

                  (attributed to Hartry Field)

Davidson's proof that p: Let us make the following bold conjecture: p

Wallace's proof that p: Davidson has made the following bold conjecture: p

Grunbaum:  As I have asserted again and again in previous publications, p.

Morgenbesser: If not p, what? q maybe?

Putnam:  Some philosophers have argued that not-p, on the grounds that q.
It would be an interesting exercise to count all the fallacies in this
"argument".  (It's really awful, isn't it?)  Therefore p.

Rawls:  It would be a nice to have a deductive argument that p from
self-evident premises.  Unfortunately, I am unable to provide one.  So
I will have to rest content with the following intuitive considerations
in its support: p.

Unger:  Suppose it were the case that not-p.  It would follow from
this that someone knows that q.  But on my view, no one knows anything
whatsoever.  Therefore p.  (Unger beieves that the louder you say
this argument the more persuasive it becomes.)

Katz:  I have seventeen arguments for the claim that p, and I know
of only four for the claim that not-p.  Therefore p.

Lewis:  Most people find the claim that not p completely obvious and
when I assert p they give me an incredulous stare.  But the fact
that they find not-p obvious is no argument that it is true; and I
do not know how to refute an incredulous stare.  Therefore p.

Fodor:  My argument for p is based on three premises:
(1) q
(2) r
(3) p
>From these, the claim that p deductively follows.

Some people may find the third premise controversial, but it is
clear that if we replaced that premise by any other reasonable
premise, the argument would go through just as well.

Sellars's proof that p:  Unfortunately, limitations of space prevent
it from being included here, but important parts of the proof can be
found in each of the articles in the attached bibliography.

Earman:  There are solutions to the field equations of general
relativity in which space-time has the structure of a four-dimensional
klein bottle and in which there is no matter.  In each such
space-time, the claim that not-p is false.  Therefore p.


                      OUTLINE OF A "PROOF" THAT P [footnote]

                                Saul Kripke

Some philosophers have argued that not-p.  But none of them seems to me
to have made a convincing argument against the intuitive view that
this is not the case.  Therefore, p.

[footnote].  This outline was prepared hastily--at the editor's
insistence---from a taped transcript of a lecture.  Since I was
not even given the opportunity to revise the first draft before
publication, I cannot be held responsible for any lacunae in the
(published version of the) argument, or for any fallacious or
garbled inferences resulting from faulty preparation of the
typescript.  Also, the argument now seems to me to have problems
which I did not know when I wrote it, but which I can't discuss
here, and which are completely unrelated to any criticisms that
have appeared in the literature (or that I have seen in manuscript);
all such criticisms misconstrue the argument.  It will be noted
that the present version of the argument seems to presuppose the
(intuitionistically unacceptable) law of double negation.  But the
argument can easily be reformulated in a way that avoids employing
such an inference rule.  I hope to expand on these matters further
in a separate monograph.

Routley and Meyer:  If (q & not-q) is true, then there is a model for p.
Therefore p.
Theorem : All positive integers are equal.
Proof : Sufficient to show that for any two positive integers, A and B,
   A = B.  Further, it is sufficient to show that for all N > 0, if A
   and B (positive integers) satisfy (MAX(A, B) = N) then A = B.

   Proceed by induction.

   If N = 1, then A and B, being positive integers, must both be 1.
   So A = B.

   Assume that the theorem is true for some value k.  Take A and B
   with MAX(A, B) = k+1.  Then  MAX((A-1), (B-1)) = k.  And hence
   (A-1) = (B-1).  Consequently, A = B.
From: Benjamin.J.Tilly@dartmouth.edu (Benjamin J. Tilly)
Theorem : All numbers are equal to zero.
Proof: Suppose that a=b. Then
a = b
a^2 = ab
a^2 - b^2 = ab - b^2
(a + b)(a - b) = b(a - b)
a + b = b
a = 0
From: Michael_Ketzlick@h2.maus.de (Michael Ketzlick)
Theorem : 3=4
        a    +    b    =    c

This can also be written as:

     4a - 3a + 4b - 3b = 4c - 3c

After reorganising:

     4a + 4b - 4c = 3a + 3b - 3c

Take the constants out of the brackets:

     4 * (a+b-c) = 3 * (a+b-c)

Remove the same term left and right:

            4 = 3
From: Benjamin.J.Tilly@dartmouth.edu (Benjamin J. Tilly)
Theorem: 1$ = 1c.
And another that gives you a sense of money disappearing...

1$ = 100c
   = (10c)^2
   = (0.1$)^2
   = 0.01$
   = 1c

Here $ means dollars and c means cents. This one is scary in that I
have seen PhD's in math who were unable to see what was wrong with this
one. Actually I am crossposting this to sci.physics because I think
that the latter makes a very nice introduction to the importance of
keeping track of your dimensions...
From: clubok@physics11 (Kenneth S. Clubok)
Theorem: 1 = -1 .
 1    -1
--  = --
-1     1

       1            -1
sqrt[ -- ]  = sqrt[ -- ]
      -1             1

sqrt[1]   sqrt[-1]
------- = -------
sqrt[-1]  sqrt[1]

1=-1 (by cross-multiplication)

And here's my personal favorite:

Use integration by parts to find the anti-derivative of 1/x.  One
can get the amusing result that 0=1.  (Until you realize you have to put
in the limits.)
From: jreimer@aol.com (JReimer)
Theorem: 1 = -1
1 = sqrt(1) = sqrt(-1 * -1) = sqrt(-1) * sqrt(-1) = 1^ = -1

Also one can disprove the axiom that things equal to the same thing
are equal to each other.

1 = sqrt(1)
-1 = sqrt(1)
therefore 1 = -1
From: kdq@marsupial.jpl.nasa.gov (Kevin D. Quitt)
Theorem: 4 = 5
16 - 36 = 25 - 45
4^2 - 9*4 = 5^2 - 9*5
4^2 - 9*4 + 81/4 = 5^2 - 9*5 + 81/4
(4 - 9/2)^2 = (5 - 9/2)^2
4 - 9/2 = 5 - 9/2
4 = 5
baez@guitar.ucr.edu (john baez) writes:
Theorem: 1 + 1 = 2
n(2n - 2) = n(2n - 2)
n(2n - 2) - n(2n - 2) = 0
(n - n)(2n - 2) = 0
2n(n - n) - 2(n - n) = 0
2n - 2 = 0 
2n = 2
n + n = 2
or setting n = 1
1 + 1 = 2
From: magidin@uclink.berkeley.edu (Arturo Viso Magidin)
Theorem: In any finite set of women, if one has blue eyes then they
all have blue eyes.

Proof. Induction on the number of elements.

if n= or n=1 it is immediate.

Assume it is true for k

Consider a group with k+1 women, and without loss of generality assume
the first one has blue eyes. I will represent one with blue eyes with
a '*' and one with unknown eye color as @.

You have the set of women:

{*,@,...,@} with k+1 elements. Consider the subset made up of the first
k. This subset is a set of k women, of which one has blue eyes. By
the induction hypothesis, all of them have blue eyes. We have then:

{*,...,*,@}, with k+1 elements. Now consider the subset of the last k
women. This is a set of k women, of which one has blue eyes (the next-to-last
element of the set), hence they all have blue eyes, in particular
the k+1-th woman has blue eyes.

Hence all k+1 women have blue eyes.

By induction, it follows that in any finite set of women, if one has
blue eyes they all have blue eyes. QED
From: Zorro
All positive integers are interesting.

Assume the contrary.  Then there is a lowest non-interesting positive
integer.  But, hey, that's pretty interesting!  A contradiction.

I heard this one from G. B. Thomas, but I don't know whether it is due to
From: daniel@hagar.ph.utexas.edu (James Daniel)

Aren't multi-valued functions fun?  Once you realize what's going on,
though, you can make them into silly proofs pretty much without thinking.

Here's one I just made up:

Object: to prove that  i < 0  ( that is, sqrt(-1) < 0  )

Well, ( .5 + sqrt(3/4)*i )^3 = (-1)^3

                (most would assert this to be a false statement -- mostly
                 cuz they'll get the math wrong.  It's a true statement.
                 It's the next statement that is false.)

which means that .5 + sqrt(3/4)*i = -1

So then      1 + sqrt(3)*i = -2

             sqrt(3)*i = -1

             i = -1/sqrt(3)

Therefore i is a negative number.  QED.
From: julison@cco.caltech.edu (Julian C. Jamison)
Theorem: All numbers are equal.
Choose arbitrary a and b, and let t = a + b. Then
a + b = t
(a + b)(a - b) = t(a - b)
a^2 - b^2 = ta - tb
a^2 - ta = b^2 - tb
a^2 - ta + (t^2)/4 = b^2 - tb + (t^2)/4
(a - t/2)^2 = (b - t/2)^2
a - t/2 = b - t/2
a = b

So all numbers are the same, and math is pointless.
From: pfc@math.ufl.edu (P. Fritz Cronheim)
This one is from Jerry King's _Art of Mathematics_

16/64=1/4 by cancelling the 6's.  Here the result is true, but the method
is not.  Do the ends justify the means? :)_
Methods of Mathematical Proof

This is from _A Random Walk in Science_ (by Joel E. Cohen?):

To illustrate the various methods of proof we give an example of a
logical system.


Lemma 1.  All horses are the same colour.
          (Proof by induction)

Proof.  It is obvious that one horse is the same colour.  Let us assume
the proposition P(k) that k horses are the same colour and use this to
imply that k+1 horses are the same colour.  Given the set of k+1 horses,
we remove one horse; then the remaining k horses are the same colour,
by hypothesis.  We remove another horse and replace the first; the k
horses, by hypothesis, are again the same colour.  We repeat this until
by exhaustion the k+1 sets of k horses have been shown to be the same
colour.  It follows that since every horse is the same colour as every
other horse, P(k) entails P(k+1).  But since we have shown P(1) to be
true, P is true for all succeeding values of k, that is, all horses are
the same colour.

Theorem 1.  Every horse has an infinite number of legs.
            (Proof by intimidation.)

Proof.  Horses have an even number of legs.  Behind they have two legs
and in front they have fore legs.  This makes six legs, which is cer-
tainly an odd number of legs for a horse.  But the only number that is
both odd and even is infinity.  Therefore horses have an infinite num-
ber of legs.  Now to show that this is general, suppose that somewhere
there is a horse with a finite number of legs.  But that is a horse of
another colour, and by the lemma that does not exist.

Corollary 1.  Everything is the same colour.

Proof.  The proof of lemma 1 does not depend at all on the nature of the
object under consideration.  The predicate of the antecedent of the uni-
versally-quantified conditional 'For all x, if x is a horse, then x is
the same colour,' namely 'is a horse' may be generalized to 'is anything'
without affecting the validity of the proof; hence, 'for all x, if x is
anything, x is the same colour.'

Corollary 2.  Everything is white.

Proof.  If a sentential formula in x is logically true, then any parti-
cular substitution instance of it is a true sentence.  In particular
then:  'for all x, if x is an elephant, then x is the same colour' is
true.  Now it is manifestly axiomatic that white elephants exist (for
proof by blatant assertion consult Mark Twain 'The Stolen White Ele-
phant').  Therefore all elephants are white.  By corollary 1 everything
is white.

Theorem 2.  Alexander the Great did not exist and he had an infinite
number of limbs.

Proof.  We prove this theorem in two parts.  First we note the obvious
fact that historians always tell the truth (for historians always take
a stand, and therefore they cannot lie).  Hence we have the historically
true sentence, 'If Alexander the Great existed, then he rode a black
horse Bucephalus.'  But we know by corollary 2 everything is white;
hence Alexander could not have ridden a black horse.  Since the conse-
quent of the conditional is false, in order for the whole statement to
be true the antecedent must be false.  Hence Alexander the Great did not
  We have also the historically true statement that Alexander was warned
by an oracle that he would meet death if he crossed a certain river.  He
had two legs; and 'forewarned is four-armed.'  This gives him six limbs,
an even number, which is certainly an odd number of limbs for a man.
Now the only number which is even and odd is infinity; hence Alexander
had an infinite number of limbs.  We have thus proved that Alexander the
Great did not exist and that he had an infinite number of limbs.
Theorem: a cat has nine tails.
Proof: No cat has eight tails. A cat has one tail more than no cat.
Therefore, a cat has nine tails.
From: rmaimon@husc9.Harvard.EDU (Ron Maimon)
Theorem: All dogs have nine legs.
would you agree that no dog has five legs?
would you agree that _a_ dog has four legs more then _no_ dog?
4 + 5 = ?
Did you hear the one about the statistician?

Statistics means never having to say you're certain.
[With apologies to Erich Segal]
In earlier times, they had no statistics, and so they had to fall 
back on lies. - STEPHEN LEACOCK
"The group was alarmed to find that if you are a labourer, cleaner or dock
worker, you are twice as likely to die than a member of the professional
classes" [The Sunday Times 31st August 1980]
From: ph2008@mail.bris.ac.uk (CJ. Bradfield)
Statistics is the art of never having to say you're wrong.

Variance is what any two staticticians are at.

(Not that I particularly dislike statisticians... I hate all
mathematicians!!) [sorry mum!]
97.3% of all statistics are made up.
it's like the tale of the roadside merchant who was asked to explain how
he could sell rabbit sandwiches so cheap. "Well" he explained, "I have to
put some horse-meat in too. But I mix them 50:50. One horse, one rabbit."

[DARREL HUFF, How to lie with statistics]
Are statisticians normal?
Did you know that the great majority of people have more than the average
number of legs?  [It's obvious really; amongst the 57 million people in
Britain there are probably 5,000 people who have only got one leg.
Therefore the average number of legs is

(5000 * 1) + (56,995,000 * 2) 
----------------------------------  = 1.9999123......

Since most people have 2 legs....... ]
A statistician is a person who draws a mathematically precise line from an
unwarranted asumption to a foregone conclusion. 
A statistician can have his head in an oven and his feet in ice, and
he will say that on the average he feels fine.
From: Chris Morton   (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Statisticians do it continuously but discretely.
Statisticians do it when it counts.
Statisticians do it with 95% confidence. 
Statisticians do it with large numbers.
Statisticians do it with only a 5% chance of being rejected.
Statisticians do it with two-tail T tests.
Statisticians do it.  After all, it's only normal.
Statisticians probably do it.    

1. Thou shalt not hunt statistical inference with a shotgun. 
2. Thou shalt not enter the valley of the methods of inference without an
   experimental design. 
3. Thou shalt not make statistical inference in the absence of a model. 
4. Thou shalt honour the assumptions of thy model. 
5. Thy shalt not adulterate thy model to obtain significant results. 
6. Thy shalt not covet thy colleagues' data. 
7. Thy shalt not bear false witness against thy control group. 
8. Thou shalt not worship the 0.05 significance level. 
9. Thy shalt not apply large sample approximation in vain. 
10. Thou shalt not infer causal relationships from statistical
From: Mathematics Magazine, December 1990.
Subject: Statisticians

( Excerpted from "Quotes, Damned Quotes" by John Bibby )

If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9
times out of ten it will. (Paul Harvey News, 1979)

``Give us a copper Guv'' said the beggar to the Treasury
statistician, when he waylaid him in Parliament square. ``I
haven't eaten for three days.'' ``Ah,'' said the statistician, ``and
how does that compare with the same period last year?'' (Russell

``I gather, young man, that you wish to be a Member of
Parliament. The first lesson that you must learn is, when I call
for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want
is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than
when anyone else was Prime Minister. That is a political
statistic.'' (Winston Churchill)

``You haven't told me yet,'' said Lady Nuttal, ``what it is your
fiance does for a living.''
``He's a statistician,'' replied Lamia, with an annoying sense of
being on the defensive.
Lady Nuttal was obviously taken aback. It had not occurred to
her that statisticians entered into normal social relationships.
The species, she would have surmised, was perpetuated in some
collateral manner, like mules.
``But Aunt Sara, it's a very interesting profession,'' said Lamia
``I don't doubt it,'' said her aunt, who obviously doubted it very
much. ``To express anything important in mere figures is so
plainly impossible that there must be endless scope for
well-paid advice on the how to do it. But don't you think that
life with a statistician would be rather, shall we say,
Lamia was silent. She felt reluctant to discuss the surprising
depth of emotional possibility which she had discovered below
Edward's numerical veneer.
``It's not the figures themselves,'' she said finally. ``It's what
you do with them that matters.'' (K.A.C. Manderville, The undoing
of Lamia Gurdleneck)
People who do very unusual jobs: the man who counts then number of people
at public gatherings. 

You've probably seen his headlines, "Two million flock to see Pope.", "200
arrested as police find ounce of cannabis.", "Britain #3 billion in debt".
You probably wondered who was responsible for producing such well
rounded-up figures. What you didn't know was that it was all the work of
one man, Rounder-Up to the media, John Wheeler. But how is he able to go
on turning out such spot-on statistics? How can he be so accurate all the

"We can't" admits Wheeler blithely. "Frankly, after the first million we
stop counting, and round it up to the next million. I don't know if you've
ever counted a papal flock, but, not only do they look a bit the same,
they also don't keep still, what with all the bowing and crossing

"The only way you could do it accurately is by taking an aerial photograph
of the crowd and handing it to the computer to work out. But then you'd
get a headline saying "1,678,163 [sic] flock to see Pope, not including
35,467 who couldn't see him", and, believe me, nobody wants that sort of

The art of big figures, avers Wheeler, lies in psychology, not statistics.
The public like a figure it can admire. It likes millionaires, and
million-sellers, and centuries at cricket, so Wheeler's international
agency gives them the figures it wants, which involves not only rounding
up but rounding down. 

"In the old days people used to deal with crowds on the Isle of Wight
principle -- you know, they'd say that every day the population of the
world increased by the number of people who could stand upright on the
Isle of Wight, or the rain-forests were being decreased by an area the
size of Rutland. This meant nothing. Most people had never been to the
Isle of Wight for a start, and even if they had, they only had a vision of
lots of Chinese standing in the grounds of the Cowes Yacht Club. And the
Rutland comparison was so useless that they were driven to abolish Rutland
to get rid of it. 

"No, what people want is a few good millions. A hundred million, if
possible. One of our inventions was street value, for instance. In the old
days they used to say that police had discovered drugs in a quantity large
enough to get all of Rutland stoned for a fortnight. *We* started saying
that the drugs had a street value of #10 million. Absolutely meaningless,
but people understand it better."

Sometimes they do get the figures spot on. "250,000 flock to see Royal
two", was one of his recent headlines, and although the 250,000 was a
rounded-up figure, the two was quite correct. in his palatial office he
sits surrounded by relics of past headlines - a million-year-old fossil, a
#500,000 Manet, a photograph of the Sultan of Brunei's #10,000,000 house -
but pride of place goes to a pair of shoes framed on the wall. 

"Why the shoes? Because they cost me #39.99. They serve as a reminder of
mankind's other great urge, to have stupid odd figures. Strange, isn't it?
They want mass demos of exactly half a million, but they also want their
gramophone records to go round at thirty-three-and-a-third, forty-five and
seventy-eight rpm. We have stayed in business by remembering that below a
certain level people want oddity. They don't a rocket costing #299 million
and 99p, and they don't want a radio costing exactly #50."

How does he explain the times when the figures clash - when, for example,
the organisers of a demo claim 250,000 but the police put it nearer

"We provide both sets of figures; the figures the organisers want, and the
figures the police want. The public believe both. If we gave the true
figure, about 167,890, nobody would believe it because it doesn't sound

John Wheeler's name has never become well-known, as he is a shy figure,
but his firm has an annual turnover of #3 million and his eye for the
right figure has made him a rich man. His greatest pleasure, however,
comes from the people he meets in the counting game. 

"Exactly two billion, to be precise."

MILES KINGTON writing in The Observer, 3 November 1986

From: Hugh Robinson 
Okay, here's mine. I am told that it's true, but...

A certain well-known pure mathematician had a wife who, while 
intelligent, was not into mathematics. However, by continued
practice, she learnt to distinguish between the conversations 
of algebraists and analysts. So when he had guests to dinner
who were talking about mathematics, if they were analysts, she
would introduce at a suitable pause in the conversation:
	"But what happens at the boundary?"
Whereas, if they were algebraists, she would say:
	"But do the roots lie in the field?"
By this means she was always able to impress his visitors by
her knowledge of mathematics.

(No, don't write and ask for the punchline. That's all.)
Three men are in a hot-air balloon.  Soon, they find themselves lost
in a canyon somewhere.  One of the three men says, "I've got an idea.
We can call for help in this canyon and the echo will carry our voices

So he leans over the basket and yells out, "Helllloooooo! Where are
we?" (They hear the echo several times.)

15 minutes later, they hear this echoing voice: "Helllloooooo!  You're

One of the men says, "That must have been a mathematician."

Puzzled, one of the other men asks, "Why do you say that?"

The reply: "For three reasons.  (1) he took a long time to answer, (2)
he was absolutely correct, and (3) his answer was absolutely useless."
A small, 14-seat plane is circling for a landing in Atlanta.  It's
totally fogged in, zero visibility, and suddenly there's a small
electrical fire in the cockpit which disables all of the instruments
and the radio.  The pilot continues circling, totally lost, when
suddenly he finds himself flying next to a tall office building.

He rolls down the window (this particular airplane happens to have
roll-down windows) and yells to a person inside the building, "Where
are we?"

The person responds "In an airplane!"

The pilot then banks sharply to the right, circles twice, and makes a
perfect landing at Atlanta International.

As the passengers emerge, shaken but unhurt, one of them says to the
pilot, "I'm certainly glad you were able to land safely, but I don't
understand how the response you got was any use."

"Simple," responded the pilot.  "I got an answer that was completely
accurate and totally irrelevant to my problem, so I knew it had to be
the IBM building."
Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them they
translate into their own language and forthwith it is something
entirely different. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Old mathematicians never die; they just lose some of their functions.
Two male mathematicians are in a bar.
The first one says to the second that the average person knows very
little about basic mathematics.
The second one disagrees, and claims that most people can cope with a
reasonable amount of math.

The first mathematician goes off to the washroom, and in his absence
the second calls over the waitress.
He tells her that in a few minutes, after his friend has returned, he
will call her over and ask her a question.  All she has to do is
answer one third x cubed.
She repeats `one thir -- dex cue'?  He repeats `one third x cubed'.
Her: `one thir dex cuebd'?  Yes, that's right, he says.  So she
agrees, and goes off mumbling to herself, `one thir dex cuebd...'.
The first guy returns and the second proposes a bet to prove his
point, that most people do know something about basic math.

He says he will ask the blonde waitress an integral, and the first
laughingly agrees.
The second man calls over the waitress and asks `what is the integral
of x squared?'.
The waitress says `one third x cubed' and while walking away, turns
back and says over her shoulder `plus a constant'!
Some famous mathematician was to give a keynote speech at a
conference.  Asked for an advance summary, he said he would present a
proof of Fermat's Last Theorem -- but they should keep it under their
hats.  When he arrived, though, he spoke on a much more prosaic
topic.  Afterwards the conference organizers asked why he said he'd
talk about the theorem and then didn't.  He replied this was his
standard practice, just in case he was killed on the way to the
 How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
 One, who gives it to six Californians, thereby reducing it to an
   earlier riddle.
   -- from a button I bought at Nancy Lebowitz's table at Boskone

Q:  How many topologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  It really doesn't matter, since they'd rather knot.
From:BRIAN6@VAXC.MDX.AC.UK (who has a lightbulb collection)
Q:  How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A:  None.  It's left to the reader as an exercise.
A:  Just one, once you've managed to present the problem in terms he/she 
    is familiar with.

    In earlier work, Wiener [1] has shown that one mathematician
    can change a light bulb.

    If k mathematicians can change a light bulb, and if one more simply
    watches them do it, then k+1 mathematicians will have changed the
    light bulb.

    Therefore, by induction, for all n in the positive integers,
    n mathematicians can change a light bulb.


    [1] Weiner, Matthew P., <11485@ucbvax>, "Re: YALBJ", 1986

Q:  How many statisticians does it take to change a lightbulb ?
A:  This should be determined using a nonparametric procedure, since
    statisticians are NOT NORMAL.
A:  Walt Pirie to hold the bulb and one psychologist, one economist,
    one sociologist and one anthroplogist to pull away the ladder.
A:  One -- plus or minus three (small sample size).
(Notes: Someone has been asking this as a bonus question on statistics exam 
papers for quite a while. Judging from some of his own students' exam answers, 
it depends on whether the lightbulb is negatively or positively screwed.)

Q:  How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  One, if it knows its own Goedel number.
(Could somebody please explain this one to me ! I think it's something to do
with the maths/logic theories of Kurt Goedel, about it being impossible to
prove things.)
"A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems"
  -- P. Erdos
Moebius always does it on the same side.
Statisticians probably do it
Algebraists do it in groups.
(Logicians do it) or [not (logicians do it)].
From: Chris Morton   (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Logicians do it consistently and completely.
Mathematicians do it associatively.
Mathematicians do it commutatively.
Mathematicians do it constantly.
Mathematicians do it continuously.
Mathematicians do it discretely.
Mathematicians do it exponentially.
Mathematicians do it forever if they can do one and can do one more.
Mathematicians do it functionally.
Mathematicians do it homologically.
Mathematicians do it in fields.
Mathematicians do it in groups.
Mathematicians do it in imaginary planes.
Mathematicians do it in numbers.
Mathematicians do it in theory.  
Mathematicians do it on smooth contours.
Mathematicians do it over and under the curves.
Mathematicians do it parallel and perpendicular.
Mathematicians do it partially.
Mathematicians do it rationally.
Mathematicians do it reflexively.
Mathematicians do it symmetrically.
Mathematicians do it to prove themselves.
Mathematicians do it to their limits.
Mathematicians do it totally.
Mathematicians do it transcendentally.
Mathematicians do it transitively.
Mathematicians do it variably.
Mathematicians do it with Nobel's wife.
Mathematicians do it with a Minkowski sausage.
Mathematicians do it with imaginary parts.
Mathematicians do it with linear pairs.
Mathematicians do it with odd functions.
Mathematicians do it with prime roots.
Mathematicians do it with relations.
Mathematicians do it with rings.
Mathematicians do it with their real parts.
Mathematicians do it without limit.
Mathematicians do over an open unmeasurable interval.
Mathematicians have to prove they did it.
Set theorists do it with cardinals.
A mathematician is a person who says that, when 3 people are supposed
to be in a room but 5 came out, 2 have to go in so the room gets
My geometry teacher was sometimes acute, and sometimes
obtuse, but always, he was right.
From: lyon@netcom.com (Lyman Lyon)
Physics professor is walking across campus, runs into Math Professor. 
Physics professor has been doing an experiment, and has worked out an
emphirical equation that seems to explain his data, and asks the Math
professor to look at it. 

A week later, they meet again, and the Math professor says the equation 
is invalid.  By then, the Physics professor has used his equation to 
predict the results of further experiments, and he is getting excellent 
results, so he askes the Math professor to look again.

Another week goes by, and they meet once more.  The Math professor tells 
the Physics professor the equation does work, "But only in the trivial 
case where the numbers are real and positive."
From: gw@molly.informatik.Uni-Koeln.DE (Georg Wambach)
What is the difference between an applied mathematician and a pure 

Suppose a mathematician parks his car, locks it with his key and walks 
away. After walking about 50 yards the mathematician realizes that he has 
dropped his key somewhere along the way. What does he do? If he is an
applied mathematician he walks back to the car along the path he has 
previously traveled looking for his key. If he is a pure mathematician he 
walks to the other end of the parking lot where there is better light 
and looks for his key there.

I told this joke to my brother (he is a "pure"). He answers:
"But we have not dropped our keys!" Hence, I suggest a slight

Suppose a _tax_payer_ parks his car, locks it with his key and walks
away. After walking about 50 yards the tax payer realizes that he 
has dropped his key somewhere along the way. He asked a mathematician
to help him. What does the mathematician do? (...)
From: chrisman@ucdmath.ucdavis.edu (Mark Chrisman)
"Aleph-0 bottles of beer on the wall,
Aleph-0 bottles of beer;
Take one down, pass it around, 
Aleph-0 bottles of beer on the wall!
Aleph-0 bottles of beer on the wall..."
One and one make two,
But if one and one should marry,
Isn't it queer-
Within a year
There's two and one to carry.
Geometry keeps you in shape.
Decimals make a point.
Einstein was ahead of his time.
Lobachevski was out of line.
"IF" (School Maths version)

If you can solve a literal equation
  And rationalise denominator surds,
Do grouping factors (with a transformation)
  And state the factor theorem in words;
If you can plot the graph of any function
  And do a long division (with gaps),
Or square binomials without compunction
  Or work cube roos with logs without mishaps.
If you possess a sound and clear-cut notion
  Of interest sums with P and I unknown;
If you can find the speed of trains in motion,
Given some lengths and "passing-times" alone;
If you can play with R (both big and little)
  And feel at home with l (or h) and Pi,
And learn by cancellation how to whittle
  Your fractions down till they delight the eye.
If you can recognise the segment angles
  Both at the centre and circumference;
If you can spot equivalent triangles
  And Friend Pythagoras (his power's immmense);
If you can see that equiangularity
  And congruence are two things and not one,
You may pick up a mark or two in charity
  And, what is more, you may squeeze through, my son.
[Times Educational Supplement 19th July 1947]
This poem was written by Jon Saxton (an author of math textbooks).

((12 + 144 + 20 + (3 * 4^(1/2))) / 7) + (5 * 11) = 9^2 + 0

Or for those who have trouble with the poem:

A Dozen, a Gross and a Score,
plus three times the square root of four,
divided by seven,
plus five times eleven,
equals nine squared and not a bit more.
        'Tis a favorite project of mine
        A new value of pi to assign.
            I would fix it at 3
            For it's simpler, you see,
        Than 3 point 1 4 1 5 9.

("The Lure of the Limerick" by W.S. Baring-Gould, p.5. Attributed to
Harvey L. Carter).
If inside a circle a line
Hits the center and goes spine to spine
And the line's length is "d"
the circumference will be
d times 3.14159
If (1+x) (real close to 1)
Is raised to the power of 1
Over x, you will find
Here's the value defined:
Here's a limerick I picked up off the net a few years back - looks better
on paper.

       |  2            3 X pi          3_
       | z dz  X  cos(--------) = ln (\/e )
       |                 9

Which, of course, translates to:

Integral z-squared dz
from 1 to the cube root of 3
times the cosine
of three pi over 9
equals log of the cube root of 'e'.

And it's correct, too.
Not a joke, but a humorous ditty I heard from some guys in an
engineering fraternity (to the best of my recollection):

I'll do it phonetically:

ee to the ex dee ex,
ee to the why dee why,
sine x, cosine x,
natural log of y,
derivative on the left
derivative on the right
integrate, integrate,
fight! fight! fight!
Other cheers:

E to the x dx dy
radical transcendental pi
secant cosine tangent sine
come on folks let's integrate!!
E to the i dx dy
E to y dy
cosine secant log of pi
disintegrate em RPI !!!
square root, tangent
hyperbolic sine,
e to the x, dy, dx,
sliderule, slipstick, TECH TECH TECH!
e to the u, du/dx
e to the x dx
cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
integral, radical, u dv,
slipstick, slide rule, MIT!
E to the X
D-Y, D-X
E to the X
Cosine, Secant, Tangent, Sine
E-I, Radical, Pi
Fight'em, Fight'em, WPI!

Go Worcester Polytechnic Institute!!!!!!
Hiawatha Designs an Experiment

Hiawatha, mighty hunter,
He could shoot ten arrows upward,
Shoot them with such strength and swiftness
That the last had left the bow-string
Ere the first to earth descended.

This was commonly regarded
As a feat of skill and cunning.
Several sarcastic spirits
Pointed out to him, however,
That it might be much more useful
If he sometimes hit the target.
"Why not shoot a little straighter
And employ a smaller sample?"
Hiawatha, who at college
Majored in applied statistics,
Consequently felt entitled
To instruct his fellow man
In any subject whatsoever,
Waxed exceedingly indignant,
Talked about the law of errors,
Talked about truncated normals,
Talked of loss of information,
Talked about his lack of bias,
Pointed out that (in the long run)
Independent observations,
Even though they missed the target,
Had an average point of impact
Very near the spot he aimed at,
With the possible exception
of a set of measure zero.

"This," they said, "was rather doubtful;
Anyway it didn't matter.
What resulted in the long run:
Either he must hit the target
Much more often than at present,
Or himself would have to pay for
All the arrows he had wasted."

Hiawatha, in a temper,
Quoted parts of R. A. Fisher,
Quoted Yates and quoted Finney,
Quoted reams of Oscar Kempthorne,
Quoted Anderson and Bancroft
(practically in extenso)
Trying to impress upon them
That what actually mattered
Was to estimate the error.

Several of them admitted:
"Such a thing might have its uses;
Still," they said, "he would do better
If he shot a little straighter."

Hiawatha, to convince them,
Organized a shooting contest.
Laid out in the proper manner
Of designs experimental
Recommended in the textbooks,
Mainly used for tasting tea
(but sometimes used in other cases)
Used factorial arrangements
And the theory of Galois,
Got a nicely balanced layout
And successfully confounded
Second order interactions.

All the other tribal marksmen,
Ignorant benighted creatures
Of experimental setups,
Used their time of preparation
Putting in a lot of practice
Merely shooting at the target.

Thus it happened in the contest
That their scores were most impressive
With one solitary exception.
This, I hate to have to say it,
Was the score of Hiawatha,
Who as usual shot his arrows,
Shot them with great strength and swiftness,
Managing to be unbiased,
Not however with a salvo
Managing to hit the target.

"There!" they said to Hiawatha,
"That is what we all expected."
Hiawatha, nothing daunted,
Called for pen and called for paper.
But analysis of variance
Finally produced the figures
Showing beyond all peradventure,
Everybody else was biased.
And the variance components
Did not differ from each other's,
Or from Hiawatha's.
(This last point it might be mentioned,
Would have been much more convincing
If he hadn't been compelled to
Estimate his own components
From experimental plots on
Which the values all were missing.)

Still they couldn't understand it,
So they couldn't raise objections.
(Which is what so often happens
with analysis of variance.)
All the same his fellow tribesmen,
Ignorant benighted heathens,
Took away his bow and arrows,
Said that though my Hiawatha
Was a brilliant statistician,
He was useless as a bowman.
As for variance components
Several of the more outspoken
Make primeval observations
Hurtful of the finer feelings
Even of the statistician.

In a corner of the forest
Sits alone my Hiawatha
Permanently cogitating
On the normal law of errors.
Wondering in idle moments
If perhaps increased precision
Might perhaps be sometimes better
Even at the cost of bias,
If one could thereby now and then
Register upon a target.

W. E. Mientka, "Professor Leo Moser -- Reflections of a Visit"
American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 79, Number 6 (June-July, 1972)
A mathematician named Klein
Thought the Mobius Band was divine.
Said he, "If you glue
The edges of two
You get a weird bottle like mine."
A challenge for many long ages
Had baffled the savants and sages.
 Yet at last came the light:
 Seems old Fermat was right--
To the margin add 200 pages.
    -- Paul Chernoff
_There Once Was a Breathy Baboon_ by Sir Arthur Eddington

     There once was a breathy baboon
     Who always breathed down a bassoon,
        For he said, "It appears
        That in billions of years
     I shall certainly hit on a tune."
From: ph2008@mail.bris.ac.uk (CJ. Bradfield)
A few of my favourite quotes about mathematics:
"A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat
which isn't there" - Charles Darwin
"A person who can, within a year, solve x^2 - 92y^2 = 1 is a mathematician."
   -- Brahmagupta
Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human.  At best he
is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe and not
make messes in the house. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"
Sex is the mathematics urge sublimated. -- M. C. Reed.
"The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who
make empty prophecies.  The danger already exists that mathematicians
have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine
man in the bonds of Hell." -- St. Augustine

P.S. Augustine did really say that, but in his time there was no difference
between mathematicans and astrologists. Astrologists told the future,
which was diabolic.

Joachim Verhagen     		   Email:J.C.D.Verhagen@fys.ruu.nl
Department of molecular biofysics, University of Utrecht
Utrecht, The Netherlands.
0, unseen,,
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Subject: science jokes (4/6)
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From: shhong@chiak.kaist.ac.kr (Hong Seongho)
Theoretical Physics is a science locally isomorphic to Mathematics.
On the heater lies a tile. 
The teacher asks: "Why does the the tile warmer at the side that lies at
the far side of the heater?". 
The student stammers :"Eh, maybe because of the heat conduction and so?"
Teacher: "No, because I just turned it around."
Formula:    "Energy equals milk chocolate square"
Two atoms were walking down the street. One turns to the other and says, "Oh,
no! I think I'm an ion!"
The other responds, "Are you sure?!?"
"Yes, I'm positive!"
A hydrogen atom came running into a police station asking for help....

Hydrogen atom:  Someone just stole my electron!!
Policeman:  Are you sure?
Hydrogen atom:  Yes, I'm positive
From: freya@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu (Smile)
policeman: Oh, I thought you were just being negative again.
From: dsmillie@superior.carleton.ca (David Smillie)
Two sodium atoms are flying around a cyclotron. Suddenly the first atom
said to the second, `Hey, I think I've just lost an electron.'
`Are you sure?' asked the second atom.
`Yeah,' said the first, `I'm positive.'

Of course, the _real_ joke is that neither sodium atom could have been
flying around the cyclotron in the first place, unless they were _already_
(collapses to the floor, gasping for breath and chuckling hysterically
while everyone else in the room edges nervously away)
From: harper@kauri.vuw.ac.nz (John Harper)
every couple has its moment, especially
From: zdxc0d@amoco.com (David Crowson)
Physicists at Harwell have discovered the heaviest element
known to science, named Administratum. The new element has no
protons or electrons, and has an atomic number of zero.
However, it does have one neutron, eight assistant neutrons,
ten executive neutrons, 35 vice neutrons and 258 assistant
vice neutrons.

Administratum has an atomic mass of 311=, since the neutron
is only detectable half of the time. Its 312 particles are
held together by a force which involves the continuous
exchange of meson-like particles, called morons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratum is completely inert.
Nevertheless, its presence can be detected because it impedes
every reaction with which it comes into contact. One
experiment, which should have lasted only a few days, is
still running after 2= years due to the addition of just one
milligramme of Administratum.

It is weakly active, and has a normal half-life of
approximately six months. After this time, it does not
actually decay, but undergoes a metamorphosis in which
assistant neutrons, executive neutrons, vice neutrons and
assistant vice neutrons exchange places. This almost
invariably leads to an increase in atomic weight, hence it is

Although it occurs widely, Administratum tends to concentrate
around large corporations, research laboratories and
government departments. It can especially be found in
recently re-organised sites, and there is reason to believe
that it is heavily involved in the processes of deforestation
and global warming.

It should be remembered that Administratum is known to be
toxic at all concentrations, and can easily destroy any
productive reactions where it is allowed to accumulate.
Numerous attempts have been made to determine how
Administratum can be controlled to prevent irreversible
damage, but results to date are not promising.

From: tornberg@netcom.com (Neal E. Tornberg)
Research at other laboratories indicates that Administratium occurs naturally
in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as
government agencies, large corporations and universities and can usually be
found in the newest, best appointed and best maintained buildings.

From: Benjamin.J.Tilly@dartmouth.edu (Benjamin J. Tilly)
One major problem is that proximity to this substance tends to make the
process of getting anything done (such as getting grant money) more
time-consuming, which makes the experiments in question extremely
Ivan Ivanovich, great russian Scientist does an experiment. He wants
to know how fast a thermometer falls down. He takes a thermometer and
a light, a candle light. He drops both from the 3rd floor and recognices
that they are reaching the ground at the same time. Ivan Ivanovich, great
russian scientific writes in his book: A theomometer falls with the speed
of light.
dasher@netcom.com (Anton Sherwood) writes:
Somewhere there must be a list of ways to measure the height of a building.

A student is sitting his Physics exam, and quite an important one at
that---maybe his final degree paper or his Oxford Entrance.

Anyway, one of the questions on the paper was to the effect of:

``Q: How could one measure the height of a building using a

Being a wit, in the exam this chap puts:

``A: Drop the barometer from the top of the building and time its
descent.  Using the formula `s = ut + a(t^2)/2' and knowing `a' which
is `g' we can calculate the height of the building with reasonable
accuracy.''  He then goes on to describe in more detail the method he
would use.

The examiners were a little concerned.  Here was one of their star
students giving an answer they hadn't at all expected.

So they decided to call him in and give him an oral test to decide
whether or not to allow the answer which they did admit was perfectly

So they called him in and told him he had 15 minutes to make his case.
For ten minutes he said nothing but scribbled away furiously.  After
these ten minutes the atmosphere was getting a little tense---this was
meant to be an oral after all, and his degree (or whatever) depended on
it.  When they pointed this out to him he said that he was just trying
to get his thoughts in order as there were so many possible solutions.
Here are some of the ones he came up with:

``1: What you wanted me to do, of course, was measure air pressure at
the top and bottom of the building, and from the difference and knowing
the pressure exerted by a column of air of unit height I should be able
to calculate the height of the building.  But I thought that would be
terribly inaccurate and the answer I gave in the exam and the following
ones are all potentially more accurate.

2: Measure the length of shadow cast by the bulding and by the
barometer on a sunny day.  Knowing the actual height of the barometer
one can compute the height of the building.

3: Tie the barometer to the end of a long bit of string and lower the
barometer from the top of the building to the ground.  Measure the
amount of string payed out and you have the height of the building.''

He then gave several more but ended with:

``The best method  by far, though, would be to go to the building's
janitor and say `If I give you this shiny new scientific barometer will
you tell me how high this building is?' ''

The student passed his exam.
From: nbuchana@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca (Norm)
I don't know if there is a list, but I can think of a way that only requires two
people, a stopwatch, and an object to drop.  You have one person stand at the
top of the building with an object to drop (something that will be slowed
little by air resistance--you will have to correct for this if the building
is fairly tall).  The person on the ground can then signal the person on top to
drop the object and then time the fall.  The height of the building will then
be (neglecting air resistance):

height = .5 (9.8) t^2   (in meters of course)

Problem solved.  It is not the only way to do it obviously but I think it is
an interesting way.

From: Phil Gustafson 
The just-released book, "Expert C Programming (Deep C Secrets)", Peter
van der Linden, SunSoft/Prentice-Hall, ISBN 0-13-177429-8, lists
twenty-one (21) more or less useful ways to measure the height of a
building with a barometer.

   (10) Use the barometer as a paperweight while examining the
        building plans.

From: ljz@panix.com (Lloyd Zusman)
Uh ... I may be off base here, but my understanding of the original
poster's question was that he or she was looking for some sort of
canonical list of responses to the question, "How does one measure the
height of a building with a barometer?"

There is an apocryphal story about a science professor who asked this
question, looking for the "measure the air pressure at the top,
etc. ..." solution.  But some smart-ass student offered one or
more other alternatives, such as ...

   Drop the barometer from the top floor and measure the time it takes
   to hit the ground.

   Offer the barometer to the building owner in return for him telling
   you the height (already mentioned in this thread).

   Tie a long cable to the barometer and lower it from the top of the
   building to the ground, and then measure the length of the cable.

   etc. etc.

I know there are quite a few other answers, too ... can anyone think of
any more?

From: gt4495c@prism.gatech.edu (Giannhs)
Use a barometer to reflect a laser beam from the top and measure
the travel time.

Track the shadow of the building posisioning a barometer on the
ground every hour.

Create an explosion on the top and measure the time for the pressure
depression indicated on the barometer.

From: peter@cara.demon.co.uk (Peter Ceresole)
I think it would be simpler to let down a lightly weighted fishing
line, mark it, reel it back and measure it at leisure.

For fun, how about using sound; fire a starting pistol at the bottom,
time the difference of arrival at the top. About a second for the
Empire State building, and of course it'd have to be a damn great gun
to carry over the howl and screech of downtown Gotham. Also, the
detonation might get confused with the sounds of routine crack dealing

From: dehall@hellcat.ecn.uoknor.edu (David Hall)
In response to some question regarding "correct" methods of obtaining an
answer, one of my proffs rattled off the following anecdote:

        Three students are given a barometer and told to determine the
height of the clocktower (building at OU).

        The first student goes to the clock tower and takes two pressure
readings; one at the top of the tower and one at the bottom of the tower.
Then, based on the pressure differential derrives the correct height.

        The second student grabs a stopwatch and the barometer and climbs
to the top of the tower.  He throws the barometer off and times how long
it takes to hit the ground.  He too derrives the correct height.

        The third student takes the baromter to the Physical Plant (folks
who do all maintanence around here) and says to the janitor, "Hey, I'll
give you this cool barometer if you let me see the blueprints to the

        All three students get A's.

And then there is trigonometry, gravity force differentials, laser
rangefinding.....and the list goes on.
From: c1prasad@watson.ibm.com (prasad)
Entropy isn't what it used to be...
Why did the cat fall off the roof?
Because he lost his mu.  (mew=sound cats make, mu=coeff of friction)
Brownian motion = Jogging girl scout
From: mstueben@tjhsst.vak12ed.edu (Michael A. Stueben)
   Question: What is more useful: the sun or the moon?

   Answer:   The moon, because the moon shines at night when
             you want the light, whereas the sun shines
             during the day when you don't need it.
 Philosophers have long wondered why socks have this habit of
getting lost, and why humans always end up with large
collections of unmatched odd socks. One school of thought says
that socks are very antisocial creatures, and have a deep sense
of rivalry. In particular, two socks of the same design have
feelings of loathing towards each other and hence it is nearly
impossible to pair them (e.g. a blue sock will usually be found
nestling up to a black one, rather than its fellow blue sock).

 On the other hand, quantum theorists explain it all by a
generalised exclusion principle --- it is impossible for two
socks to be in the same eigen-state, and when it's in danger of
happening, one of the socks has to vanish. Indeed the
Uncertainty Principle also comes in --- the only time you know
where a sock is, is when you're wearing it, and hence unable to
be sure exactly how fast it's moving. The moment you stop moving
and look at your sock, it then starts falling to pieces,
changing colour, or otherwise becoming indeterminate. Either way,
socks may possess Colour and Strangeness, but they seem to lack
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center was known as SLAC, until the
big earthquake, when it became known as SPLAC.
SPLAC?  Stanford Piecewise Linear Accelerator.
THE SEX LIFE OF AN ELECTRON (with unhappy ending)

One night when his charge was at full capacity, Micro Farad decided to
get a cute little coil to discharge him.  He picked up Millie Amp and
took her for a ride on his megacycle.  They rode across the wheat stone
bridge, around the sine wave, and into the magnetic field next to the
flowing current.

Micro Farad, attracted by Millie's characteristic curve, soon had her
field fully excited.  He laid her on the ground potential, raised her
frequency, lowered her resistance, and pulled out his high voltage
probe.  He inserted it in parallel and began to short circuit her shunt.
Fully excited, Millie cried out, "ohm, ohm, give me mho".  With his tube
at maximum output and her coil vibrating from the current flow, her
shunt soon reached maximum heat.  The excessive current had shorted her
shunt, and Micro's capacity was rapidly discharged, and every electron
was drained off.  They fluxed all night, tried various connections and
hookings until his bar magnet had lost all of its strength, and he could
no longer generate enough voltage to sustain his collapsing field.  With
his battery fully discharged, Micro was unable to excite his tickler, so
they ended up reversing polarity and blowing each other's fuses.
From: Marcel Melters 
THE SEX LIFE OF AN ELECTRON ( with happy ending)

One night when his charge was pretty high, Micro Farad went to see
if he could find a cute little coil to let him discharge.
He picked up Milli Amp, and took her for a ride on his Megacycle.
They rode accross the wheatstone bridge, along the sine wave and
stopped at a magnetic field flowing with current.
Micro Farad soon had her resistance at a minimum level. They laid
against ground level. Micro Farad then inserted his probe in Milli
Amps socket. Mho, Mho, give me Mho, she said.
They fluxed all night, trying out various connections.
Afterwards Milli Amp tried self-induction and damaged her probe.
After this, they went home and oscillated happily ever after.
From: schmid@isi.ee.ethz.ch (Hanspeter Schmid)
At the physics exam:
'Describe the universe (max. 200 words) and give three examples.'

From: garyg@warren.mentorg.com (Gary Gendel)
Sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.  My physics final came at
the time when there was a debate whether to allow calculators in the exams.
The Physics department was the first to decide in favor of allowing them,
the 3 hour exam had one question:

Describe the universe, if Planck's constant were equal to 1.
Three Laws of Thermodynamics (paraphrased):
First Law:  You can't get anything without working for it.
Second Law: The most you can accomplish by work is to break even.
Third Law:  You can't break even.
From: John Vinson <74222.2372@CompuServe.COM>
The modern statement of the three laws of thermodynamics:
1. You can't win.
2. You can't even break even.
3. You can't get out of the game.
A promising PhD candidate was presenting his thesis at his final
examination.  He proceeded with a derivation and ended up with
something like:

        F = -MA

He was embarrassed, his supervising professor was embarrassed, and the
rest of the committee was embarrassed.  The student coughed nervously
and said "I seem to have made a slight error back there somewhere."

One of the mathematicians on the committee replied dryly, "Either that
or an odd number of them!"
From: nbuchana@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca (Norm)
A probability is a desperate attempt of chaos to become stable.
Heisenberg might have slept here.
From: seashore@pirinen.demon.co.uk (Anetta Meriranta Pirinen)
Schroedinger's Vet: Specializing in gassed cats and monkeys with
Carpal-tunnel syndrome.
A Physicist is explaining a picture: "Of course, these are false colours,
the red is really yellow, the green is really blue and the white is really
  Donald Nichols (DoN.):
        --- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---

The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed.  Our
authority is Isaiah 30:26, "Moreover, the light of the Moon shall be as
the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as
the light of seven days."  Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much
radiation as we do from the Sun, and in addition 7*7 (49) times as much
as the Earth does from the Sun, or 50 times in all.  The light we
receive from the Moon is one 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the
Sun, so we can ignore that ... The radiation falling on Heaven will
heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to
the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much
heat as the Earth by radiation.  Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law for
radiation, (H/E)^4 = 50, where E is the absolute temperature of the
earth (300K), gives H as 798K (525C).  The exact temperature of Hell
cannot be computed ... [However] Revelations 21:8 says "But the
fearful, and unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone."  A lake of molten brimstone means
that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6C.  We
have, then, that Heaven, at 525C is hotter than Hell at 445C.
		-- From "Applied Optics" vol. 11, A14, 1972
From: sirius@wam.umd.edu (The Human Neutrino = Linda Harden)

1)  No known species of reindeer can fly.  BUT there are 300,000 species of
living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects
and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only 
Santa has ever seen. 

2)  There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world.  BUT since 
Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist 
children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million 
according to Population Reference Bureau.  At an average (census)rate of 3.5 
children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.  One presumes there's at 
least one good child in each.

3)  Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to 
west(which seems logical).  This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This 
is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa
has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the
chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the
tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back
into the sleigh and move on to the next house.  Assuming that each of these
91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course,
we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept),
we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2
million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once
every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000
times the speed of sound.  For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made
vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per
second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4)  The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element.  Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably
described as overweight.  On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more
than 300 pounds.  Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could 
pull TEN TIMES the normal anoint, we cannot do the job with eight, or even 
nine.  We need 214,200 reindeer.  This increases the payload - not even
counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons.
Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
5)  353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air
resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere.  The lead pair of reindeer
will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy.  Per second.  Each.  In short,
they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer
behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.The entire 
reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.  Santa, 
meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater 
than gravity.  A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)would be 
pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's  
dead now.

From: hjiwa@nor.chevron.com Canonical List Of Holiday Humor
Rebuttal: (Jim Mantle, Waterloo Maple Software)

Come on, ya gotta believe!  I mean, if you can handle flying furry animals, then
it's only a small step to the rest.

For example;

   1)  As admitted, it is possible that a flying reindeer can be found.  I would
agree that it would be quite an unusual find, but they might exist.
   2)  You've relied on cascading assumptions.  For example, you have assumed a
uniform distribution of children across homes.  Toronto/Yorkville, or
Toronto/Cabbagetown, or other yuppie neighbourhoods, have probably less than
the average (and don't forget the DINK and SINK homes (Double Income No Kids,
Single Income No Kids)), while the families with 748 starving children that they
keep showing on Vision TV while trying to pick my pocket would skew that 15% of
homes down a few percent.
   3)  You've also assumed that each home that has kids would have at least one
good kid.  What if anti-selection applies, and homes with good kids tend to have
more than their share of good kids, and other homes have nothing except
terrorists in diapers?  Let's drop that number of homes down a few more percent.
   4)  Santa would have to Fedex a number of packages ahead of time, since he
would not be able to fly into Air Force Bases, or into tower-controlled areas
near airports.  He's get shot at over certain sections of the Middle East, and
the no-fly zones in Iraq, so he'd probably use DHL there.  Subtract some more
   5)  I just barely passed Physics and only read Stephen Hawking's book once,
but I recall that there is some Einsteinian Theory that says time does strange
things as you move faster.  In fact, when you go faster than the speed of light
time runs backward, if you do a straight line projection, connect the dots and
just ignore any singularity you might find right at the speed of light.  And
don't say you can't go faster than the speed of light because I've seen it done
on TV.  Jean-Luc doesn't have reindeer but he does have matter-antimatter warp
engines and a holodeck and that's good enough for me.
   So Santa could go faster than light, visit all the good children which are
not uniformly distributed by either concentration in each home or by number of
children per household, and get home before he left so he can digest all those
stale cookies and warm milk yech.
   6)  Aha, you say, Jean-Luc has matter-antimatter warp engines, Santa only has
reindeer, where does he get the power to move that fast!
   You calculated the answer!  The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3
quintillion joules of energy.  Per second.  Each.  This is an ample supply of
energy for the maneuvering, acceleration, etc, that would be required of the
loaded sleigh.  The reindeer don't evaporate or incinerate because of this
energy, they accelerate.  What do you think they have antlers for, fighting over
females?  Think of antlers as furry solar array panels.
   7)  If that's not enough, watch the news on the 24th at 11 o'clock.  NORAD
(which may be one of the few government agencies with more than 3 initials in
it's name and therefore it must be more trustworthy than the rest) tracks Santa
every year and I've seen the radar shots of him approaching my house from the
direction of the North Pole.  They haven't bombarded him yet, so they must
believe too, right?

Yet another rebuttal to the rebuttal:

Several key points are overlooked by this callous, amateurish "study."

   1)  Flying reindeer:  As is widely known (due to the excellent historical
documentary "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the flying reindeer are not a
previously unknown species of reindeer, but were in fact given the power of
flight due to eating magic acorns.  As is conclusively proven in "Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer" (a no punches pulled look at life in Santa's village), this
ability has bred true in subsequent generations of reindeer, obviously the magic
acorns imprinted their power on a dominant gene sequence within the reindeer DNA
   2)  Number of households:  This figure overlooks two key facts. First of all,
the first major schism in the Church split the Eastern Churches, centered in
Byzantium, from the Western, which remained centered in Rome.  This occurred
prior to the Gregorian correction to the Julian calendar.  The Eastern churches
(currently called Orthodox Churches) do not recognize the Gregorian correction
for liturgical events, and their Christmas is as a result several days after the
Western Churches'.  Santa gets two shots at delivering toys.
   Secondly, the figure of 3.5 children per household is based on the gross
demographic average, which includes households with no children at all.  The
number of children per household, when figured as an average for households with
children, would therefore have to be adjusted upward.  Also, the largest single
Christian denomination is Roman Catholic, who, as we all know, breed like
rabbits.  If you don't believe me, ask my four brothers and two sisters, they'll
back me up.  Due to the predominance of Catholics within Christian households,
the total number of households containing Christian children would have to be
adjusted downward to reflect the overloading of Catholics beyond a standard
deviation from the median.
   Also, the assertion that each home would contain at least one good child
would be reasonable enough if there were in fact an even 3.5 children per
household.  However, since the number of children per household is distributed
integrally, there are a significant number (on the order of several million) of
one child Christian households.  Even though only children are notoriously
spoiled and therefore disproportionately inclined towards being naughty, since
it's the holidays we'll be generous and give them a fifty-fifty chance of
being nice.  This removes one half of the single child households from Santa's
delivery schedule, which has already been reduced by the removal of the Orthodox
households from the first delivery run.
   3)  Santa's delivery run (speed, payload, etc.):  These all suffer from the
dubious supposition that there is only one Santa Claus.  The name "Santa" is
obviously either Spanish or Italian, two ethnic groups which are both
overwhelmingly Catholic.  The last name Claus suggests a joint German/Italian
background.  His beginnings, battling the Burgermeister Meisterburger, suggest
he grew up in Bavaria (also predominantly Catholic).  The Kaiser style helmets
of the Burgermeister's guards, coupled with the relative isolation of the
village, suggest that his youth was at the very beginning of Prussian influence
in Germany.  Thus, Santa and Mrs. Claus have been together for well over one
hundred years.  If you think that after a hundred years of living at the North
Pole with nights six months long that they remain childless, you either don't
know Catholics or are unaware of the failure rate of the rhythm method.  There
have therefore been over five generations of Clauses, breeding like Catholics
for over one hundred years.  Since they are Catholic, their exponential
population increase would obviously have a gain higher than the world population
as a whole.  There have therefore been more than enough new Santas to overcome
the population increase of the world.  So in fact, Santa has an easier time of
it now than he did when he first started out.

Santa dead, indeed; some people will twist any statistic to "prove" their
cynical theory.
From: billyfish@aol.com (BillyFish)
One day in class, Richard Feynman was talking about angular momentum.  He
described rotation matrices and mentioned that they did not commute.  He
said that Sir William Hamilton discovered noncommutivity one night when he
was taking a walk in his garden with Lady Hamilton.  As they sat down on a
bench, there was a moment of passion.  It was then that he discovered that
AB did not equal BA.
There are no physicists in the hottest parts of hell, because the
existence of a "hottest part" implies a temperature difference, and any
marginally competent physicist would immediately use this to run a heat
engine and make some other part of hell comfortably cool.  This is
obviously impossible. -- Richard Davisson
The study of non-linear physics is like the study of non-elephant
Anything that doesen't matter has no mass.
 1.   You can't win.
 2.   You can't break even.
 3.   You can't get out of the game.

  The perversity of the universe tends towards a maximum.
From tellen@mtg.mt.com Thu Nov 24 15:19:01 1994
From: "Jean-Maurice Tellenbach" 
The second world war is the best demonstration of relativity...

The high energy density variations of vacuum are mainly produced within

The Physicist : "The positron will be dramatically modified by meeting an
The President : "You said ... position and ... election ??"
From: mj@redbud (MJ Kahn)
Q: How many general relativists does it take to change a light bulb.
A: Two. One holds the bulb, while the other rotates the universe.
From:BRIAN6@VAXC.MDX.AC.UK (cannonical lightbulb collection)
Q:  How many quantum physicists does it take to change a lightbulb ?
A:  One. Two to do it, and one to renormalise the wave function.
    (Explanation - Renormalising the wave function is something that has to be
    done to a lot of quantum physics calculations to stop the answer being
    infinity and makes the answer always come out as one.)
Q:  How many quantum mechanicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  They can't. If they know where the socket is, they cannot locate the
    new bulb.
Q:  How many Heisenbergs does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  If you know the number, you don't know where the light bulb is.
Q:  How many astronomers does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None, astronomers prefer the dark.
Q:  How many radio astronomers does it take to change a light bulb.
A:  None. They are not interested in that short wave stuff.

            The Dark Sucker Theory (courtesy of rec.humor.d)

    For years, it has been believed that electric bulbs emit light,
but recent information has proved otherwise.  Electric bulbs don't
emit light; they suck dark.  Thus, we call these bulbs Dark Suckers.

    The Dark Sucker Theory and the existence of dark suckers prove
that dark has mass and is heavier than light.

    First, the basis of the Dark Sucker Theory is that electric bulbs
suck dark.  For example, take the Dark Sucker in the room you are in.
There is much less dark right next to it than there is elsewhere.  The
larger the Dark Sucker, the greater its capacity to suck dark.
Dark Suckers in the parking lot have a much greater capacity to suck
dark than the ones in this room.

    So with all things, Dark Suckers don't last forever.  Once they are
full of dark, they can no longer suck.  This is proven by the dark spot
on a full Dark Sucker. The dark which has been absorbed is then 
transmitted by pylons along to power plants where the machinery uses 
fossil fuel to destroy it.

    A candle is a primitive Dark Sucker.  A new candle has a white wick.
You can see that after the first use, the wick turns black, representing
all the dark that has been sucked into it.  If you put a pencil next to
the wick of an operating candle, it will turn black.  This is because
it got in the way of the dark flowing into the candle.  One of the
disadvantages of these primitive Dark Suckers is their limited range.

    There are also portable Dark Suckers.  In these, the bulbs can't
handle all the dark by themselves and must be aided by a Dark Storage
Unit.  When the Dark Storage Unit is full, it must be either emptied
or replaced before the portable Dark Sucker can operate again.

    Dark has mass.  When dark goes into a Dark Sucker, friction from
the mass generates heat.  Thus, it is not wise to touch an operating
Dark Sucker.  Candles present a special problem as the mass must travel
into a solid wick instead of through clear glass.  This generates a
great amount of heat and therefore it's not wise to touch an operating
candle. This is easily proven for lightbulbs too. When you compress a 
gas, it gets hot, right?  So the light bulb gets hot because of all the 
dark being squished into the wires.  

    Also, dark is heavier than light.  If you were to swim just below
the surface of the lake, you would see a lot of light.  If you were to
slowly swim deeper and deeper, you would notice it getting darker and
darker.  When you get really deep, you would be in total darkness.  This
is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the
lighter light floats at the top.  The is why it is called light.

    Finally, we must prove that dark is faster than light.  If you were
to stand  in a lit room in front of a closed, dark closet, and slowly
opened the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet.
But since dark is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave
the closet. So next time you see an electric bulb, remember that it is 
not a light emitter but a Dark Sucker.

The following line doesn't quite fit into the theory but almost does : -
Ever seen the blue glow in vacuum tubes?  That's because electrons are blue.
Polymer physicists are into chains.
From: Chris Morton   (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Dyslexic Particle Physicists do it with hadrons.
Particle physicists do it energetically.
Physicists do it a quantum at a time.
Physicists do it at two places in the universe at one time.
Physicists do it attractively.
Physicists do it energetically.
Physicists do it in black holes.
Physicists do it in waves.
Physicists do it like Einstein.
Physicists do it magnetically.
Physicists do it on accelerated frames.
Physicists do it particularly.
Physicists do it repulsively.
Physicists do it strangely.
Physicists do it up and down, with charming color, but strange!
Physicists do it with Tensors.
Physicists do it with black bodies
Physicists do it with charm.     
Physicists do it with large expensive machinery. 
Physicists do it with rigid bodies.
Physicists do it with the help of an absolute Bohr (ouch!).      
Physicists do it with their vectors.
Physicists do it with uniform harmonic motion.
Physicists get a big bang.
Physics majors do it at the speed of light.
Plasma physicists do it with everything stripped off.
Astronomers do it all night.
Astronomers do it in the dark.
Astronomers do it under the stars.
Astronomers do it while gazing at Uranus.
Astronomers do it with Uranus.
Astronomers do it with long tubes.
Astronomers do it with stars.
Electron microscopists do it 100,000 times.
Rocket scientists do it with higher thrust.
Quantum mechanics do it in leaps.
Spectroscopists do it until it hertz.
Spectroscopists do it with frequency and intensity.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Zeno of Elea:  To prove it could never reach the other side.
Werner Heisenberg:  We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on,
   but it was moving very fast.
1) Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest.  Chickens in motion tend to
   cross the road.
2) It was pushed on the road.
3) It was pushed on the road by another chicken, which went away from
   the road.
4) It was attracted to a chicken on the other side of the road.
Wolfgang Pauli:  There already was a chicken on this side of the road.
robertk@xmission.com (robertk):
There once was a fellow named Fisk
Whose fencing was exceedingly brisk.
So fast was his action
That by the Fitzgerald Contraction
His rapier soon was reduced to a disk.
From: slw1@ellis.uchicago.edu (SluT)
There was a young fellow named Fisk
Whose stroke was exceedingly brisk
By relative action
The Lorenz contraction
Had reduced his dong to a disk.
From: blc@solomon.technet.sg (Brian Cohen)
A mathematician named Hall
had a hexahedronical ball.
The cube of its weight,
times his pecker plus eight
is his phonenumber. Give him a call!
robertk@xmission.com (robertk) writes:
There once was a fellow named Blight
Whose speed was much faster than light.
He sat off one day
In a relative way
and returned on the previous night.

We've heard of that fellow named Blight,
And his trip on that fabulous night,
But his increasing mass
Would have soon proved so vast
He'd have been a most *singular* sight!
From: jim.henry@ftl.mese.com (Jim Henry)
A quantum mechanic's vacation
Had his colleagues in dire consternation.
For while studies had shown
That his speed was well known,
His position was pure speculation.

(Not sure who wrote that one.)

I saw an old fellow of Sirius,
I thought I was merely delirious.
But he ate me with zeal,
I'm convinced he was real
That zealous old gourmand of Sirius.

(I wrote that one.)
From: Ken & Jo Walton (Magellan@kenjo.demon.co.uk)
There was a young lady called Bright
Who could travel much faster than light.
She set out one day
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.

Said Einstein, "I have an equation,"
"Which some might call Rabelaisian:"
"Let P be viginity,"
"Approaching infinity,"
"And let U be a constant, persuasion."

"Now, if P over U be inverted,"
"And the squareroot of U be inserted,"
"X times over P,"
"The result, Q.E.D."
"Is a relative."  Einstein asserted.
A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms. - George Wald
All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- E. Rutherford
On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague:
"This isn't right.  This isn't even wrong." -- Wolfgang Pauli
"One thing they don't tell you about doing experimental physics is that
sometimes you must work under adverse conditions ... like a state of
sheer terror." -- W. K. Hartmann
From: aephraim@physics5 (Aephraim M. Steinberg)
To this day, lab directors keep a physics lecture on hand [to disperse
rabble-rousers]. Let us pray we never need to use it." -- Lederman
p.austin@info.curtin.edu.au (Peter Austin)
"Very strange people, physicists - in my experience the ones who aren't
dead are in some way very ill"
-Mr Standish "The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul" by Douglas Adams
From: sichase@csa5.lbl.gov (SCOTT I CHASE)
Physics is not a religion.  If it were, we'd have a much easier time
raising money. -Leon Lederman
From: aephraim@physics5 (Aephraim M. Steinberg)
WHY must I treat the measuring device classically??  What will happen
to me if I don't??" - Eugene Wigner
From: c1prasad@watson.ibm.com (prasad)
What is mind?  No matter.
What is matter?  Never mind.  - Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875
Fermi was asked what characteristics physics Nobelists had in common. 
He answered, "I cannot think of a single one, not even intelligence." 
(Phys Today, Oct 1994, pg70)
From: Colin_Douthwaite@equinox.gen.nz (Colin Douthwaite)
Here are some more Einstein quotes:

When asked how World War III would be fought, Einstein replied that 
he didn't know. But he knew how World War IV would be fought: With 
sticks and stones!  

"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour.
 Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.
 THAT'S relativity."

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.

If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.

 Einstein, Albert (1879-1955) *
   Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
 _Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium_ (1941) ch. 13
Acid -- better living through chemistry.
All theoretical chemistry is really physics;
and all theoretical chemists know it. -- Richard P. Feynman
Make it myself?  But I'm a physical organic chemist!
glutaminylprolylmethionyllysylalanylalanylthreonylarginylserine, n.:
	The chemical name for tryptophan synthetase A protein, a
	1,913-letter enzyme with 267 amino acids.
		-- Mrs. Bryne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and
Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds.  Biochemistry
is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams
Chemicals:  Noxious substances from which modern foods are made.
From: tphillips@biosci.mbp.missouri.edu (Thomas E. Phillips)
Q:How many atoms in a guacamole?    
A:Avocado's number.  
From: ericd@jubal.mdli.com (Eric Desch)
Remember, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the
From: Chris Morton   (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Chemical engineers do it in packed beds.
Chemists do it in test tubes.    
Chemists do it in the fume hood. 
Chemists do it periodically on table.
Chemists do it reactively.
Chemists like to experiment.
Electrochemists have greater potential.
From: skreyn@netcom.com (Veggie Boy = Sean K Reynolds)
Polymer chemists do it in chains.
From: CLD@msc.com

        / \
       |   |
        \ /
         PhD    Para - Doc's   (can draw ortho - doc's as well)

HiHoAg           hi ho silver!!!

From: dan.arico@wdn.com (Dan Arico)

     CH3- _    _    _    _ - CH3
        /   \/   \/   \/   \
       |    |    |    |    |
        \ _/ \ _/ \ _/ \ _/
        /  \ /  \ /  \ /  \
       |    |    |    |    |
   CH3- \ _/ \ _/ \ _/ \ _/- CH3


From: bkd@christa.unh.edu (Brian K Dann)
               o  o  o
               |  |  |
              / \/ \/ \

A propyl people ether!

From: dan.arico@wdn.com (Dan Arico)

               Fe - Fe
              /       \
             Fe       Fe
              \       /
               Fe - Fe

Ferous Wheel

From: sppp@hippo.ru.ac.za (Peter Piacenza)

	 |   PhD
	/ \ /
       | O |
	\ /
		Orthodox        (ortho - Doc's)

      / \
     | O |        Metaphysicians    
      \ /\        --------------
       O   O   
    ---I---I-----O-C3H7   Propylpeople ether
       I   I              ------------------
      /\  /\
    /    \   \    

	/ \ 
       | O |__4
	\ /
		Metaphor        (meta - 4)

From: nuke@netcom.com (Bill Newcomb)
  / \  /\
 /   \/	 \
I     	  O		   a 1-I-1-ORN-flying-propyl people ether
	  |	             (*stolen from A. Shusterman, with enhancements)
	 / \

From: a481@mindlink.bc.ca (J.D. Frazer)
What is this:

        NaCl(aq)   NaCl(aq)
        C  C  C  C  C  C  C

Answer: (In a sing-song voice) "Saline, saline, over the seven C's"
From: tomm@netcom.com (Tom Murray)
chemical formula:


What is it?  It's the formula for water.
From: jay.freedman@pacsibm.org (Jay Freedman)
These were printed on bumper stickers and given out at an American Chemical
Society meeting 10 or 12 years ago:
It takes alkynes to make a world.
From: jay.freedman@pacsibm.org (Jay Freedman)
Old chemists never die, they just fail to react.
From: bill.considine@execnet.com (BILL CONSIDINE)   DeLuxe 1.1 #9385
Old chemists never die they just reach equilibrium
From: wmaya@csupomona.edu (Walter Maya)
Old chemists never die, they just smell that way.
From: bgnosis@isca.uiowa.edu (Billy Gnosis)
What do you get when you cross buckminsterfullerene,
helicase, and ATP?   Screwballs."
From: lozinski@csugrad.cs.vt.edu (Joe Cool)
Man - A Chemical Analysis

Element        : Man
Symbol         : Ah (short for Arsehole)
Quantitative   : Accepted at 7 inches, wavy brown hair, 6' 0" in length,
                 though some isotopes can be as short as 4 inches.
Discoverer     : Eve
Occurance      : Found following duel element Wo, often in high
                 concentration near a perfect Wo specimen.

Physical properties : 1) Obnoxious when mixed with C*H*-OH  (any alcohol).

                      2) Tends to fall into very low energy state directly
                         after reaction with Wo (Snore ...  zzzzz).

                      3) Gains considerable mass as specimen ages, loses
                         reactive nature.

                      4) Rarely found in pure form after 14th year.

                      5) Often damaged as a direct result of unlucky reaction
                         with polluted form of the Wo commom ore.

Chemical properties : 1) All forms desire reaction with Wo, even when no
                         further reaction is possible.

                      2) May react with several Wo isotopes in short period
                         under extremely favorable conditions.

                      3) Usually willing to react with what ever is available.

                      4) Reaction Rates range from aborted/non-existant to
                         Pre-interaction effects (which tend to turn the
                         specimen bright red.

                      5) Reaction styles vary from extremely slow, calm
                         and wet to violent/bloody.

Storage : Best results apparently near 18 for high reaction rate,
          25-35 for favorable reaction style.

Uses    : Heavy boxes, top shelves, long walks late at night,
          free dinners for Wo...

Tests   : Pure specimen will rarely reveal purity, while reacted
          specimens broadcast information on many wavelengths.

Caution : Tends to react extremely violently when other Man interferes with
          reaction to a particular Wo specimen.  Otherwise very maleable
          under correct conditions.

Woman - A Chemical Analysis

Element       : Woman
Symbol        : WO
Atomic Weight : Accepted as 118, but known to vary 105-175.
Discoverer    : Adam
Occurance     :  Copious quantities in all Urban areas,
                 with slighlty lower concentrations in
                 Suburban and Rural areas. Subject to
                 seasonal fluctuations.

Physical Properties  : 1) Surface usually covered with
                          painted film.

                       2) Boils at nothing, freezes
                          without reason.

                       3) Melts if given special

                       4) Bitter if used incorrectly.
                          Can cause headaches.
                          Handle with care!

                       5) Found in various states;
                          ranging from virgin metal to
                          common ore.

                       6) Yields to pressure applied to
                          correct points.

 Chemical Properties : 1) Has great affinity for Gold,
                          Silver, Platinum and many of
                          the Precious Stones.

                       2) Absorbs great quantities of
                          expensive substances.

                       3) May explode spontaneously if
                          left alone on dates.

                       4) Insoluble in liquids, but
                          there is increased activity
                          when saturated in alcohol
                          to a certain point.

                       5) Repels cheap material.
                          Neutral to common sense.

                       6) Most powerful money reducing
                          agent known to Man.

 Uses    : Highly ornamental, especially in sports cars.
           Can greatly improve relaxation levels.
           Can warm and comfort under some circumstances.
           Can cool things down when it's too hot.

 Tests   : Pure specimen turns rosy pink when discovered
           in natural state.
           Turns green when placed beside a better

 Caution : 1) Highly dangerous except in experienced
              hands. Use extreme care when handling.

           2) Illegal to possess more than one.
There is the joke about the homeopath who forgot to take his
medicine and died of an overdose.
From: peabody@wam.umd.edu (Doctor Soran)
Go skiing in Tellurium, Colorado
Stanley Cupric's "Full Metal Jacket"
The Uranium Songs:
"I Get a Kick out of U" (Cole Porter)
"I Can't Stay Away from U" (Gloria Estefan)

"I Was a Teenage Werewolfram"

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania along with the
Cobaltic States of Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Finland

June 6, 1944 was the radon Normandy.
From: bgnosis@isca.uiowa.edu (Billy Gnosis)
Q:What does what does the Lone Ranger say to his horse?
A:HIOAg, away!
From: ts@uwasa.fi (Timo Salmi)
Free radicals have revolutionized chemistry.
From: kkociba@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Keith J Kociba)
Chemists are the *cleanest* people you'll ever meet...
they wash their hands even *before* they go to the restroom!
From: a94petbe@ida.his.se (Peter Bengtsson)
Chemistry is really funny, there are even people
who laugh at Nitrogen(I)Oxide.
(You will have to know some chemistry to understand this :-)
From: cgra@se.alcbel.be (Chris Gray)
Or Nitrogen Triiodide???
From: wmoon@jupiter.uucp (Woo Moon)
Q:What's the difference between a hormone and a vitamin?
A:You can't make a vitamin....

(take your time..)
From: "Lev A. Gorenstein" 
Anyway, I think this is a good idea.  Here's my contribution.  These are
"crazy phrases" from some works on several Moscow city and regional
high-school chemistry olympiads (I've been a member of the Organizing
Committee for them for a number of years and I really miss this now).  By
the way, if anybody knows about similar things here in the US (and 
Indiana in particular) - I will be gratefull.

Unfortunately, all of these citations are in Russian (obviously ;-) and, 
what is much worse, most of them are unexpected (for their authors) puns, 
which are impossible (at least for me) to translate (some of these puns 
were just great, all the Orginizing Committee was rolling on the floor 
in tears ;-).  I found only several phrases allowing translation (not 
best pearls, unfortunately...):  

[For the question: "Why H2S is a poison for us?"] :  
"H2S reacts with the iron in hemoglobin, forming an insoluble FeS, thus
causing the oxygen deficiency"  (there were some variants like Fe2S,
Fe2S3, Fe2S2...  But - isn't it a good idea, especially taking into 
account that it was in the work of a 13 years old guy?)

[for the question: "Why lead compounds are poisons for us?"] :
a) "Lead ions make sugar in the blood poisoned"
b) "After Pb2+ gets in the stomach, since there is the Cl- in the stomach 
juice, the reaction Pb2+ + 2Cl- ---> PbCl2 (s) occurs, and the unsoluble 
PbCl2 precipitates into the stomach, thus distorting food digestion"

"Also the produced hydrogen is a gas with nasty smell"

[At the end of the work] :  "Damn, done!"

"When AgNO3 reacts with NH4Cl, there forms the precipitate kind of white 
and Ag salt"  (Everywhere I tried to translate it equivalently to it's 
Russian prototype, saving the grammar mistakes and style ;-)

[For the problem "Find mistakes in the following procedure of preparation 
of diluted H2SO4: .... "] :
a) For preparation of diluted (strictly - solution) sulfuric acid one 
   must not use concentrated H2SO4.
b) There is no such thing as "volumetric flask"
c) The mixture of ice and table salt DOESN'T EXIST!

"Ice and NaCl mixture?  Crap! The ice would momentarily melt because of 

"To the sulfuric acid one must add water, but not water to sulfuric acid"

[The following was on the VERY weak work (it happened that the teacher 
said to pupils : "You won't get a good grade unless you go to the 
olympiads" and sometimes there was just a bunch of people who were not 
interested in chemistry and had came only "to be marked good" in 
teacher's eyes).  They were starving there, because they were unable to 
solve any problem, they couldn't leave because of a teacher, and they had 
to entertain themselves.  But how?  Probably the oldest way to entertain 
oneself is to write something nasty to somebody else (also proved by 
recent anonymous posting about grad. schools ;-).  Ok, enough theory, 
I explained the joke, you may start laughing here :-)   Okh, one more 
explanation:  "pud" is an old Russian wieght unit, equals 16 kg:

"Don't have enough sake to find the mass % without calculator.  That is 
	It's better eat a "pud" of shit,
	Than solve your chemistry, damn it!"

(this was rhymed!  We thought about making this verse an unofficial 
slogan of our Committee ;-)

Will check in my books about any funny chem. experiments.
Regards to all, would like to see other responces.
From: gardner@sun.lclark.edu (Gillian Gardner)
It's not original; I've seen them posted here before, but:
Why do chemists like nitrates so much?  
They're cheaper than day rates.
From: jpauer@mtu.edu (JAMES PAUER)
First law of Laboratorics: Hot glass and cold glass look alike!
From: jpark@eis.calstate.edu (John Park)
From: flatter@rose-hulman.edu (Neil Flatter)

What does one do with a dead body? Barium
They should have seen the doctor first, he'd Curium.
Perhaps with a housplant, a Germanium.
And if they stole it, the police would Cesium.
Locked up for life, in Irons.
They would go crazy in jail, a Silicon.

Maybe their into plastic surgery.
What does the surgeon do for low cheeks, Lithium.
To large gashes?  Sodium.

Tooth in water glass is a one molar soln.
Like BaNa2, name IOAg.  I O Silver.

Rabbit like paired electrons on an ether, ether bunny.
And your aunt Ester and her husband Al K Hall.
From: nuke@netcom.com (Bill Newcomb)
With music by Al D. Hyde and the Ace Tones...

Where does one put the dishes? Zinc
What does one do if one can't zwim? Zinc

Name BaNa2. banana

Draw a 1,4 compound of benzene with two dice. Name it. Paradice
Also done w/ MD for paramedic
Done as 1,2 w/ DDS for orthodontist.
1,3 and physics, metaphysics.

Draw benzene with a Mercedes symbol single bonded to the uppermost 
carbon. Name it. Mercedes benzene.
From: bill.considine@execnet.com (BILL CONSIDINE) From C&E News (1/9/95 p.48):
What's a cation afraid of?  A dogion!
From: naight@MCS.COM (Nathan Parker)
Remember that without t Chemistry, Nothing would exist!
From: lanzi@inland.com
OK.  What do you get when you combine [insert a person] with O2?
David Smillie:
Little Willie was a chemist.
Little Willie is no more.
For what he thought was H2O,
Was H2SO4.
From: hjiwa@nor.chevron.com Canonical List Of Holiday Humor
From: grandish@kits.sfu.ca (Gavin Lee Grandish)
Chemistry Christmas Carols

1. The Chemistry Teacher's Coming To Town
2. I'm Dreaming Of A White Precipitate
3. Silent Labs
4. Deck The Labs
5. The Twelve Days Of Chemistry
6. Test Tubes Bubbling
7. O Little Melting Particle
8. We Wish You A Happy Halogen
9. Chemistry Wonderland
10. I Saw Teacher Kissing Santa Chlorine
11. O Come All Ye Gases
12. We Three Students Of Chemistry Are
13. Iron The Red Atom Molecule
14. Lab Reports
15. Silver nitrate

1.  The Chemistry Teacher's Coming to Town

You better not weigh
You better not heat
You better not react
I'm telling you now
The Chemistry Teacher's coming to town.

He's collecting data
He's checking it twice
He's gonna find out
The heat of melting ice
The Chemistry Teacher's coming to town.

He sees you when you're decanting
He knows when you titrate
He knows when you are safe or not
So wear goggles for goodness sake.

Oh, you better not filter
And drink your filtrate
You better not be careless and spill your precipitate.
The Chemistry Teacher's coming to town.

2.  I'm Dreaming of a White Precipitate

I'm dreaming of a white precipitate
   just like the ones I used to make
Where the colors are vivid
   and the chemist is livid
      to see impurities in the snow.

I'm dreaming of a white precipitate
   with every chemistry test I write
May your equations be balanced and right
   and may all your reactions be bright.

3.  Silent Labs

Silent labs, difficult labs
All with math, all with graphs
Observations of colors and smells
Calculations and graph curves like bells
Memories of tests that have past
   Oh, how long will chemistry last?

Silent labs, difficult labs
All with math, all with graphs
Lots of equations that need balancing
Gas pressure problems that make my head ring
Santa Chlorine's on his way
   Oh, Please Santa bring me an 'A'.

4. Deck the Labs

Deck the labs with rubber tubing
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Use your funnel and your filter
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our goggles and aprons
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Before we go to our lab stations
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fill the beakers with solutions
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Mix solutions for reactions
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Watch we now for observations
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.
So we can collect our data
  Fa la la la la, la la la la.

5.  The Twelve Days of Chemistry

On the first day of chemistry
   My teacher gave to me
A candle from Chem Study.

(second day)   two asbestos pads
(third day)    three little beakers
(fourth day)   four work sheets
(fifth day)    five golden moles
(sixth day)    six flaming test tubes
(seventh day)  seven unknown samples
(eighth day)   eight homework problems
(ninth day)    nine grams of salt
(tenth day)    a ten page test
(eleventh day) eleven molecules
(twelfth day)  a twelve point quiz

6.  Test Tubes Bubbling
(to the tune of "Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire")

Test tubes bubbling in a water bath
    Strong smells nipping at ypur nose.
Tiny molecules with their atoms all aglow
    Will find it hard to be inert tonight.

They know that Chlorine's on its way
    He's loaded lots of little electrons on his sleigh
And every student's slide rule is on the sly
    To see if the teacher really can multiply.

And so I offer you this simple phrase
    To chemistry students in this room
Although it's been said many times, many ways
    Merry molecules to you.

7.  O Little Melting Particle
(to the tune of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem")

Para Dichloro Benzene
   how do you melt so well?
The plateau of your cooling curve
   is really something swell.
We think the heat of fusion
   of water is so nice
Give up fourteen hundred cals per mole
   and what you get is ice.

8.  We Wish You a Happy Halogen

We wish you a happy halogen
We wish you a happy halogen
We wish you a happy halogen
To react with a metal.

Good acid we bring
   to you and your base.
We wish you a merry molecule
   and a happy halogen.

9.  Chemistry Wonderland

Gases explode, are you listenin'
   In your rest tube, silver glistens
A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight
   Walking in a chemistry wonderland.

Gone away, is the buoyancy
   Here to stay, is the density
A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight
   Walking in a chemistry wonderland.

In the beaker we will make lead carbonate
   and decide if what's left is nitrate
My partner asks "Do we measure it in moles or grams?"
   and I'll say, "Does it matter in the end?"

Later on, as we calculate
   the amount, of our nitrate
We'll face unafraid, the precipitates that we made
   walking in a chemistry wonderland.

10.  I Saw Teacher Kissing Santa Chlorine

I saw teacher kissing Santa Chlorine
   under the chemistree last night
They didn't sneak me down the periodic chart
   to take a peek
At all the atoms reacting in their beakers;
   it was neat.

And I saw teacher kissing Santa Chlorine
   under the chemistree so bright
Oh what a reaction there would have been
   if the principal had walked in
With teacher kissing Santa Chlorine last night.

11.  O Come All Ye Gases

O Come all yea gases
   diatomic wonders
O come yea, o come yea
   calls Avogadro.

O come yea in moles
   6 x 10 to the 23rd
O molar mass and molecules
   O volume, pressure and temperature
O molar volume of gases at S.T.P.

12.  We Three Students Of Chemistry Are

We three students of chemistry are
   taking tests that we think are hard
Stoichiometry, volumes and densities
   worrying all the time.

O room of wonder
   room of fright
Room of thermites
   blinding light:
With your energies
   please don't burn us
Help us get our labs all right.

13.  Iron the Red Atom Molecule
(to the tune of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer")

There was Cobalt and Argon and Carbon and Fluorine
   Silver and Boron and Neon and Bromine
But do you recall
   the most famous element of all?

Iron the red atom molecule
   had a very shiny orbital
And if you ever saw him
   You'd enjoy his magnetic glow
All of the other molecules
   used to laugh and call him Ferrum
They never let poor Iron
   join in any reaction games.
Then one inert Chemistry eve
   Santa came to say
Iron with your orbital so bright
   won't you catalyze the reaction tonight?
Then how the atoms reacted
   and combined in twos and threes
Iron the red atom molecule
   you'll go down in Chemistry!

14. Lab Reports
(to the tune of "Jingle Bells")

Dashing through the lab
   with a tan page lab report
Taking all those tests
   and laughing at them all
Bells for fire drills ring
   making spirits bright
What fun it is to laugh and sing
   a chemistry song tonight.

Oh, lab report, lab reports,
   reacting all the way
Oh what fun it is to study
   for a chemistry test today, Hey!

Chemistry test, chemistry test
   isn't it a blast
Oh what fun it is to take
   a chemistry test and pass.

15.  Silver Nitrate
(to the tune of "Silver Bells")

Silver nitrate, silver nitrate
   it's chemistry time in the lab
Ding-a-ling, with a copper ring
   soon it will be chemistry day.

Take your nitrate, in solution
   Add your copper with style
In the beaker there's a feeling of reactions
   silver forming, blue solution
Bringing ooh's ah's and wows
   now the data procesing begins.

Get the mass, change to moles
   what is the ratio with copper?
Write an equation, balance it
   we're glad it's Chemistry Day.

Joachim Verhagen     		   Email:J.C.D.Verhagen@fys.ruu.nl
Department of molecular biofysics, University of Utrecht
Utrecht, The Netherlands.
0, unseen,,
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Problem: To Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert.
(Hunting lions in Africa was originally published as "A contribution
to the mathematical theory of big game hunting" in the American
Mathematical Monthly in 1938 by "H. Petard, of Princeton NJ" [actually
the late Ralph Boas].  It has been reprinted several times.

1. Mathematical Methods

1.1 The Hilbert (axiomatic) method

We place a locked cage onto a given point in the desert.  After that
we introduce the following logical system:
   Axiom 1: The set of lions in the Sahara is not empty.
   Axiom 2: If there exists a lion in the Sahara, then there exists a
            lion in the cage.
   Procedure: If P is a theorem, and if the following is holds:
              "P implies Q", then Q is a theorem.
   Theorem 1: There exists a lion in the cage.

1.2 The geometrical inversion method

We place a spherical cage in the desert, enter it and lock it from
Case 1: The lion is inside the cage. This case is trivial.
Case 2: The lion is outside the cage. We then perform an inversion 
with respect to the cage.  Then the lion is inside the cage, and we 
are outside.
Warning: With this method, it is important not to stand in the middle
of the cage, as one will disappear in the infinite.

1.3 The projective geometry method

Without loss of generality, we can view the desert as a plane surface.
We project the surface onto a line and afterwards the line onto an
interior point of the cage. Thereby the lion is mapped onto that same

1.4 The Bolzano-Weierstrass method

Divide the desert by a line running from north to south.  The lion is
then either in the eastern or in the western part.  Let's assume it is
in the eastern part.  Divide this part by a line running from east to
west.  The lion is either in the northern or in the southern part.
Let's assume it is in the northern part.  We can continue this process
arbitrarily and thereby constructing with each step an increasingly
narrow fence around the selected area.  The diameter of the chosen
partitions converges to zero so that the lion is caged into a fence of
arbitrarily small diameter.
Warning: With this method take care that the beautifull skin of the
lion is not damaged.

1.5 The set theoretical method

We observe that the desert is a separable space.  It therefore
contains an enumerable dense set of points which constitutes a
sequence with the lion as its limit. With a cage on our backs,
we jump from point to point of this sequence an so approach the lion
as near as we like.

1.6 The Peano method

In the usual way construct a curve containing every point in the
desert.  It has been proven [1] that such a curve can be traversed in
arbitrarily short time.  Now we traverse the curve, carrying a spear,
in a time less than what it takes the lion to move a distance equal to
its own length.

1.7 A topological method

We observe that the lion possesses the topological gender of a torus.
We embed the desert in a four dimensional space.  Then it is possible
to apply a deformation [2] of such a kind that the lion when returning
to the three dimensional space is all tied up in itself.  It is then
completely helpless.

1.8 The Cauchy method

We examine a lion-valued function f(z). Be \zeta the cage.  Consider
the integral

          1    [   f(z)
       ------- I --------- dz
       2 \pi i ] z - \zeta


where C represents the boundary of the desert.  Its value is f(zeta),
i.e. there is a lion in the cage [3].

1.9 The Wiener-Tauber method

We obtain a tame lion, L_0, from the class L(-\infinity,\infinity),
whose fourier transform vanishes nowhere.  We put this lion somewhere
in the desert.  L_0 then converges toward our cage.  According to the
general Wiener-Tauner theorem [4] every other lion L will converge
toward the same cage.  (Alternatively we can approximate L arbitrarily
close by translating L_0 through the desert [5].)

From: chohn@vub.ac.be (Ohn Christian)
1.10 The Mathematical Induction method

Consider, for each n, the following statement:
    P(n) : 'It is possible to catch n lions in the desert.'
Of course, P(n) is true for large enough n, because the lions are then
so tightly packed together that it is easy to catch them. But now,
P(n) implies P(n-1) ('cause if you catch some lions, you can always
release one of them). Hence, P(1) is true.

The Banachsche or iterative method
Let f be a contraction of the Sahara in it with contraction point x_0.
On this point we put the cage. By successive iteration W(n+1)= f(W(n)),
n=,1,2,..... (W(0)=Sahara) the Sahara will be contracted to X_0. In this
way the lion will get in the cage.

2 Theoretical Physics Methods

2.1 The Dirac method

We assert that wild lions can ipso facto not be observed in the Sahara
desert.  Therefore, if there are any lions at all in the desert, they
are tame.  We leave catching a tame lion as an exercise to the reader.

2.2 The Schroedinger method

At every instant there is a non-zero probability of the lion being in
the cage.  Sit and wait.

2.3 The Quantum Measurement Method

We assume that the sex of the lion is _ab initio_ indeterminate.  The
wave function for the lion is hence a superposition of the gender
eigenstate for a lion and that for a lioness.  We lay these eigenstates
out flat on the ground and orthogonal to each other.  Since the (male)
lion has a distinctive mane, the measurement of sex can safely be made
from a distance, using binoculars.  The lion then collapses into one of
the eigenstates, which is rolled up and placed inside the cage.

2.4 The nuclear physics method

Insert a tame lion into the cage and apply a Majorana exchange
operator [6] on it and a wild lion.

As a variant let us assume that we would like to catch (for argument's
sake) a male lion.  We insert a tame female lion into the cage and
apply the Heisenberg exchange operator [7], exchanging spins.

2.5 The Newton method

Cage and lion attract each other with the gravitation force. We neglect
the friction. This way the lion will arive sooner or later in the cage.

2.6 The Special relativistic method

One moves over the desert with light velocity. The relativistic length
contraction makes the lion flat as paper. One takes it, rolls it up and
puts a rubber band around the lion.

2.8 The general relativistic method

All over the desert we distribute lion bait containing large amounts
of the companion star of Sirius.  After enough of the bait has been
eaten we send a beam of light through the desert.  This will curl
around the lion so it gets all confused and can be approached without

2.9 The Heisenberg method

Position and Velocity from a moving lion can not be measure at the same
time. As moving lions have no physical meaningfull position in the desert,
one can not catch them. The lion hunt can therefore be limited to
resting lions. The catching of a resting, not moving lion is left as
an exercise for the reader.

3 Experimental Physics Methods

3.1 The thermodynamics method

We construct a semi-permeable membrane which lets everything but lions
pass through.  This we drag across the desert.

3.2 The atomic fission method

We irradiate the desert with slow neutrons.  The lion becomes
radioactive and starts to disintegrate. Once the disintegration
process is progressed far enough the lion will be unable to resist.

3.3 The magneto-optical method

We plant a large, lense shaped field with cat mint (nepeta cataria)
such that its axis is parallel to the direction of the horizontal
component of the earth's magnetic field.  We put the cage in one of the
field's foci . Throughout the desert we distribute large amounts of
magnetized spinach (spinacia oleracea) which has, as everybody knows,
a high iron content.  The spinach is eaten by vegetarian desert
inhabitants which in turn are eaten by the lions.  Afterwards the
lions are oriented parallel to the earth's magnetic field and the
resulting lion beam is focussed on the cage by the cat mint lense.

[1] After Hilbert, cf. E. W. Hobson, "The Theory of Functions of a Real
    Variable and the Theory of Fourier's Series" (1927), vol. 1, pp 456-457
[2] H. Seifert and W. Threlfall, "Lehrbuch der Topologie" (1934), pp 2-3
[3] According to the Picard theorem (W. F. Osgood, Lehrbuch der
    Funktionentheorie, vol 1 (1928), p 178) it is possible to catch every lion
    except for at most one.
[4] N. Wiener, "The Fourier Integral and Certain of its Applications" (1933),
    pp 73-74
[5] N. Wiener, ibid, p 89
[6] cf e.g. H. A. Bethe and R. F. Bacher, "Reviews of Modern Physics", 8
    (1936), pp 82-229, esp. pp 106-107
[7] ibid

4 Contributions from Computer Science.

4.1 The search method

We assume that the lion is most likely to be found in the direction to
the north of the point where we are standing.  Therefore the REAL
problem we have is that of speed, since we are only using a PC to
solve the problem.

4.2 The parallel search method.

By using parallelism we will be able to search in the direction to the
north much faster than earlier.

4.3 The Monte-Carlo method.

We pick a random number indexing the space we search.  By excluding
neighboring points in the search, we can drastically reduce the number
of points we need to consider.  The lion will according to probability
appear sooner or later.

4.4 The practical approach.

We see a rabbit very close to us.  Since it is already dead, it is
particularly easy to catch.  We therefore catch it and call it a lion.

4.5 The common language approach.

If only everyone used ADA/Common Lisp/Prolog, this problem would be
trivial to solve.

4.6 The standard approach.

We know what a Lion is from ISO 4711/X.123.  Since CCITT have specified
a Lion to be a particular option of a cat we will have to wait for a
harmonized standard to appear.  $20,000,000 have been funded for
initial investigations into this standard development.

4.7 Linear search.

Stand in the top left hand corner of the Sahara Desert.  Take one step
east.  Repeat until you have found the lion, or you reach the right
hand edge.  If you reach the right hand edge, take one step
southwards, and proceed towards the left hand edge.  When you finally
reach the lion, put it the cage.  If the lion should happen to eat you
before you manage to get it in the cage, press the reset button, and
try again.

4.8 The Dijkstra approach:

The way the problem reached me was: catch a wild lion in the Sahara
Desert. Another way of stating the problem is:

       Axiom 1: Sahara elem deserts
       Axiom 2: Lion elem Sahara
       Axiom 3: NOT(Lion elem cage)

We observe the following invariant:

       P1:     C(L) v not(C(L))

where C(L) means: the value of "L" is in the cage.

Establishing C initially is trivially accomplished with the statement

       ;cage := {}

Note 0:
This is easily implemented by opening the door to the cage and shaking
out any lions that happen to be there initially.
(End of note 0.)

The obvious program structure is then:

       ;do NOT (C(L)) ->
               ;"approach lion under invariance of P1"
               ;if P(L) ->
                       ;"insert lion in cage"
                [] not P(L) ->

where P(L) means: the value of L is within arm's reach.

Note 1:
Axiom 2 ensures that the loop terminates.
(End of note 1.)

Exercise 0:
Refine the step "Approach lion under invariance of P1".
(End of exercise 0.)

Note 2:
The program is robust in the sense that it will lead to
abortion if the value of L is "lioness".
(End of note 2.)

Remark 0: This may be a new sense of the word "robust" for you.
(End of remark 0.)

Note 3:

From observation we can see that the above program leads to the
desired goal. It goes without saying that we therefore do not have to
run it.
(End of note 3.)
(End of approach.)

For other articles, see also:

A Random Walk in Science - R.L. Weber and E. Mendoza
More Random Walks In Science - R.L. Weber and E. Mendoza
In Mathematical Circles (2 volumes) - Howard Eves
Mathematical Circles Revisited - Howard Eves
Mathematical Circles Squared - Howard Eves
Fantasia Mathematica - Clifton Fadiman
The Mathematical Magpi - Clifton Fadiman
Seven Years of Manifold - Jaworski
The Best of the Journal of Irreproducible Results - George H. Scheer
Mathematics Made Difficult - Linderholm
A Stress-Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown - Robert Baker
The Worm-Runners Digest
Knuth's April 1984 CACM article on The Space Complexity of Songs
Stolfi and ?? SIGACT article on Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis
From: mstueben@pen.k12.va.us (Michael A. Stueben) &
From: sm@wf-hh.sh.sub.de (Stefan Mohr)
   ASSIGNMENT: Obtain an elephant from Africa.

PHYSICIST: Starting on the west coast, he searches north-
to-south and south-to-north slowly moving east. He
inspects all gray animals keeping the first one that weighs
the same as a known adult elephant plus-or-minus 500 pounds.

MATHEMATICIAN: Starting in the center he moves in an
elliptical spiral (with major axis oriented north-to-south)
removing all non-elephants keeping whatever is left.

EXPERIENCED MATHEMATICAN: Same as unexperienced mathematican, except that
he first tries to proof there is at least one unabiguous elephant before
he starts with the search.

MATHEMATICS PROFESSOR: Same as experienced mathematican, except that he
leaves the actual searching and catching of the elephant to his students.

COMPUTER SCIENTIST: First he notes that there are two kinds
of elephants (African and Indian) and requests more
detailed specifications as to which elephant is desired
to be captured. Then he searches east-to-west and west-
to-east starting from the southern tip and moving north.
He stops only when encountering and capturing an animal
whose description matches the American Zoological
Society's classification of the type of elephant he is

computer scientist, except that he places a known
elephant in Cairo to guarantee that the algorithm
( The way I teach the insertion sort is to first locate
the smallest element and then to swap it into first place.
Why? So that the insertion algorithm must terminate before
reaching the non-existent zeroth position. I like to tell
this joke just before I teach the insertion sort. -Michael A. Stueben)

ASSEMBLER PROGRAMMER: Same as experienced computer scientist, except
that he prefers to do it on his hand and knees.

SQL PROGRAMMER: Uses the following expression: SELECT elephant FROM Africa.

ECONOMIST: He hunts no elephants, but believes that the elephants would
deliver themselves if payed enough.

STATISTICAN: hunts the first animal he sees n times and calls it elephant.

ECONOMICAL ADVISER: He hunts no elephants and has never hunted anything at
all. You can hire them by the hour to give good advice.

SYSTEM ANALYSER: Is theoretically capable of calculating the the correlation
between hat size and hit quote, if somebody would tell them what an
elephant is.
A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it.
An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who
made it.
If it moves it is biology, if it stinks it is chemistry and if it does not
work it is physics.
From: labonnes@csc.albany.edu (S. LaBonne)
POSITIVE, adj.  Mistaken at the top of one's voice.  -Bierce

--------------------------------units and dimensions-------------
2 monograms                                             1 diagram
8 nickles                                               2 paradigms
2 wharves                                               1 paradox

10E5 bicycles                                           2 megacycles

1 unit of suspense in an Agatha Christie novel          1 whod unit

fbecker@dtic.dla.mil (Francoise Becker) writes:
10**12 microphones = 1 megaphone
3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
10**21 picolos = 1 gigolo
1 milli-Helen = the amount of beauty required to launch 1 ship

From: weitzen@temp10.physics.uiuc.edu (Scott Weitzenhoffer)
2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds = 10 meal-units in Italy

WIPE-METHOD: One wipes the blackboard, immediately after writing. (write
to the right, wipe to the left.)
METHOD OF EXACT DESCRIPTION: Let p be a point q, that we will call r.
PREHISTORIC METHOD: Somebody has once proven this.
AUTHORITY BELIEVE METHOD: That must be right. It stands in Forster.
AUTHORITY CRITICAL METHOD: That must be wrong. It stands in Jaenich.
COGNITION PHILOSOPHY, METHOD 1: I recognized the problem!
COGNITION PHILOSOPHY, METHOD 2: I believe, I recognized the probelm!
PACIFISTIC METHOD: Thus, before we fight about it, let's just believe it
COMMUNICATIVE METHOD: Does anybody of you know it?
KAPITALISTIC METHOD: The profit is maximal, if we do not proof anything,
because that costs the leasts pieces of chalk.
COMMUNISTIC METHOD: We proof it together. Everybody writes a line and the
result is government property.
NUMERICAL METHOD: Roughly rounded, it is correct.
SMART GUYS METHOD: We do not proof that now. Anyway, it is to complicated
for the physicists.
TIMELESS METHOD: We proof so long till nobody knows wether the proof is
ended or not.
From: tsvetova@femto.cs.umn.edu (Maksim B. Tsvetovatyy)
In a high-level math class a prof gave a final with one question:
"Write a suitable final exam for this class (also supply a key)". 
A student simply repeated the question and added "If this final exam is good
anough for prof. , it's good enough for me"
"Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same
thing as division."
From:BRIAN6@VAXC.MDX.AC.UK (who has a lightbulb collection)
Q:  How many scientists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  None. They use them as controls in double blind trials.

Q:  How many academics does it take to change a lightbulb ?
A:  None. That's what research students are for.
A:  Five: One to write the grant proposal, one to do the mathematical
    modelling, one to type the research paper, one to submit the paper for
    publishing, and one to hire a student to do the work.

Q:  How many academics does it take to change a lightbulb ?
A:  None. That's what research students are for.
A:  Five: One to write the grant proposal, one to do the mathematical
    modelling, one to type the research paper, one to submit the paper for
    publishing, and one to hire a student to do the work.
Q:  How many laboratory heads (senior researchers, etc.) does it take to
    change a lightbulb?
A:  Five; one to change the lightbulb, the other four to stand around
    arguing whether he/she is taking the right approach.

Q:  How many research technicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A:  One, but it'll probably take him/her three or four tries to get it right.

Q:  How many post-doctoral fellows does it take to change a lightbulb?
A:  One, but it'll probably take three or four tries to get it right because
    he/she will probably give it to the technician to do.

Q:  How many graduate students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A:  Only one, but it may take upwards of five years for him to get it done.
A:  It all depends on the size of the grant.
A:  Two and a professor to take credit.
A:  1/100. A graduate student needs to change 100 lightbulbs a day.
A:  I don't know, but make my stipend tax-free, give my advisor a
    $100,000 grant of the taxpayer's money, and I'm sure he can tell me
    how to do the work for him so he can take the credit for answering this 
    incredibly vital question.
From: Chris Morton  (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Scientists do it experimentally.
Scientists do it with plenty of research.
Scientists discovered it.
Graduates do it by degrees.
Professors do it by the book.
Professors do it with class.
Professors forget to do it.
Research professors do it only if they get grants.
Researchers are still looking for it.
Researchers do it with control.
Q:  How many company biotechnologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Four; one to write the proposal, one to design the bulb-changer, one to 
    design the bulb-fetcher, and one to design the bulb.
Q:  How many freelance biotechnologists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  One; he designs the bulb to crawl up the wall, unscrew the old one and 
    screw itself in.
Q:  How many evolutionists does it take to change a light bulb?
A:  Only one, but it takes eight million years.
From: Chris Morton   (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Biologists do it with clones.
Molecular biologists do it with hot probes.
Zoologists do it with animals.
Genetists do it with sick genes.
From: Chris Morton   (mortoncp@nextwork.rose-hulman.edu) do it collection
Geographers do it globally.
Geologists are great explorers.
Geologists do it eruptively, with glow, and always smoke afterwards.
Geologists do it in folded beds.
Geologists do it to get their rocks off.
Geologists know how to make the bedrock.
Do molecular biologists wear designer genes?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Darwin:  It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.
Rene Descartes:  It had sufficient reason to believe it was dreaming anyway.
From: David Smillie:
A little neurological put down:
You've only got two neurons--and one of them's inhibitory.
Drew's Law of Highway Biology:
The first bug to hit a clean windshield lands directly in front
of your eyes.
Enzymes are things invented by biologists that explain things which
otherwise require harder thinking. -- Jerome Lettvin
From: lozinski@netcom.com (Joe Cool)


Artery------------------------The study of fine paintings.
Barium------------------------What you do when CPR fails.
Cesarean Section--------------A district in Rome.
Colic-------------------------A sheep dog.
Coma--------------------------A punctuation mark.
Dilate------------------------To live long.
GI Series---------------------Baseball game between teams of soldiers.
Grippe------------------------A suitcase.
Hangnail----------------------A coat hook.
Medical staff-----------------A doctor's cane.
Minor operation---------------Coal digging.
Morbid------------------------A higher offer.
Nitrate-----------------------Lower than the day rate.
Node--------------------------Was aware of.
Organic-----------------------Church musician.
Outpatient--------------------Person who has fainted.
Post-operative----------------A letter carrier.
Protein-----------------------In favor of young people.
Secretion---------------------Hiding anything.
Serology----------------------Study of English knighthood.
Tablet-------------------------A small table.
Tumor-------------------------An extra pair.
Urine-------------------------Opposite of you're out.
Varicose veins----------------Veins which are very close together.
Benign------------------------What you be after you be eight.
Fourth Law of Applied Terror:
	The night before the English History mid-term, your Biology
instructor will assign 200 pages on planaria.

	Every instructor assumes that you have nothing else to do
except study for that instructor's course.
Proof that Achilles cannot overtake a tortoise which has a lead.
By the time that Achilles has reached the tortoise's point of departure
the tortoise has retreated. Achilles then has to cover that extra distance
but finds the tortoise has retreated farther. He covers that only to find
that the tortoise is not there. And so on and so forth. So Achilles never
reaches the tortoise.
From: jcf@world.std.com (Joseph C Fineman)
According to the late R. P. Feynman, an easy rule for telling which
was is up is the following: point the index finger of your right hand
in the direction of motion of the bus, and the thumb in the direction
of motion of exiting passengers.  The middle finger will point *up*.

In Britain, use the left hand.
From: c1prasad@watson.ibm.com (prasad)
"That must be wonderful!  I don't understand it at all."
From: RVFT60@email.sps.mot.com (Mike Scott)
The chief of a poor American Indian tribe .. no paved roads, no
electricity, no indoor plumbing .. scrimped and saved and finally was
able to send his eldest son to college.  The lad did well, working hard
for four years and finally graduating with a bachelor's degree in
electrical engineering.
Arriving home after graduation, the boy was treated to a welcoming
party, complete with plenty of refreshments.  Shortly after he retired
to sleep, the son was awakened by a call of nature.  Exiting the hut,
he proceeded down the road to the outhouse, only to stumble and fall
because of the lack of lights.
The next day, the son decided to put his education to work.  He sat
down, did the calculations, and prepared construction drawings for a
lighting system for the outhouse, complete with lights for the path
leading thereto.  It was constructed and was an immediate success.
This chief's son will go down in history as the first indian to wire a
head for a reservation.

From: oxton@skopen.dseg.ti.com (Gail Oxton)
Even earlier in history, the introduction of electricity to English
castles produced the first knight lights.

From: dhawkins@meaddata.com (Dan Hawkins)
As I recall that job was done by Sir Bud of Light.
     It may be that human life is "the galaxy's way of evolving
a brain."  This will come as a surprise to pessimists who, contemplating
humankind's destructive tendencies, may be wondering if life isn't the
galaxy's way of eliminating certain planets.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not
sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
When skating on thin ice, allow others to take the lead. There is no
disgrace in learning from others, particularly when doing so avoids putting
yourself in jeopardy.
The upgrade path to the most powerful and satisfying computer:

    * Pocket calculator

    * Commodore Pet / Apple II / TRS 80 / Commodore 64 / Timex Sinclair
      (Choose any of the above)

    * IBM PC

    * Apple Macintosh

    * Fastest workstation of the time (HP, DEC, IBM, SGI: your choice)

    * Minicomputer (HP, DEC, IBM, SGI: your choice)

    * Mainframe (IBM, Cray, DEC: your choice)

And then you reach the pinnacle of modern computing facilities:

*******     G R A D U A T E   S T U D E N T S    ********

Yes, you just sit back and do all of your computing through lowly
graduate students.  Imagine the advantages:

    * Multi-processing, with as many processes as you have
      students.  You can easily add more power by promising more
      desperate undergrads that they can indeed escape college
      through your guidance.  Special student units can even
      handle several tasks *on*their*own*!

    * Full voice recognition interface.  Never touch a keyboard or
      mouse again.  Just mumble commands and they *will* be
      understood (or else!).

    * No hardware upgrades and no installation required.  Every
      student comes complete with all hardware necessary.  Never
      again fry a chip or $10,000 board by improper installation!
      Just sit that sniveling student at a desk, give it writing
      utensils (making sure to point out which is the dangerous
      end) and off it goes.

    * Low maintenance.  Remember when that hard disk crashed in
      your Beta 9900, causing all of your work to go the great bit
      bucket in the sky?  This won't happen with grad. students.
      All that is required is that you give them a good *whack!*
      upside the head when they are acting up, and they will run
      good as new.

    * Abuse module.  Imagine yelling expletives at your computer.
      Doesn't work too well, because your machine just sits there
      and ignores you.  Through the grad student abuse module you
      can put the fear of god in them, and get results to boot!

    * Built-in lifetime.  Remember that awful feeling two years
      after you bought your GigaPlutz mainframe when the new
      faculty member on the block sneered at you because his
      FeelyWup workstation could compute rings around your
      dinosaur?  This doesn't happen with grad. students.  When
      they start wearing and losing productivity, simply give them
      the PhD and boot them out onto the street to fend for
      themselves.  Out of sight, out of mind!

    * Cheap fuel: students run on Coca Cola (or the high-octane
      equivalent -- Jolt Cola) and typically consume hot spicy
      chinese dishes, cheap taco substitutes, or completely
      synthetic macaroni replacements.  It is entirely unnecessary
      to plug the student into the wall socket (although this does
      get them going a little faster from time to time).

    * Expansion options.  If your grad. students don't seem to be
      performing too well, consider adding a handy system manager
      or software engineer upgrade.  These guys are guaranteed to
      require even less than a student, and typically establish
      permanent residence in the computer room.  You'll never know
      they are around!  (Which you certainly can't say for an
      AXZ3000-69 150gigahertz space-heater sitting on your desk
      with its ten noisy fans....)  [Note however that the
      engineering department still hasn't worked out some of the
      idiosyncratic bugs in these expansion options, such as
      incessant muttering at nobody in particular, occasionaly
      screaming at your grad. students, and posting ridiculous
      messages on world-wide bulletin boards.]

So forget your Babbage Engines and abacuses (abaci?) and PortaBooks
and DEK 666-3D's and all that other silicon garbage.  The wave of the
future is in wetware, so invest in graduate students today!  You'll never
go back!
     Why is the number 10 afraid of seven?
                  -- because seven ate nine.
Three mathematicians and a physicist walk into a bar.
You'd think the second one would have ducked.  (Ha, that quack's me up!)
"The world is everywhere dense with idiots."                - LFS
From: north@hgl.signaal.nl (S.North)
In a forest a fox bumps into a little rabbit, and says, "Hi, junior, what
are you up to?"

"I'm writing a dissertation on how rabbits eat foxes," said the rabbit.

"Come now, friend rabbit, you know that's impossible!"

"Well, follow me and I'll show you."

They both go into the rabbit's dwelling and after a while the rabbit emerges
with a satisfied expression on his face.

Along comes a wolf.  "Hello, what are we doing these days?"

"I'm writing the second chapter of my thesis, on how rabbits devour wolves."

"Are you crazy?  Where is your academic honesty?"

"Come with me and I'll show you." ......

As before, the rabbit comes out with a satisfied look on his face
and this time he has a diploma in his paw.

The camera pans back and into the rabbit's cave and, as everybody should
have guessed by now, we see an enourmous  mean-looking lion sitting next
to the bloody and furry remains of the wolf and the fox.

The moral of this story is:

It's not the contents of your thesis that are important --
it's your PhD advisor that counts.
From: mnsotn@picard.cs.wisc.edu (Christopher Bovitz)
132 THINGS (NOT) TO DO AT OR FOR YOUR THESIS DEFENSE (in no particular order)

Written by Peter Dutton, Jim Lalopoulos, Alison Berube, and Jeff Cohen,
        grad students extrordiannaire (#1 - 101).
        Appended by Chris Bovitz, grad student grandioso (#102-131).
        (#132 from Mary C. Liles).

  1) "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our National
  2) Charge 25 cents a cup for coffee.
  3) "Charge the mound" when a professor beans you with a high fast question.
  4) Interpretive dance.
  5) "Musical accompaniment provided by..."
  6) Stage your own death/suicide.
  7) Lead the specators in a Wave.
  8) Have a sing-a-long.
  9) "You call THAT a question? How the hell did they make you a professor?"
 10) "Ladies and Gentlemen, as I dim the lights, please hold hands and
         concentrate so that we may channel the spirit of Lord Kelvin..."
 11) Have bodyguards outside the room to "discourage" certain professors
         from sitting in.
 12) Puppet show.
 13) Group prayer.
 14) Animal sacrifice to the god of the Underworld.
 15) Sell T-shirts to recoup the cost of copying, binding, etc.
 16) "I'm sorry, I can't hear you - there's a banana in my ear!"
 17) Imitate Groucho Marx.
 18) Mime.
 19) Hold a Tupperware party.
 20) Have a bikini-clad model be in charge of changing the overheads.
 21) "Everybody rhumba!!"
 22) "And it would have worked if it weren't for those meddling kids..."
 23) Charge a cover and check for ID.
 24) "In protest of our government's systematic and brutal oppression of
 25) "Anybody else as drunk as I am?"
 26) Smoke machines, dramatic lighting, pyrotechnics...
 27) Use a Super Soaker to point at people.
 28) Surreptitioulsy fill the room with laughing gas.
 29) Door prizes and a raffle.
 30) "Please phrase your question in the form of an answer..."
 31) "And now, a word from our sponsor..."
 32) Present your entire talk in iambic pentameter.
 33) Whine piteously, beg, cry...
 34) Switch halfway through your talk to Pig Latin. Or Finnish Pig Latin.
 35) The Emperor's New Slides ("only fools can't see the writing...")
 36) Table dance (you or an exotic dancer).
 37) Fashion show.
 38) "Yo, a smooth shout out to my homies..."
 39) "I'd like to thank the Academy..."
 40) Minstrel show (blackface, etc.).
 41) Previews, cartoons, and the Jimmy Fund.
 42) Pass the collection basket.
 43) Two-drink minimum.
 44) Black tie only.
 45) "Which reminds me of a story - A Black guy, a Chinese guy, and a
         Jew walked into a bar..."
 46) Incite a revolt.
 47) Hire the Goodyear Blimp to circle the building.
 48) Release a flock of doves.
 49) Defense by proxy.
 50) "And now a reading from the Book of Mormon..."
 51) Leave Jehovah's Witness pamphlets scattered about.
 52) "There will be a short quiz after my presentation..."
 53) "Professor Robinson, will you marry me?"
 54) Bring your pet boa.
 55) Tell ghost stories.
 56) Do a "show and tell".
 57) Food fight.
 58) Challenge a professor to a duel. Slapping him with a glove is optional.
 59) Halftime show.
 60) "Duck, duck, duck, duck... GOOSE!"
 61) "OK - which one of you farted?"
 62) Rimshot.
 63) Sell those big foam "We're number #1 (sic)" hands.
 64) Pass out souvenier matchbooks.
 65) 3-ring defense.
 66) "Tag - you're it!"
 67) Circulate a vicious rumor that the Dead will be opening, making sure that
         it gets on the radio stations, and escape during all the commotion.
 68) Post signs: "Due to a computer error at the Registrar's Office, the
         original room is not available, and the defense has been relocated to
         (Made-up non-existent room number)"
 69) Hang a pinata over the table and have a strolling mariachi band.
 70) Make each professor remove an item of clothing for each question he asks.
 71) Rent a billboard on the highway proclaiming "Thanks for passing me
         Professors X,Y, and Z" - BEFORE your defense happens.
 72) Have a make-your-own-sundae table.
 73) Make committee members wear silly hats.
 74) Simulate your experiment with a virtual reality system for the
 75) Do a soft-shoe routine.
 76) Throw a masquerade defense, complete with bobbing for apples and
 77) Use a Greek Chorus to highlight important points.
 78) "The responsorial psalm can be found on page 124 of the thesis..."
 79) Tap dance.
 80) Vaudeville.
 81) "I'm sorry Professor Smith, I didn't say 'SIMON SAYS any questions?'.
         You're out."
 82) Flex and show off those massive pecs.
 83) Dress in top hat and tails.
 84) Hold a pre-defense pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, pep band, and
         a bonfire.
 85) Detonate a small nuclear device in the room. Or threaten to.
 86) Shadow puppets.
 87) Show slides of your last vacation.
 88) Put your overheads on a film strip. Designate a professor to be in
         charge of turning the strip when the tape recording beeps.
 89) Same as #88, but instead of a tape recorder, go around the room
         making a different person read the pre-written text for each picture.
 90) "OK, everybody - heads down on the desk until you show me you can behave."
 91) Call your advisor "sweetie".
 92) Have everyone pose for a group photo.
 93) Instant replay.
 94) Laugh maniacally.
 95) Talk with your mouth full.
 96) Start speaking in tongues.
 97) Explode.
 98) Implode.
 99) Spontaneously combust.
100) Answer every question with a question.
101) Moon everyone in the room after you are done.
102) Rearrange the chairs into a peace symbol.
103) Refer to yourself in the third person, like Julius Caesar did.
104) Mention your professor as "my helper."
105) Say that you'd like to thank a few people.  Pull out the White Pages.
         Start reading.
106) Advertise it as "pot luck".
107) Talk in Klingonese.
108) Dress like your favorite character from "Star Trek".
109) Ask imaginary helpers to change transparencies; fly off the handle
         when they don't.
110) Wear a trenchcoat.  And nothing else.
111) Dress in a Wild West style.
112) Go dressed in scuba gear.  Use the oxygen tank.
113) Preface with the story of your life.
114) Wear a swimsuit from the opposite sex:  man - wear a bikini, woman -
         wear trunks.
115) Have bodyguards on your sides as you talk.  The bigger, the better.
         Have a questioner thrown out "as an example."
116) Have someone wheel in a big cake with you in it.  Jump out and begin.
117) Perform your defense as a Greek tragedy, kill yourself offstage when
         you're done.
118) Half way through, break down.  Go to your professor, curl up on his or her
         lap and call him or her "Mommy".  Suck your thumb.
119) Suddenly develop Turret's Syndrome.
120) Suddenly develop the China Syndrome.
121) "This defense has been sponsored by the fine people at (your favorite
122) Secede from the U.S.  Give yourself political asylum.
123) Talk in Canadianese - add an "eh" after every sentence.
124) When a professor asks you a question, argue with your imaginary twin
         over the final answer.
125) Videotape it ahead of time, and get someone set it up to show.  Come in
         the back and sit there.  When your tape is done, ask for questions.
         In person.
126) Have every person pick a "CB" handle.  Enforce their usage.  Talk in
         CB lingo.  End every statement with "good buddy."  End every question
         with "over."
127) Provide party favors.  Noisy ones.
128) Frequently ask if anyone has to go to the potty.
129) Mention that you have to hurry because "Hard Copy" is on in 15 minutes.
130) Dress like your school mascot.
131) Urge your committee that if they like your defense enough to tell two
       friends, and then they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on...
132) Show up in drag accompanied by the Drag Queens you met at last night's
	 performance and proclaim your thesis presentation will instead 
	 discuss: "Blue Eyeshadow: Our Friend Or Foe?"
From: smitch@alcor.concordia.ca (Sidney N. Mitchell)
132) Plead the fifth ammendment if you can't answer a question.
133) Keep your back to the committee during the presentation and
      defense phases.
134) Answer only questions that begin with sir and end with sir. (tell
       your committe this beforehand).
135) Limit the number of questions that you will allow, and then when
      the limit is almost reached, go into aerobics terminology...
      four more...three more...two more..and...rest.
136) Ignore the committee and say "I think that young man/lady at the back
      has a question".
137) Have your parents call your committee members repeatedly the week 
      before your defense to tell them how expensive it is putting a
      child through graduate school etc.
138) At the defense, have your parents sit directly behind your committee.
139) Burp, pass gas, scratch (anywhere repeatedly), and pick your nose.
From: nelsonbe@ucsu.Colorado.EDU (NELSON  BRIAN EDWARD)
10.  Why not?
 9.  They are user friendly
 8.  No need to call a handy man
 7.  Learn how to use the other buttons on your calculator
 6.  Homework help without the guilt
 5.  They will make lots of money
 4.  Not all of them wear dark blue jeans
 3.  They know how to push the right buttons
 2.  They understand heat-transfer
 1.  They are used to pulling all nighters
                    THE SECOND BOOK OF VECTOR

        There dwelt  in the  land of  Brit certain  high priests who
   served in  the temples of Elektron, which is an invisible god who
   darteth around  in ever-decreasing circles but never into his own
   nucleus.  And the priests of Elektron were devout men, serving no
   other god  but he.  And Elektron looked with favour upon them and
   rewarded them  each according  to his  worth with  divers strange
   gifts.   To some  he gave  power to converse with those from afar
   off and  to others  he brought  visions of  strange happenings in
   distant lands;  yeah,  even  of  the  United  States  cavalry  in
   glorious Technicolor.

        And to  certain other  of his  high  priests  Elektron  gave
   powers of  levitation, so  that they walked with their feet ever-
   so-slightly off  the ground; these dwelt in glass temples called,
   in the  native tongue, Researchlabs or Funnifarms, which were set
   apart from  the common people and to which entrance was denied to
   all, saving  only those  having scrips  of authority  from  their
   chief priest.  And these priests were called by the common people
   Egbonces which  meaneth he  who knoweth  the square root of minus
   one.  And the Egbonces were cunning at fashioning curious devices
   from boot-latchets  and wax  so that the populace were astonished
   and continually  cried  out,  saying,  behold,  these  are  great
   wonders but of what use be they?

        Yet other  high priests  of Elektron  were followers  of the
   prophet Babbage  and these  were set  in  authority  over  divers
   machines that  brought much  benefit to  the common  people; some
   computed the  numbers of  the tribes  and the taxes that each man
   should  pay;   others  controlled  the  paycheks  of  these  that
   laboured, so  that each  man received  less than  his hire, while
   others suggested  that the  inter-city  chariots  were  tardy  in
   arrival.   And Elektron  taught the  high  priests  to  feed  the
   engines with  curious symbols  engraven upon  tablets  that  they
   might print  out likenesses  of the  sex-goddess Bardot devoid of
   her apparel,  which gave satisfaction to many.  And these priests
   likewise withdrew  the hems  of their  garments from  the  common
   populace and,  by conversing  in the alien tongues of Fortran and
   Algol, preserved their mysteries jealously.

        At this  time the  skies were  filled with  heavier-than-air
   machines of many nations which flew with the noise of emasculated
   hornets and carried the peoples to and fro, even unto the ends of
   the earth.   These  machines were  under the  auspices of the god
   Hijak.   And certain  of the nations had air machines which could
   drop unpleasantness on the land beneath to discomfort the people;
   but certain  other nations who were poor and backward and, as the
   saying goeth, not with it, did not possess these amenities.  Thus
   it came  to pass  that  the  acquisition  of  such  machines  was
   regarded by all as an outward and visible sign that the possessor
   nation was  emerging from  savage practices  and  an  example  to

        And certain  rich merchants searched diligently and redeemed
   many heavier-than-air  machines; some  from the  knocker's  yard;
   some which  fell from  the back of an hangar and yet others which
   were dislodged  privily  from  the  Science  Museum.    And  they
   purposed to  sell these  to the  heathen for many shekels of gold
   and at  great profit.  So it came to pass that the merchants sent
   envoys to a far country, even to the kingdom of Tsetse-Tsetse.

        And the  envoys said  unto the king of Tsetse-Tsetse, O king
   live for  ever but  put not  thy money  upon it.   And  the  king
   answered saying,  What meanest  thou?   Then did the envoys reply
   saying, Surely thou knowest that they neighbour the king of Beri-
   Beri hath cast covetous eyes upon thy lands and they maidens?  If
   only thou  hadst an  Air Force  it would cause thine adversary to
   wind his  neck in.   Then did the king beat his breast crying, Wo
   is me!   And  the envoys made reply saying Not so, O king, for it
   so happeneth  that we  can supply thee with a squadron of Bleriot
   Mk.Is.   And thus it came to pass the king bought from the envoys
   for much  fine gold  and slept  peacefully with  his  wives  that

        Then did the envoys depart and journeyed to the neighbouring
   land that  is called  Beri-Beri.   And they  said to  the king of
   Beri-Beri, O  king live for ever but begin not the reading of any
   long novels.  And the king said What meanest thou?  Whereupon the
   envoys replied  saying, Knowest  thou not that they neighbour the
   king of  Tsetse-Tsetse  hath  secretly  purchased  war-birds  and
   purposeth to  ravage thy  country?  At this the king went as pale
   as was  possible and  the end  of the  matter was  that he became
   Commodore of a squadron of Cabbage White Mk. VIIs.

        And it  came to pass that in Brit the god Elektron gave unto
   his high  priests the  power to  fashion magick bowls which could
   divine the  presence and  movements of  heavier-than-air machines
   even at  great distances.  Yeah, and not only this, for by gazing
   into the  bowl, vessels  having their  business in  great  waters
   could be  made to  broach each other with greater certainty.  And
   on land its magick powers enabled the Fuzz to put the finger upon
   all charioteers  who, like  their forbear  Jehu, drove furiously.
   And  the  name  of  this  new  wonder  was  radar,  which,  being
   translated, meaneth that which worketh by suction and mirrors.

        And the  rich merchants  came unto the high priests of radar
   and said  unto them.   Lo, we have heard much of the wonders that
   they god  Elektron hath taught thee and it seemeth that we can do
   a deal  with profit  to all.   Make for us great numbers of these
   magick bowls,  we pray thee, that we may sell them to the nations
   for their  greater safety.   Do  this and  we will  pay thee many
   shekels of  gold; moreover,  we will pull down thy temples to the
   greater glory  of Elektron,  wherein  thou  shalt  find  all  the
   instruments that they heart desirest.  And we will clothe thee in
   white raiment and give thee charge over many.  What sayest thou?

         And  the high  priest conferred  privily and  agreed  among
   themselves that they were on to a good thing.  So it came to pass
   that the  merchants caused mighty temples to be built wherein the
   god Elektron might be served, both by day and night; and the high
   priests, for  their part,  devised magick bowls with ever greater
   cunning and these the merchants sold to whoever was in the market
   place.   Thus it  came about  that both the king of Tsetse-Tsetse
   and the  king of Beri-Beri were persuaded to buy the magick bowls
   with which to keep vigil each upon the other.  Yeah, both primary
   and secondary radar had they in plenty and certain inhabitants of
   the two  countries  were  trained  to  interpret  the  signs  and
   portents which  appeared upon  these bowls  whenever an  heavier-
   than-air machine was drawing nigh.

        And behold,  it came to pass that upon a certain night there
   was a  watchman in  the  kingdom  of  Tsetse-Tsetse  who  was  an
   exceeding dim  lamp; moreover,  when interpreting  the symbols on
   the magick  bowl, he was, as the saying is, unable to tell Squawk
   from Clutter.   And this watchman, fearful of what he supposed he
   saw upon  the face  of the  bowl, said  unto himself The enemy is
   upon us,  and thereupon  smote the  Panick Button.   Hereupon the
   Bleriot Mk.Is  rose (all  excepting  one  which  had  broken  its
   elastick band)  and brought  destruction to  the sleeping land of
   Beri-Beri.   But the  Cabbage Whites,  being forewarned  by their
   magick bowls,  were  already  riding  the  heavens  and  bringing
   affliction  upon   their  neighbours.    And,  by  morning,  both
   countries were bathed in blood.

        And in  the temples  of Elektron  there was great commotion,
   for the hot lines were glowing red and the artificial moons which
   the high  priests had  raised  were  overburdened  with  coloured
   images of  the slaughter,  for  the  delectation  of  the  common
   people.  And when all was accomplished, overseers from the United
   Nations came  and wagged  their heads and voted Tsetse-Tsetse and
   Beri-Beri  into   their  assemblies   in  recognition   of  their
From: johnston@mhc.uiuc.edu (SJANNA JOHNSTON)
Biology exam: Create life . Justify your answer.
From: ted_swift@qm.sri.com (Ted Swift)
"Bring me into the company of those who seek the truth,
 and deliver me from those who have found it."
From: sjt@xun8.sr.bham.ac.uk (James Tappin)
"If all else fails--read the instructions!"
From: peekstok@u.washington.edu (Anna Peekstok)
                         PROBLEM SOLVING
                          P R O C E S S

            YES   =============================   NO
     +-----------|| Does the Darn Thing work? ||-----------+
     |            =============================            |
     V                                                     V
+----------+     +---------+                          +---------+
|   Don't  |  NO |   Does  |       +-------+     YES  | Did you |
|   mess   | +---|  anyone |<------|  YOU  |<---------|   mess  |
| with it! | |   |  know?  |       | MORON |          | with it |
+----------+ |   +---------+       +-------+          +---------+
     |       V        | YES                                |  NO
     |    +------+    +-----------+                        |
     |    | HIDE |                V                        V
     |    |  IT  |            +--------+             +-----------+
     |    +------+            |  YOU   |        YES  | WILL THEY |
     |       |       +------->|  POOR  |<------------| CATCH YOU?|
     |       |       |        |BASTARD!|             +-----------+
     |       |       |        |________|                   |  NO
     |       |       |             |                       |
     |       |       |             V                       V
     |       |       |      +---------------+        +-----------+
     |       |       |  NO  | CAN YOU BLAME |        |DESTROY THE|
     |       |       +------| SOMEONE ELSE? |        |  EVIDENCE |
     |       |              +---------------+        +-----------+
     |       |                     |  YES                  |
     |       |                     v                       |
     |       |      ============================           |
     |       +---->||           N O            ||<---------+
     +------------>||      P R O B L E M       ||

                         MURPHY'S LAWS

THE PRIME AXIOM:     In any field of scientific endeavor, anything that
                     can go wrong, will.

 2.   If the possibility exists of several things going wrong, the one that
      will go wrong is the one that will do the most damage.
 3.   Everything will go wrong at one time.
      3.1  That time is always when you least expect it.
 4.   If nothing can go wrong, something will.
 5.   Nothing is as easy as it looks.
 6.   Everything takes longer than you think.
 7.   Left to themselves, things always go from bad to worse.
 8.   Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
 9.   Given the most inappropriate time for something to go wrong, that's
      when it will occur.
 10.  Mother Nature is a bitch.
      10.1  The universe is not indifferent to intelligence, it is actively
            hostile to it.
 11.  If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked
 12.  If in any problem you find yourself doing an immense amount of work,
      the answer can be obtained by simple inspection.
 13.  Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to
      make it complex and wonderful.
 14.  If it doesn't fit, use a bigger hammer.
 15.  In an instrument or device characterized by a number of plus-or-minus
      errors, the total error will be the sum of all the errors adding in
      the same direction.
 16.  In any given calculation, the fault will never be placed if more than
      one person is involved.
      16.1  In any given discovery, the credit will never be properly placed
            if more than one person is involved.
 17.  All warranty and guarantee clauses become invalid upon payment of the
      final invoice.
                     GLASSER'S COROLLARY

     If, of the seven hours you spend at work, six hours and fifty-five
     minutes are spent working at your desk, and the rest of the time
     you throw the bull with  your  cubicle-mate,  the time  at which
     your supervisor will walk in and ask what  you're  doing  can be
     determined to within five minutes.
                      When it rains, it pours.
                     JENKINSON'S LAW
                        It won't work.
                   Murphy was an optimist.

                     LAWS RELATING TO DESIGN:
 1.   In any given price estimate, the cost of the equipment will exceed
      estimated expenditure by a factor of 3.
 2.   Dimensions will always be expressed in the least useable terms.  For
      example, velocity will be expressed in furlongs/fortnight.
 3.   If the breadbox trial model functions perfectly, the finished product
      will not percolate.
 4.   In a mathematical calculation, any error that can creep in, will.  It
      will be in the  direction  that  will  do  the  most  damage to
      the calculation.
 5.   In any collection of data, the figures that are obviously correct,
      beyond all need of checking, contain the errors.
 6.   The probability of a dimension or value being omitted from a drawing
      is directly proportional to its importance.
 7.   In specifications, Murphy's Law supersedes Ohm's.
 8.   Information necessitating a change in design will be conveyed to the
      designer after, and only after, the plans are complete.
 9.   In simple cases, presenting one obvious  right way  vs.  one obvious
      wrong way, it is often wiser to choose the wrong way so as to
      expedite subsequent revisions.
 10.  The more innocuous a modification appears to be, the further its
      influence will extend and the more plans will have to be redrawn.
                     LAWS RELATING TO ASSEMBLY:

 1.   If a project requires n components, there will be n-1 components
 2.   Interchangeable parts won't.
 3.   Components that must not and cannot be assembled improperly will be.
 4.   The most delicate component will be dropped.
 5.   The construction and operation manual will be discarded with the
      packing material.  The garbage truck will have picked it up
      five minutes before the mad dash to the rubbish can.
 6.   The necessity of making a major design change increases as the
      assembly and wiring of the unit approach completion.
      A dropped tool will land where it will do the most damage.
 8.   A component selected at random from a group having a 99% reliability
      will be a member of the 1% group.
 9.   Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum difficulty
      of assembly.
 10.  The availability of a component is inversely proportional to the need
      for that component.
 11.  If a particular resistance is needed, that value will not be available.
      Furthermore, it cannot be developed with any series or parallel
 12.  After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found
      on the bench.

 1.   Any wire cut to length will be too short.
 2.   Milliammeters will be connected across the power source, voltmeters in
      series with it.
 3.   The probability of an error in the schematic is directly proportional
      to the trouble it can cause.
 4.   Identical units tested under identical conditions will not be identical
      on the final test after being buried under other components and wiring.
 5.   A self starting oscillator won't.
 6.   A crystal oscillator will oscillate at the wrong frequency -- if it
      oscillates at all.
 7.   A p-n-p transistor will be found to be an n-p-n.
 8.   A fail-safe circuit will destroy others.
 9.   If a circuit cannot fail, it will.
 10.  A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by
      blowing first.
 11.  Probability of failure of a component is inversely proportional to the
      ease of repair or replacement.
      Some idiot has left open the number two impulse vent.(Check the position
      of all switches, knobs, and dials before turning on a piece of
      equipment.  Both you and the equipment will live longer.)

 1. After the 24th cabinet-to-chassis screw has been removed to replace the
    under chassis fuse, it will be observed that the line cord plug has
    become disengaged from the a.c. receptacle.
 2. After the 24th cabinet-to-chassis screw has been replaced, the driver tube
    will be found under the schematic on the bench.
 3. The bleeder resistor will quit discharging the filter capacitors as the
    operator reaches into the power supply enclosure.
                       ALLEN'S AXIOM
               When all else fails, read the directions.
                     GUNNERSEN'S LAW
The probability of a given event is inversely proportional to it's
                     MESKIMEN'S LAW
     There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
                     JONES'S LAW
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can
blame it on.
                     LORD FALKLAND'S RULE
When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make
a decision.
                     GUMMIDGE'S LAW
   The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of
   statements understood by the general public.
                     SATTINGER'S LAW
              It works better if you plug it in.
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to
                     THE HARVARD LAW
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature,
volume, humidity, and other variables the organism will do as it damn
well pleases.
  Once you open a can of worms, the only way you can recan them is to use a
  larger can.  (Old worms never die; they just worm their way into larger
                     OSBORN'S LAW
             Variables won't, constants aren't.
                     THE SNAFU EQUATIONS
1.   Given any problem containing N equations, there will be N+1 unknowns.
2.   The object or bit of information most needed will be least available.
3.   The device requiring service or adjustment will be least accessible.
4.   In any human eneavor, once you have exhausted all possibilities and
     failed, there will be one solution, simple, obvious, and highly visible
     to everyone else.
5.   Badness comes in waves.
        NOTEBOOK OF LAZARUS LONG (Robert A. Heinlein)
Always listen to experts.  They'll tell you what can't be done and why.
Then do it.

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.

Most 'scientists'  are bottle washers and button sorters.

The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility.  And
vice versa.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science
requires reasoning, while those other subjects require merely scholarship.

Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields.  But experts
often think so.  The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely
they are to think so.

Natural laws have no pity.

Climate is what we expect.  Weather is what we get.

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.
1) Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you
   take Hofstadter's Law into account."

2) Morton's Law: "If rats are experimented upon, they will develop cancer."

3) Epstein's Axiom: "With extremely few exceptions, nothing is worth
        the trouble."

4) Mathis' Rule: "It is bad luck to be superstitious."

5) Laura's Law: "No child throws up in the bathroom."

6) "If there is a opinion, facts will be found to support it."
                        -- Judy Sproles.

7) "Rich folks get more strokes."  -- Greg Beil.

8) "If A = B and B = C, then A = C except where void or prohibited by law".
                        -- Roy Santoro.

9) Preudhomme's Law of Window Cleaning: "It's on the other side."
                        -- Doug Preudhomme

10) "Anything that happens enough times to irritate you will happen at
        least once more."       -- Tom Parkins

11) Slick's Three Laws of the Universe: "(1) Nothing in the known universe
        travels faster than a bad check.  (2) A quarter-ounce of
        chocolate = four pounds of fat.  (3) There are two types of dirt:
        the dark kind, which is attracted to light objects, and the light
        kind, which is attracted to dark objects."
                                -- Ely Slick

12) The two laws of Frisbee: "(1) The most powerful force in the world is
        that of a disc straining to land under a car, just out of reach
        (this force is technically termed 'car suck');  (2) Never precede
        any maneuver by a comment more predictive than 'Watch this!'"

13) (Sam) Goldwyn's Law: "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's
        printed on."

14)(Murray) Gell-Mann's Law: "Whatever isn't forbidden is required; thus, if
        there's no reason why something shouldn't exist, then it
        must exist."

15) (Mark) Twain's Rule: "Only kings, editors, and people with tapeworms
        have the right to use the editorial 'we'."

16) "Bodies in motion tend to remain in motion. Bodies at rest tend to
        remain in bed."         -- Dave Tewksbury

17) Hurewitz's Memory Principle: "The chance of forgetting something is
        directly proportional to....to....."
                                -- Lane Hurewitz

18) Corry's Law: "Paper is always strongest at the perforations."
                                -- Carolyn M. Corry
From: schiec@jec3210-17.its.rpi.edu (Christopher L. Schierer)
I was going to be an engineer....
        Aerospace but it just didn't fly.
        Aeronautical but I couldn't keep my head above water.
        Bio-Medical but I was rejected.
        Chemical but the job really stunk.
        Civil but I couldn't make the grade.
        Computer but I got stuck in a loop.
        Electrical but it was all current events.
        Genetic but I only wore Levis.
        Industrial but I couldn't get off the floor.
        Management but I wasn't a team player.
        Materials but I didn't have the fiber.
        Mechanical but I got shafted.
        Metallurgical but I couldn't get the lead out.
        Nuclear but I didn't have the glow.
        Power but it went to my head.
From: sapient@pearwood.demon.co.uk (Barny Shergold)
                       Top 20 Engineers' Terminologies

Okay here's three more :
1. IT IS TECHNICALLY IMPOSSIBLE - I don't feel like doing it.
2. IT DEPENDS... - Abandon all hope of a useful answer.
From: kring@physik.uni-kl.de (Thomas Kettenring)
Geologists are amazing.  They know hundreds of words for different sorts of
dirt and hundreds of words for things it does when left alone for a few million
The misnaming of fields of study is so common as to lead to what might
be general systems laws.  For example, Frank Harary once suggested the
law that any field that had the word "science" in its name was
guaranteed thereby not to be a science.  He would cite as examples
Military Science, Library Science, Political Science, Homemaking
Science, Social Science, and Computer Science.  Discuss the generality
of this law, and possible reasons for its predictive
power.  -- Gerald Weinberg, "An Introduction to General Systems
Sarah Plummer  wrote:
I was also told this about happening at my college.  We'll see how many
schools have had the same story repeated there.  8)  In one of the houses
in which all the lacrosse/fortball players live they have a file of papers
for classes so people don't have to write them, they can just take a paper
previously written and change the name and hand it in.  Well, there was one
paper for a class which someone had written and gotten a B on.  But on the
corner of the front page was a little drawing of a whale.  The next year a
brother" took the class (we don't have frats on campus.  This is as close
as we get) and when he had to do the paper he just xeroxed the paper and got
a B on it as well.  Then the next time the class was offered another brother
took the paper and xeroxed it, but whited out the whale so the prof wouldn't
suspect that it was the same paper etc.  Well, he got a C on it.  When he
asked the prof why he got a C on it, when all the other people who copied the
paper got a B on it and he got a C and it was the same paper, the prof said
I liked the whale."

From: rhawkins@iastate.edu (R E HAWKINS)
Or from my father.  A student questioned his 0 on a test.  "But these
are the same answers as Tran, and he got hundred percent."
"Tran had a different test."
From: pischke@ecf.toronto.edu (PISCHKE  DAVID)
Engineering is the art of moulding materials we do not fully
understand into shapes we cannot fully analyse and preventing
the public from realising the full extent of our ignorance."

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but
in practice there is a great deal of difference.

                        FINAGLE'S LAWS:
1.  No matter what result is anticipated, there is always someone willing to
    fake it.
2.  No matter what the result, there is always someone eager to misinterpret
3.  No matter what happens, there is always someone who believes it happened
    according to his pet theory.

                      FINAGLE'S CREED

            Science is Truth;  don't be misled by facts.

                       THE FINAGLE FACTOR
(Sometimes called the SWAG(Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) Constant)

That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to, or
subtracted from the answer which you got, yields the answer you
should have gotten.

[note]   Items such as 'Finagle's Constant' and the more subtle 'Bougerre
         Factor' are loosely grouped, in mathematics, under constant
         variables, or, if you prefer, variable constants.

Finagle's Constant, a multiplier of the zero-order term, may be
characterized as changing the universe to fit the equation.

The Bougerre (pronounced 'bugger') Factor is characterized as changing the
equation to fit the universe.  It is also known as the 'Soothing Factor';
mathematically similar to the damping factor, it has the characteristic
of dropping the subject under discussion to zero importance.

A combination of the two, the Diddle Coefficient, is characterized as
changing things so that universe and equation appear to fit without
requiring a change in either.

                       FINAGLE'S COROLLARY
On a seasonally adjusted basis, there are only six months in a year.

If mathematically you end up with the wrong answer, try multiplying by
the page number.

All scientific discoveries are first recorded on napkins or tablecloths.
Engineering advances are drawn inside matchbook covers.  Keep supplies
of them handy at all times.

                       RULES OF THE LAB
1.  When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
2.  Experiments must be reproduceable, they should fail the same way
    each time.
3.  First draw your curves, then plot your data.
4.  Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
5.  A record of data is essential, it shows you were working.
6.  To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
7.  To do a lab really well, have your report done well in advance.
8.  If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start at the answer and
    derive the question.
9.  If that doesn't work, start at both ends and try to find a common middle.
10. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
11. Do not believe in miracles---rely on them.
12. Team work is essential.  It allows you to blame someone else.
13. All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
14. Any delicate and expensive piece of glassware will break before any use
    can be made of it.(Law of Spontaneous Fission)

From: c1prasad@watson.ibm.com (prasad)
Never replicate a successful experiment -Fett's law.  [cf CF]

From: Koos.denOudsten@phil.ruu.nl
A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a
couple of hours in the library.

                     FURTHER HINTS ON WRITE-UPS:
1. In any collection of data, the figures that most closely confirm the
   theory are wrong.
2. No one you ask for help will see the mistakes either.
3. Any nagging intruder who stops by with unsought advice will see them
4. If an experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.
5. An experiment may be considered successful if no more than half the data
   must be discarded to agree with the theory.
6. No experiment is ever a complete failure.  It can serve as a bad example.
7. Always leave room, when writing a report, to add an explanation if it
   doesn't work (Rule of the Way Out).

From: jac@ds8.scri.fsu.edu (Jim Carr)
Raw data is like raw sewage, it requires some processing before it can
be spread around.  The opposite is true of theories.

From: chris@labtam.labtam.oz.au (Chris Taylor)
Here is an old collection that I rediscovered recently.

A brief guide to Scientific literature

Phrase                               Translation

It has been long known               I haven't bothered to check the referances
It is known                          I believe
It is believed                       I think
It is generally believed             My collegues and I think
There has been some discussion       Nobody agrees with me
It can be shown                      Take my word for it
It is proven                         It agrees with something mathematical
Of great theoretical importance      I find it interesting
Of great practical importance        This justifies my employment
Of great historical importance       This ought to make me famous
Some samples were chosen for study   The others didn't make sense
Typical results are shown            The best results are shown
Correct within order of magnitude    Wrong 
The values were obtained empirically The values were obtained by accident
The results are inconclusive        The results seem to disprove my hypothesis 
Additional work is required          Someone else can work out the details
It might be argued that              I have a good answer to this objection
The investigations proved rewarding  My grant has been renewed

What I don't understand I despise, what I despise I reject.

From an unknown but astute source:
Every new scientist must learn early that it is never good taste to
designate the sum of two quantities in the form:

		1 + 1 = 2						(1)

Anyone who has made a study o f advanced mathematics is aware that:
	1 = ln e
	1 = sin^2 x + cos^2 x
	2 = sum     1/2^n

Therefore eq. (1) can be expressed more scientifically as:

ln e + sin^2 x + cos^2 x =   sum     1/2^n				(2)

This may be further simplified by use of the relations:

	1 = cosh y sqrt(1 - tanh^2 y)
	e = lim     (1+1/z)^z
	    z-> inf

Equation (2) may therefore be rewritten as:

                                            inf  cosh y sqrt(1 - tanh^2 y)
ln[ lim (1+1/z)^z ] + sin^2 x + cos^2 x =  SUM ____________________________
    z-> inf                                n=             2^n

At this point it should be obvious that eq. (3) is much clearer and more
easily onderstood than eq. (1). Other methods of a similar nature could be
used to clarify eq. (1), but these are easily divined once the reader
grasps the underlying principles.

Joachim Verhagen     		   Email:J.C.D.Verhagen@fys.ruu.nl
Department of molecular biofysics, University of Utrecht
Utrecht, The Netherlands.
0, unseen,,
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From: NANCY_GILL@bdt.COM (Nancy Gill)
The Condemned

When the earth was created, the powers above,
Gave each man a job to work at and love.
He made doctors and lawyers and plumbers and then,
He made carpenters, singers, and confidence men.
And when each had a job to work as he should,
He looked them all over and saw it was good.

He then sat down to rest for a day,
When a horrible groan chanced to come his way.
The Lord then looked down and his eyes opened wide,
For a motley collection of bums stood outside.
"And what do you want?" the creator asked them,
"Help us," they cried out, "A job for us men".
"We have no profession," they cried in dismay,
"And even the jails have turned us away".
Said the Lord, "I've seen many things without worth,
But here I find gathered the scum of the earth!"

The Lord was perplexed, and then he was mad,
For the jobs were all gone, there was none to be had.
Then he spoke aloud in a deep angry tone,
"Forever and ever ye mongrels shall roam,
Ye shall freeze in the summer and sweat when it's cold,
Ye shall work on equipment that's dirty and old,
Ye shall crawl under raised floors, and there cables lay,
Ye shall be called out at midnight and work through the day,
Ye shall work on all holidays, and not make your worth,
Ye shall be blamed for all downtime that occurs on the earth,
Ye shall watch all the glory go to software and sales,
Ye shall be blamed by them both if the system then fails.
Ye shall be paid nothing out of sorrow and tears,
Ye shall be forever cursed, and called FIELD ENGINEERS!"
From: andy@henry.jpl.nasa.gov (Andy Boden)
"...it doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter
how smart you are -- if it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."
                                                - R.P. Feynman
From:Matthew Austern matt@physics.berkeley.edu:
Never express yourself more clearly than you think.    ---N. Bohr
From: sichase@csa5.lbl.gov (SCOTT I CHASE)
The question seems to be of such a character that if I should come to life
after my death and some mathematician were to tell me that it had been
definitely settled, I think I would immediately drop dead again."
- Vandiver
From: drory@buphyk.bu.edu (Alon Drory)
Furious activity is no substitute for understanding -- H. H. Williams
If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the
shoulders of giants.  -- Isaac Newton

In the sciences, we are now uniquely privileged to sit side by side
with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton

If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing
on my shoulders. -- Hal Abelson

In computer science, we stand on each other's feet. -- Brian K. Reid
From: gt4495c@prism.gatech.edu (Giannhs)
Physics-envy is the curse of biology. -- Joel Cohen
From: Dr. Stuart Savory    savory.pad@sni.de / savory.pad@sni-usa.com
"If we knew what it was we were doing,
 it would not be called research, would it?".   --   A.Einstein
From: Paul D. Shocklee (pds1@cornell.edu) "When in
doubt, cause as much confusion as you can, and, with luck,
there'll always be a loophole." - Richard Mueller
From: locker@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Jon Locker)
It is one Thing, to show a Man that he is in an Error,
and another, to put him in possession of Truth." - John Locke
From: bouche2@server.uwindsor.ca (Boucher David)
It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.
Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories
instead of theories to suit facts."     - Sherlock Holmes
From: mdc@math.canterbury.ac.nz (El Technicolour)
Quote: "The symbols are so illuminating that the fact that the text is
        incomprehensible doesn't much matter"  - A.N. Prior
You should never bet against anything in science at odds of more than
about 10^12 to 1. -- Ernest Rutherford
If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of
arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the
physical world.  One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker
entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability. -- Vannevar Bush
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not
certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
		-- Albert Einstein
Mathematics contains much that will neither hurt one if one does not know
it nor help one if one does know it. - J.B. Mencken
                     CLARKE'S LAWS
    Arthur C. Clarke (1917-)

        When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is
    possible, he is almost certainly right.  When he states that something
    is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
                                 _Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
                        ``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''
                                                         Clarke's First Law
    On which he commented:

        Perhaps the adjective ``elderly'' requires definition.  In physics,
    mathematics, and astronautics it means over thirty; in the other
    disciplines, senile decay is sometimes postponed to the forties.  There
    are, of course, glorious exceptions; but as every researcher just out
    of college knows, scientists of over fifty are good for nothing but
    board meetings, and should at all costs be kept out of the laboratory!
                                 _Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
                        ``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''

        But the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to
    venture a little way past them into the impossible.
                                 _Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
                        ``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''
                                                        Clarke's Second Law

      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                                 _Profiles of the Future_ (1962; rev. 1973)
                        ``Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination''
                                                        Clarke's Third Law

    Clarke adds: As three laws were good enough for Newton, I have modestly
    decided to stop there.

    A post with the ``first law'' invariably gets followed up with one
    mentioning this:

        When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is
    denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that
    idea with great fervor and emotion--the distinguished but elderly
    scientists are then, after all, probably right.
                                                   Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
                                _Fantasy & Science Fiction_ 1977 [magazine]
                                            In answer to Clarke's First Law
What used to be called a prejudice is now called a null hypothesis.
 - AWF Edwards, Nature, 9th March 1971

 (I'm not sure if the following one is a true story or not)
    The great logician Bertrand Russell (or was it A.N. Whitehead?)
once claimed that he could prove anything if given that 1+1=1.
    So one day, some smarty-pants asked him, "Ok.  Prove that
you're the Pope."
    He thought for a while and proclaimed, "I am one.  The Pope
is one.  Therefore, the Pope and I are one."

[NOTE: The following is from merritt@Gendev.slc.paramax.com (Merritt).
The story about 1+1=1 causing ridiculous consequences was, I believe,
originally the product of a conversation at the Trinity High Table.
It is recorded in Sir Harold Jeffreys' Scientific Inference, in a note
to chapter one.  Jeffreys remarks that the fact that everything
followed from a single contradiction had been noticed by Aristotle (I
doubt this way of putting it is quite correct, but that is beside the
point).  He goes on to say that McTaggart denied the consequence: "if
2+2=5, how can you prove that I am the pope?"  Hardy is supposed to
have replied: "if 2+2=5, 4=5; subtract 3; then 1=2; but McTaggart and
the pope are two; therefore McTaggart and the pope are one."  When I
consider this story, I am astonished at how much more brilliant some
people are than I (quite independent of the fallacies in the

Since McTaggart, Hardy, Whitehead, and Russell (the last two of whom
were credited with a variant of Hardy's argument in your post) were
all fellows of Trinity and Jeffreys (their exact contemporary) was a
fellow of St. Johns, I suspect that (whatever the truth of Jeffreys'
story) it is very unlikely that Whitehead or Russell had anything to do
with it.  The extraordinary point to me about the story is that Hardy
was able to snap this argument out between mouthfuls, so to speak, and
he was not even a logician at all.  This is probably why it came in
some people's minds to be attributed to one or other of the famous
Trinity logicians.
The following problem can be solved either the easy way or the hard way.

Two trains 200 miles apart are moving toward each other; each one is
going at a speed of 50 miles per hour.  A fly starting on the front of
one of them flies back and forth between them at a rate of 75 miles
per hour.  It does this until the trains collide and crush the fly to
death.  What is the total distance the fly has flown?

The fly actually hits each train an infinite number of times before it
gets crushed, and one could solve the problem the hard way with pencil
and paper by summing an infinite  series of distances.  The easy way
is as follows:  Since the trains are 200 miles apart and each train is
going 50 miles an hour, it takes 2 hours for the trains to collide.
Therefore the fly was flying for two hours.  Since the fly was flying
at a rate of 75 miles per hour, the fly must have flown 150 miles.
That's all there is to it.

When this problem was posed to John von Neumann, he immediately
replied, "150 miles."

"It is very strange," said the poser, "but nearly everyone tries to
sum the infinite series."

"What do you mean, strange?" asked Von Neumann.  "That's how I did it!"
Von Neumann and Norbert Weiner were both the subject of many dotty
professor stories.  Von Neumann supposedly had the habit of simply
writing answers to homework assignments on the board (the method of
solution being, of course, obvious) when he was asked how to solve
problems.  One time one of his students tried to get more helpful
information by asking if there was another way to solve the problem.
Von Neumann looked blank for a moment, thought, and then answered,

Weiner was in fact very absent minded.  The following story is told
about him:  When they moved from Cambridge to Newton his wife, knowing
that he would be absolutely useless on the move, packed him off to MIT
while she directed the move.  Since she was certain that he would
forget that they had moved and where they had moved to, she wrote down
the new address on a piece of paper, and gave it to him.  Naturally,
in the course of the day, an insight occurred to him. He reached in
his pocket, found a piece of paper on which he furiously scribbled
some notes, thought it over, decided there was a fallacy in his idea,
and threw the piece of paper away.  At the end of the day he went home
(to the old address in Cambridge, of course).  When he got there he
realized that they had moved, that he had no idea where they had moved
to, and that the piece of paper with the address was long gone.
Fortunately inspiration struck.  There was a young girl on the street
and he conceived the idea of asking her where he had moved to, saying,
"Excuse me, perhaps you know me.  I'm Norbert Weiner and we've just
moved.  Would you know where we've moved to?"  To which the young girl
replied, "Yes daddy, mommy thought you would forget."

The capper to the story is that I asked his daughter (the girl in the
story) about the truth of the story, many years later.  She said that
it wasn't quite true -- that he never forgot who his children were!
The rest of it, however, was pretty close to what actually happened...
The french scientist Ampere was on his way to an important meeting at
the Academy in Paris. In the carriage he got a brilliant idea which he
immediately wrote down ... on the wand of the carriage: dH=ipdl/r^2. As he
arrived he payed the driver and ran into the building to tell everyone.
Then he found out his notes were on the carriage and he had to hunt through
the streets of Paris to find his notes on wheels.
During a class of calculus my lecturer suddenly checked himself and
stared intently at the table in front of him for a while. Then he
looked up at us and explained that he thought he had brought six piles
of papers with him, but "no matter how he counted" there was only five
on the table.  Then he became silent for a while again and then told
the following story:

"When I was young in Poland I met the great mathematician Waclaw
Sierpinski.  He was old already then and rather absent-minded.  Once he
had to move to a new place for some reason.  His wife didn't trust
him very much, so when they stood down on the street with all their
things, she said:
 - Now, you stand here and watch our ten trunks, while I go and get a

She left and left him there, eyes somewhat glazed and humming
absently.  Some minutes later she returned, presumably having called
for a taxi.  Says Mr. Sierpinski (possibly with a glint in his eye):
 - I thought you said there were ten trunks, but I've only counted to nine.
 - No, they're TEN!
 - No, count them: 0, 1, 2, ..."
Albert Einstein, who fancied himself as a violinist, was rehearsing a
Haydn string quartet.  When he failed for the fourth time to get his
entry in the second movement, the cellist looked up and said, "The
problem with you, Albert, is that you simply can't count."
From: Colin_Douthwaite@equinox.gen.nz (Colin Douthwaite)
Einstein was attending a music salon in Germany before the second 
world war, with the violinist S. Suzuki.  Two Japanese women played 
a German piece of music and a woman in the audience excaimed:  "How 
wonderful!  It sounds so German!"  Einstein responded:  "Madam, 
people are all the same." 

This is a story I heard as a freshman at the University of Utah when 
Dr.  Henry Eyring was still teaching chemistry there.  Many years 
before he and Dr. Einstein were colleagues.  As they walked together 
they noted an unusual plant growing along a garden walk.  Dr. Eyring 
asked Dr. Einstein if he knew what the plant was.  Einstein did not, 
and together they consulted a gardner.  The gardner indicated the 
plant was green beans and forever afterwards Eyring said Einstein 
didn't know beans .  I heard this second hand and I don't know if 
the story has ever been published...  
From: mstueben@tjhsst.vak12ed.edu (Michael A. Stueben)
      The English mathematician John Wallis (1616-1703) was
   a friend of Isaac Newton. According to his diary, Newton
   once bragged to Wallis about his little dog Diamond.

      "My dog Diamond knows some mathematics. Today he
   proved two theorems before lunch."

      "Your dog must be a genius," said Wallis.

      "Oh I wouldn't go that far," replied Newton. "The
   first theorem had an error and the second had a
   pathological exception."
Professor Dirac, a famous Applied Mathematician-Physicist, had a horse
shoe over his desk.  One day a student asked if he really believed
that a horse shoe brought luck.  Professor Dirac replied, "I
understand that it brings you luck if you believe in it or not."
The following is supposedly a true story about Russell.  It isn't
really a math joke since it makes fun of the British hierarchy, but
it's funny anyway....

Around the time when Cold War started, Bertrand Russell was giving a
lecture on politics in England.  Being a leftist in a conservative
women's club, he was not received well at all: the ladies came up to
him and started attacking him with whatever they could get their hands
on.  The guard, being an English gentleman, did not want to be rough
to the ladies and yet needed to save Russell from them.  He said, "But
he is a great mathematician!"  The ladies ignored him.  The guard said
again, "But he is a great philosopher!"  The ladies ignore him again.
In desperation, finally, he said, "But his brother is an earl!"  Bert
was saved.
Another "true" story, kinda like the aforementioned urban legend:

Enrico Fermi, while studying in college, was bored by his math
classes.  He walked up to the professor and said, "My classes are too
easy!"  The professor looked at him, and said, "Well, I'm sure you'll
find this interesting."  Then the professor copied 9 problems from a
book to a paper and gave the paper to Fermi.  A month later, the
professor ran into Fermi, "So how are you doing with the problems I
gave you?"  "Oh, they are very hard.  I only managed to solve 6 of
them."  The professor was visibly shocked, "What!? But those are
unsolved problems!"
 When Boltzman gave a lecture on ideal gasses, he casually mentioned
complicated calculations, which didn't give him any trouble. His students
could not follow the fast mathematics and asked him to do the calculations on
the blackboard. Boltzman apologized and promised to do better next time.
 The next lesson he began: "Gentlemen, if we combine Boyle's law with Charles's
law we get the equation pv= p\sub 0 v\sub 0 (1 + a t). Now it is clear that
\sub a S \sup b = f(x) dx x (a), then is pv=RT and \sub V S f(x,y,z) dV = 0.
It is so simple as one and one is two. At this moment he remembered his promise
and dutyfully wrote 1 + 1 = 2. Then he continued with the complicated
calculations  from his bare mind.
From:alfa@werple.apana.org.au (Glenn Durden):
Its a bit of a nasty word to spell though.    From (I think) OMNI magazine
a few years back:
Mnemonics Neatly Eliminate Mans Only Nemesis - Insufficient Cerebral

From: poodge@econBerkeley.EDU (Sam Quigley)
How about a mnemonic for remembering how to spell "mnemonic?"

From: mshapiro@netlink.nix.com (Michael Shapiro) writes:
Now I will a rhyme construct
By chosen words the young instruct.
Cunningly devised endeavor,
Con it and remember ever.
Widths of circle here you see.
Sketched out in strange obscurity.

From: stephan@artn.iit.edu (Stephan Meyers)
Sir, I send a rhyme excelling
In sacred truth and rigid spelling
Numerical sprites elucidate
for me the lexicon's full weight.
If nature gain, who can complain
tho' Doc Johnson fulminate.

From: c1prasad@watson.ibm.com (prasad)
Sir, I bear a rhyme excelling
In mystic force and magic spelling;
Celestial sprites elucidate
All my own striving can't relate.

From: gsc@cairo.anu.edu.au (Sean Case)
Now I, even I, would celebrate
in rhymes inept, the great
immortal Syracusan rivall'd nevermore
who in his wondrous lore
passed on before
left men his guidance
how to circles mensurate.

Americans can spell "rivall'd" as "rivaled", which works a lot better.

From: thomas@melchior.frmug.fr.net (Thomas Quinot)
For PI, we have in France :
Que j'aime a faire apprendre un nombre utile aux sages
Immortel Archimede, artiste, ingenieur
Qui de ton jugement peut priser la valeur ?
Pour moi ton probleme eut de pareils avantages.

bhuntley@tsegw.tse.com (Brian Huntley) writes:
How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy chapters
 3  1  4   1   5        9     2    6       5    3    5      8
involving quantum mechanics.
    9        7        9

Here are some phrases used to remember SIN, COS, and TAN.
(SIN = Opposite/Hypotenuse, COS = Adjacent/H, TAN = O/A).

From: dannyb@panix.com (danny burstein):
Soh-Kah-Toa   Sine=opposite/hypotenuse, etc.

From: stephan@artn.iit.edu (Stephan Meyers)
Some officers add curly auburn hair to offer attraction

From: kcousins@awadi.com.au (Kevin Cousins)
Sydney Opera House: Costs are higher than originally anticipated.

From: ahcson@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu (Tree Pig)
how about Oscar Had A Hit Of Acid?  write the first letter of
each word along with the letters SCT like :
S OH  (sine = opposite/hypotenuse)
C AH  (cosine = adjacent/hypotenuse)
T OA  (tangent = opposite/adjacent)

From: pdundas@bfsec.bt.co.uk (Paul Dundas)
Two      Old   Angels
Skipped  Over  Heaven
Carrying A     Harp

From: pyotr@chinook.halcyon.com (Peter D. Hampe)
Oscar Had A Heap Of Apples  - you just have to remember the sine, cosine,
tangent progression on your own.

From: Andrew Rogers (rogers@sasuga.hi.com):
Saddle Our Horses, Canter Away Happily, To Other Adventures.

From: cs92dy@cen.ex.ac.uk
sin/cos etc.
Silly old Henry, caught Albert Hugging/Humping two old Aunts.

From: heath@pi.cs.fsu.edu (Taliver B Heath)
Oscar had a hairy old ass.

      SOHCAHTOA       (sock-a-toe-a)

      The Cat    Sat
      On  An     Orange
      And Howled Hard

      Some Old Hulks
      Carry A Huge
      Tub Of Ale

      Silly Old Hitler
      Caused Awful Headaches
      To Our Airmen

      Some Old Hag
      Cracked All Her
      Teeth On Asparagus

      Some Old Hairy
      Camels Are Hairier
      Than Others Are

      Silly Old Harry
      Caught A Herring
      Trawling Off America


From: raistlin@mentor.cc.purdue.edu (Paul)
For remembering the sign of trig functions in the quadrants:

All Suckers Take Calculus:
in quadrants one through four

                C  |  A
                T  |  S

All=sin, cos, and tan are all posative
Suckers=sine posative (others negative)
Take=tangent posative (others negative)
Calculus=cosine posative (others negative)
Weber Tracy L (tweber@cc.brynmawr.edu):
"Please excuse my dear aunt Sally" or "PEMDAS"
Default operator precedence  () ^ * / + -

From: g4klx@g4klx.demon.co.uk (Jonathan Naylor)
I was taught a longer version at school:

"Brackets of my dear aunt Sally"

Which nicely included the fact that brackets and "of" were higher in
precedence that * / + -. Being a bunch of nasty snivelling (sp?) ten year olds,
we changed it to "Bollocks of my dear aunt Sally". For our American readers,
Bollocks == Gonads. Not biologically correct but who cares ?

From: magyar@hss.caltech.edu (Ted Turocy)
Please      excuse    my             dear     aunt     Sally
parentheses exponents multiplication division addition subtraction
From: jbaldwin@teleport.com (Jim Baldwin)
For the order of declarations in Pascal:

Let's Cook Textured Vegetable Protein

For: Labels, Constants, Types, Variables, Procedures
From: tomv@vismag.limmat.net.ch (Thomas Voirol)
Two stupid ones:

CAFE - the positive (or unsigned)
                                  first nibble in EBCDIC numbers
DB   - the negative

e.g.  C3 = +3
      F8 =  8      (unsigned)
      D9 = -9
33 45 7C = +33'457 (packed decimal)
From: fanf@moggy.inmos.co.uk (Anthony Finch)
PCMCIA: People Can't Remember Computer Industry Acronyms

damn! no, that's wrong -- it should be "Memorise". It must be true...
(even though it's not a mnemonic)

From: khm@skom.se (Karl-Henry Martinsson)
Or, as Brendan McGuire (Executive Director of PCMCIA) said: President
Clinton Makes Cornbread In Arkansas
From: bigbear@garlic.com
Computing: You don't go to the STORE to get VD.
           The 360 instructions for which the second operand, instead of
           the first, is the recipient of the data. (STORE and cVD-
           convert to decimal)
slavins@psy.man.ac.uk (Simon Slavin) writes:
And the planet one (which I got from Robert A. Heinlein):
Mother very thoughtfully made a jam sandwich under no protest.
for: Mercurius, Venus, thoughfully = Terra = Earth, Mars, Asteroids,
Jupiter, Saturnus, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

From: snowhare@xmission.com (Snowhare)
Mike Bandy wrote on 20 Jul 1994 09:33:13 -0400:
Most Volcanoes Erupt Mouldy Jam Sandwiches Under Normal Pressure

Many Viscious Earth Monsters Just Sat Under Nellies Porch

From: dolf@echo.tds.philips.nl (Dolf Grunbauer)
Planets in the solar system.
        My Very Excellant Memory Just Stores Up Nine Planets.

From: badger@phylo.life.uiuc.edu (Jonathan Badger)
My Very Educated Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas

Actually, currently, I guess it is Pizzas Nine...

From: jeff.zeitlin@execnet.com (Jeff Zeitlin)
 Planets of the Solar System, in order:

 My Very Extravagant Mother Just Sent Us Nine Parrots.

 When Pluto comes closer to the sun than Neptune:

 ... Just Sent Us Pine Nuts.

From: kirrilyr@union3.su.swin.edu.au (Kirrily Robert - SINN Editor)
Many Very Early Mornings Julie Sits Up Naming Planets
peters@nms.otc.com.au (Peter Samuel) wrote:
My favourite is for remembering the planets in our solar system:
Most Volcanoes Erupt Mouldy Jam Sandwiches Under Normal Pressure

From: ted_swift@qm.sri.com (Ted Swift)
  Matilda Visits Every Thursday, Just Stays Until Noon, Period.

From: tomv@vismag.limmat.net.ch (Thomas Voirol)
A German one:

Mein      Mercury     my
Vater     Venus       father
Erklaert  Earth       explains
Mir       Mars        (to) me
Jeden     Jupiter     every
Sonntag   Saturn      sunday
Unsere    Uranus      our
Neuen     Neptune     new
Plaene    Pluto       plans

This will help you remember the sequence of sol's planets. If you
speak German, that is...
From: eng20216@leonis.nus.sg (CHEW JOO SIANG)
How bout the one for the colours of the rainbow -

   Virgin In Bed Gives You Orgasmic Release

For : violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red.

From: dtrg@st-andrews.ac.uk (David Thomas Richard Given)
  Rip Off Your Goolies Before I Vomit

From: pdundas@bfsec.bt.co.uk (Paul Dundas)
Richard of York gave battle in vain
From: drory@buphyk.bu.edu (Alon Drory)
Or the one I picked up from an Asimov essay:
Read Out Your Good Book In Verse

He also said that since Violet was just a fancy-schmancy word for
purple, more populistic minded people could also

Read Out Your Good Book In Prose

From: avg@sprintlink.net (Vadim Antonov)
Russian for spectrum colors:

        Kazhdyi Okhotnik   Zhelayet Znat'   Gde     Sidit Fazan
        every   hunter     wants    to_know where   sits  a_fazan
                                                          (a kind of bird)

        Krasnyi Oranzhevyi Zhyoltyi Zelenyi Goluboy Siniy Fioletvyi
        Red     Orange     Yellow   Green   Lt_Blue Blue  Violet

From: ingvar@ki.se (Ingvar Mattsson)
Or ROY G BIV, for the same colours in the opposite direction.

From: mchndnd@marie.physik.tu-berlin.de (Neil Dobson)
Or ROY G BIV, for the same colours in the opposite direction.
      Roy G. Biv,
      Roy G. Biv,
      He's the colour quaddie
      That the spectrum gives.
                                   Lois McMaster Bujold.
From: sjt@xun8.sr.bham.ac.uk (James Tappin)
From: cummings@u.washington.edu (Mike Cummings)
Stellar spectral classes:
Oh be a fine girl, kiss me right now - SMACK

For: 0, B, A, G, G, K, M, R, N.

From: lou@xilinx.com (Lou Sanchez-Chopitea)
Oh be a fine girl, kiss me right now sweetheart

From: cummings@u.washington.edu (Mike Cummings)
Oh Big And Ferocious Gorilla, Kill My Roommate Next Saturday!

Only Boring Astronomers Find Gratification Knowing Mnemonics.
From: lrmead@whale.st.usm.edu (Lawrence R. Mead)
On bad afternoons fermented grapes keep Mrs. Richard Nixon smiling.
From: garret@mrao.cam.ac.uk (Garret Cotter)
And while we are on the topic of color, how about the one for recalling
spectrographic notation:

Sober Physicists Don't Find Giraffes Hiding In Kitchens.
From: rjc@mail.ast.cam.ac.uk (Robert Cumming)
I used to remember Newton's First Law by singing it (sotto voce,
_of course_) to the tune of the Birdie Song:

Every body continues in its state of rest
Or of uniform motion
Until compelled by some external force to change that state of rest
Or of uniform motion
From: claybake@cae.wisc.edu (Peter Jon Claybaker)
Q: What's new (nu)?
A: mu / rho

It's the only way I can rememeber the relationship between
absolute and kinematic viscosity.
From: mje@pookie.pass.wayne.edu (Michael J. Edelman)
Another favorite, learned late in life, for electronics types:

              Eli the Ice man.

It's for remembering whether current leads voltage or lags it in reactive
In inductive ('L') circuits, voltage ('E') leads current ('I'), hence 'E L I'.
In capacitive ('C') circuits, it's the other way, so 'I C E'.
From: lawson@pax.llnl.gov (William S. Lawson)
From: DPierce@world.std.com (Richard D Pierce)
How about Feynman's mnemonic for the third period of the periodic table:
"NeNa, M'gAl, SiPS Chlorine"?

    H                               H He
    Li Be               B  C  N  O  F Ne
    Na Mg              Al Si  P  S Cl Ar

From: cummings@u.washington.edu (Mike Cummings)
Let me offer this one, see if it's any better.  A High School teacher
taught me, "H! HeLiBebCNOFNeNaMgAlSiPSiCl!"  Not much help, huh?  Here's a
pronunciation key:

"H!" (Just make a loud H, then pause, looking as if you're about to pounce.
Nice dramatic effect that gets the listener's attention.)
"Heh-Lee-Beb-K'Noff-" (Easy so far)
"N'Nahm" (That's N(schwa) - Nahm[rhymes with bomb])

From: mjh22@mrao.cam.ac.uk (Martin Hardcastle)
OK, _my_ high school teacher had the following:

"Hell! Here're Little Beatniks Brandishing Countless Numbers Of Flick kNives."

 H     He      Li     Be       B           C         N       O  F     er, Ne

"Naughty Maggie Always Sips Pure Sweet Claret"

 N       Mg     Al     Si   P    S     Cl

He couldn't remember any more after that, so nor can I.

From: kirrilyr@union3.su.swin.edu.au (Kirrily Robert - SINN Editor)
"Hi Helen, Little Betty Boron Can Not Often Find
Neddy.  Naughty Meg Always SiPS Chlorine in 
Kenny's Car"
From: harper@kauri.vuw.ac.nz (John Harper)
And in chemistry we eventually learnt to pronounce the following, though
each line seems harder than the one before:
(this was before they changed it to ArKCa...)
but I must admit I didn't find the rare earths memorable this way.
From: matthew@tadtec.co.uk (Matthew Sweet)
In article  verhagen@fys.ruu.nl (Joachim Verhagen) writes:
> We got german, french and russian in this thread. Time for a dutch one.
> The electro-negativity of Metals:
> Karolientje NAaktgeboren MaG ALleen op ZoN en   FEestdagen SNoepen.
> Caroline    nakedborn    may  only  on  sun- and Holliday    eat sweets.
>               (=real dutch family name)
> ProBeer Haar te Kussen(=Cu) achter(Ag) de Platina  AUto.
> Try     her   to kiss        behind    the platina car.

But in english:

Please Send Little Charlie McKie A Zebra If The
Can't Munch Sweet Green Plants

Potassium, Sodium, Lithium, Calcium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Zinc, Iron, ?Tin?
Copper, ?Mercury?, Silver, Gold, Platinum
Cranial nerves:
From: sterner@upenn5.hep.upenn.edu (Kevin Sterner)
On Old Olympus's Towering Top, A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops

From: mje@pookie.pass.wayne.edu (Michael J. Edelman)
On Old Olympus' towering top, a fat-assed german veiwed a hop.

From: john.tant@exchange.com (John Tant)
The 12 cranial nerves,
On Old Olympus, Terry Tried Abducting Fanny After Giving Vegas Some Help

Oh, oh, oh, to touch and feel a girl's vagina- ah, heaven!

From: spbcajk@ucl.ac.uk (Mr Andrew John Kale)
Oh, Oh, Oh To Touch A Fair Virgin's Glistening Vagina And Hymen for the twelve
cranial nerves:

Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Auditory, Facial,
Vestibulocochlear, Glossopharyngeal, Vagus, Accessory, Hypoglossal
From: abw@bu.edu (Al Wesolowsky)
Anatomy, for the bones of the wrist:

"Never lower Tillie's pants. Grandmother might come home."

Greater Multangular
Lesser Multangular

From: spbcajk@ucl.ac.uk (Mr Andrew John Kale)
I was always taught this as :

Scabby Lucy Tried Peeing Having Copulated Twenty Times

Scaphoid Lunate Triquetral Pisiform Hamate Capitate ... and two others I've
forgotten (it was a long time ago!)
From: dpbsmith@world.std.com (Daniel P. B. Smith)
Biology: Kings play cards on fairly good soft velvet. (Kingdom,
Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species, Variety).

From: gjb@evolving.com (Gregory Bloom)
Then there's the ever-popular
'King Phillip Cuts Open Five Green Snakes'
for Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

From: alderc@aol.com (Alder Castanoli)
King Philip Came Over From Germany Speedily

From: joev@garden.WPI.EDU (Joseph W. Vigneau):
Ian Young  wrote:
King Phillip Came Over For George's Sword

From: joev@garden.WPI.EDU (Joseph W. Vigneau):
King Phillip Came Over For Good Sex

From: scs@eskimo.com (Steve Summit)
King Philip can only farm green spinach.

From Charlie Gibbs (Charlie_Gibbs@mindlink.bc.ca):
King Phillip Came Over for a Glass of Scotch

From: ab401@freenet.carleton.ca (Paul Tomblin)
King Phillip: Come Out For God's Sake.
(From Colin Fletcher, "The Man Who Walked Through Time" - a book about a walk
down the length of the Grand Canyon)

From: sichase@csa5.lbl.gov (SCOTT I CHASE)
King Phillip Came Over From Germany, Stoned on Gin, Rum, and Vodka.

This gives you subspecies classifications as well (variety, etc.)

From: badger@phylo.life.uiuc.edu (Jonathan Badger)
Kraft Parmesian Cheese On Fingers Gets Sticky
From: Peter Berger 
All Chaperones Must Previously Have Had Sex.

Animalia, Chordata, Mammalia, Primata, Hominidae, Homo, Sapiens.

Man's taxonomy.
From: sclatter@littlewing.Eng.Sun.COM (Sarah Clatterbuck)
Then there's my personal fave, because I made it up:

"Lazy zebras ponder dire disasters."

leptotene zygotene polytene diplotene diakinesis

        I think the spellings may be wrong.  They're the five sub-phases
of the prophase of mitosis (cell division).
From: cbutler@bnr.ca (Chris Butler) writes:
I remember one for the metric system:

"King Hector Doesn't Usually Drink Cold Milk"

for Kilo  1000
    Hecto  100
    Deca    10
    Units    1
    Deci     0.1
    Centi    0.01
    Milli    0.001

From: jsandler@encore.com (Jeff Sandler)
My math teacher, who taught us a similar one, must have been more..um...
"Kill Hector Dead , Dear Cousin Milli."
From: davek@microware.com (Dave Kimble)
order of sharps:
Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle

order of flats:
Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father
Richard F. Drushel  wrote:
Every good boy does fine = line notes, treble clef, bottom to top

From: harper@kauri.vuw.ac.nz (John Harper)
        Every good boy deserves food
though girls quoted it as:
        Every good boy deserves flogging.
From: jmpierce@medea.gp.usm.edu (Jim M. Pierce)
Color codes resistors:
   'Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly, Get Some
black brown red yellow green blue violet grey white gold silver
GSN stands for the plus or minus bit... 5 percent, 10 percent,
and 20 percent. i.e. 100 ohms, plus or minus 5 percent.

From: jac@ds8.scri.fsu.edu (Jim Carr)
Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly, for Gold or Silver.

From: tonyg@kcbbs.gen.nz (Tony Garnock-Jones)
: Yes, but I always get stuck trying to remember is "bad" black or is
: "boys"?  I always forget without difficulty.  Blue and the two g's I can
: remember no problem.

BlAck -> BAd
BrOwn -> BOys
BlUe  -> BUt

The second letter of each B-word is the _third_ letter of the word it
stands for :-) Neat pattern...

From: rcsacw@rwc.urc.tue.nl (Christ van Willegen)
Black bastards Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly.
(offending, but easier to remember black, brown)

From: wingo@apple.com (Tony Wingo)
This alternative version solves that problem:
  Blackie Brown rapes our young girls but violet gives willingly.

From: woodman@bnr.ca (Dave Woodman)
"Billy Brown Revives On Your Gin, But Values Good Whisky."

From: jlowrey@skat.usc.edu (Fritz Lowrey)
Bad Beer Rots Our Young Guts, But Vodka Goes Well

Grant Edwards  wrote:
Better Be Ready, Or Your Great Big Venture Goes West.
(goes west = fails, dies)

From: eeyimkn@unicorn.nott.ac.uk (M. Knell)
My eternal favourite (and the one that nobody's mentioned yet):
Black Beetles Running On Your Garden Bring Very Good Weather

From: thomas@melchior.frmug.fr.net (Thomas Quinot)
French version :
Ne Mangez Rien Ou Jeunez, Voila Bien Votre Grande Betise.
From Charlie_Gibbs@mindlink.bc.ca:
There's no red port wine left.  (navigation light colours)
From: bigbear@garlic.com
Geology:  Terrible Giants Can Find Alligators Or Quaint Tigers
          Conveniently Digestible.
          Hardness scale for minerals: Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Flourite,
          Apatite, Orthoclase feldspar, Quartz, Topaz, Corundum, Diamond.
From: dpbsmith@world.std.com (Daniel P. B. Smith)
Geology: "Come on, see daring men play polo." (Cambrian, Ordovician,
Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Permian, Pennsylvanian).
"Phooey! Even old men play polo, right?" (Palaeocene, Eocene, Oligocene,
Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Recent).

From: john.tant@exchange.com (John Tant)
Campbell's Onion Soup Does Make People Puke.
From: jeff.zeitlin@execnet.com (Jeff Zeitlin)
From navigation, for converting between True, Magnetic, and Compass directi
applying variation and deviation:
True virgins make dull company
Or backwards:
can dead men vote twice
by Alan Meiss, ameiss@gn.ecn.purdue.edu
Wherein the author relates the Tale of the Exploding Pen.

     Everyone who's taken high school chemistry probably has some
entertaining stories of experiments not included in the syllabus,
myself included.  A friend and I did a great deal of spontaneous
research in our class involving myriad flame tests and chemical
combinations "Mother Nature never intended."  I recall one time
when the teacher left the room, and my friend dashed into the
storeroom in the back to see what he could filch.  He returned
with a heaping handful of silver nitrate powder, which isn't
exactly recommended handling procedure for this chemical.  When
rapid discomfort made him dispose of this material, the rest of
us observed to our amazement that his entire hand had turned
silver.  By the end of the day it had turned purple.  But all
this, of course, is peripheral to the Tale of the Exploding Pen.
     One day in Chemistry class we were using calcium metal,
which reacts with water to give off hydrogen gas and heat.  This
was definitely Nifty, and I saved several pieces.  It became a
source of amusement to drop it in a puddle of water and watch it
bubble and sputter, then quickly hand it to someone during a
quiet class to provoke an alarmed bellow (the stuff got pretty
hot).  By the afternoon I had one piece left, which I, based on
thought processes that now entirely elude me, stored, along with
some water, in my pen, one of those Bic Biros with the large
white barrel and detachable endcap.  It soon slipped my mind that
I'd done this, and I went on my way to Biology class.  Midway
through class, we were wrapping up an experiment, with the
teacher giving a lecture and the class taking notes.  I was
standing in the back of the room, writing down final data from
our petri dishes of E. Coli, when my pen exploded.  It was very
loud, louder than a firecracker, and I looked up to see every
face in the class staring at me and the remnant of my pen with
great alarm.  The resulting silence was finally broken when
someone muttered "his pen exploded!"  I tried to play it cool,
giving my pen as cursory an inspection as possible, as if this
were a frequent occurence of little concern, and returned to an
extroadinarily studious job of note-taking.  The teacher just
smiled and continued the lecture in a bit; I guess he was used to
this sort of thing.
     We had some other interesting experiences in this biology
course, including the development of Live Chicken Bowling, and the
concealment of chickens in people's personal belongings.  In one
class I remember, one of the kids wadded up paper towels into a
foot-wide ball, and for reasons I don't fathom arrived at the
decision to set it on fire when the teacher left the room.  Too
late it occcurred to him that a large ball of fire is fairly
conspicuous in a classroom setting, so he stuffed it into the lab
drawer beside his desk just before the teacher returned.  The
sudden earnest interest in the lecture he tried to demonstrate
was not enough to distract from the smoke rising from his desk,
however, and he got in a significant amount of trouble.
     But let me return once again to Chemistry class.  In all, it
was a fairly boring class, and we even had to pursue non-
flammable entertainment.  I programmed a Blackjack game on my
pocket computer, and we would pass it around the class for all to
play.  A lively betting pool would sometimes start when the score
got high.  One day we managed to play a full game of Risk in the
back of the room during lecture.  Some of us would spend a half
an hour at a stretch duplicating Muppet noises from Sesame Street
episodes: "Tiiiick Tooooock BrrrrrrrRING! Yupyupyupyup".  Others
would interupt any rare quiet moments by yanking leg hairs from
other guys wearing shorts.  None of this infantilism, however,
can compare to the mayhem related to me by one of my roommates
that went on in his own high school chemistry class.
     He had a particularly anarchic chem class that seemed to
involve an impressive amount of pyrotechnics.  On one occassion,
someone threw a fist-sized chunk of potassium metal in a sink
full of water, which destroyed it (both sink and water) with a
great shower of sparks.  Another time his classmates covered an
entire desktop with infamous nitrogren tri-iodide, an unstable
compound made from ammonia and iodine that explodes when touched,
leaving purple stains.  They detonated it by throwing a paper
airplane, blowing the top off the desk.  In an act of tremendous
stupidity, they filled an entire liter beaker with the gray
incendiary material from sparklers, and when some fool tossed in
a match, the resulting column of fire burned holes in both the
table and ceiling.  In an extra-curriculur adventure, they piled
a mound of thermite they'd prepared in class on a particularly
despised person's driveway.  When ignited, it blasted a foot wide
hole through the concrete and down to the dirt.  Their most
notable "achievement", however, was placing in someone's locker
in a dish of water a large chunk of some unknown material that
gives off noxious odors when moist.  He said that the resulting
nauseating stench spread through the entire school.  One girl
barfed in mid-sprint to the bathroom, and the school had to
evacuate the building and cancel classes for the rest of the day.
In an entire semester of Chemistry class, his only remotely
educational experience was learning to make soap, and he had to
repeat the subject here at Purdue, minus the pyrotechnics.
From: junep@bu.edu (June Peckingham)
I recall those days of high school science pranks well.
(although our chem teacher was much to smart to ever
leave sodium of potassium where we could find it).

-Earth Science - learning to burn skin with a magnifying
        glass.  Also learned that chalk, when heated with
        a magnifying glass, will explode.
-Biology - Actively participated in an experiment to
        kill the mutant fish that lived in the aquarium.
        We tried everything - soda, windex, acid.  These
        guys were tough.  The other high point of bio
        was having a frog pee down my friend's arm, cool.
-Chemistry - In a neighboring school one of the hooligans
        superglued everything in the classroom.  The
        teacher was infuriated.  When he went to sit down
        he found that his chair was also stuck in place.
        He did succeed in moving it, only by removing the
        four floor tiles it was glued to.  My high school
        chem teacher was too scary to try anything fun on.
        I did manage to light a table on fire though.
-Physics - Our physics teacher was cool.  He let us form
        a line into the hall and use the power of the Van
        de Graph generator to shock passers by. hehe.  We
        also got to chop a large block of wood off his
        stomach to demonstrate inertia.  He taught us the
        'to every force there is an equal and opposite..'
        by throwing himself against a wall while wearing
        roller skates.
From: arildj@edb.tih.no (Arild Jensen)
A friend of mine got a hold of a large chunck of potassium metal which
he brought to a party. He managed to dare another guy to make it
explode. The other guy wasn't of the brightest type, and he didn't
believe it would explode in contact with water. Anyhow, stupid as
he was, he went to the bathroom and thew it into the toilet. Nothing
happened, so he went back out again, saying to my friend "Hey, nothing
happe...." BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole bathroom was covered with smoke,
and the toilet-seat was completely ruined, cracked and everything.
The guy who held the party had to use the neighbors bathroom the
following week, until his own one got repaired.
From: pkukla@silver.ucs.indiana.edu (Peter Kukla)
  When I was in High School, one of my classmates was having a serious
problem with people stealing his lunch.  Every day it disappeared from
his locker (don't recall whether his lock was broken off or what.)
Complaining to the principal did no good, so he went to his father, a
  His father gave him some substance (Silver Nitrate) which didn't discolor
the food, but which turned your skin black or purple when you came in
contact with it.
  This guy liberally coated his food with it, and waited.  I was fortunate
enough to see the results.
 Another classmate, who had ostensibly gone to the bathroom, returned to
the math class, hiding his hands and face as best he could.  It didn't
work - his dyed skin was obvious.  A cohort of his didn't even bother to
return to class, he just fled the school for the day.
From: meyerar@scooby.beloit.edu (Arden Meyer)
When I was in High School, my chemistry teacher had the privilege of
scaring most of the freshman chem class.  He had a wooden cutting block set
out on the bench at the front of the class, with a large butcher's knife.
After everyone took their seats, he produced an apple, two 200 mL beakers
containing clear fluid, an empty 500 mL beaker, and an eye dropper.  He
proceeded to cut the apple in half, and then place the knife back in a
locked drawer (he didn't trust us!).  With the dropper, he squirted some of
liquid A onto one half of the apple, and we all saw it eat away at the apple
rather quickly.  Then, after rinsing the dropper, he squirted some of liquid
B onto the remaining half of the apple, which also ate it away.  He then
poured liquid A and liquid B into the 500 mL beaker, and swirled the mixture
for a few moments (about twenty seconds).  He then downed the whole thing in
one big swallow!

As it turned out, liquid A was hydrocloric acid, and liquid B was sodium
hydroxide.  They were both of the same molarity, and so when mixed, they
produced salt water.  The most interesting happening of this was the next
year, when a young lady passed out as the teacher swallowed his drink...

## if you have the stupidity to try this, make sure you know alot about
chemistry and that you get the concentrations right!!! ##
From: glyle@marie.seas.ucla.edu (George Lyle (233789))
Not quite a prank, but dang funny:

While I was in a high school chem class, the teacher was
showing how to properly heat a test tube with a Bunsen
burner.  He said "never point the mouth of the tube
toward you like this (pointing tube at his head)"  Always
point the test tube away from your body (turns test tube
away).  At that instant, the alcohol/acid solution in the
tube shot out and ignited, flaming a 5 foot periodic
table on the wall.  Half of class broke out laughing while
other half was frozen in seats.  Teacher grabs fire bottle
and puts out fire.  Teacher never gave that demo in the
same way again!
From: tomcheng@soda.berkeley.edu (Thomas T. Cheng)
We must have had the same chem teacher or something.  The exact same
thing happened in our class, except it was our homework that caught on fire.
From: michaec@beaufort.sfu.ca (Strider Coyle)
        This happened to me, except the *bottom* of the tube blew off
and lit my binder on fire.
From: isoner@clt.fx.net (Isoner)
My science teacher gave a demonstration on electric current by makeing
circits in beakers of salt water.  Then he dropped it so that half of it
was in a beaker and the other half was out.  Theoreticaly he should have
been able to pick it up with no problem because it was not completeing a
circut.  would have been safe, except he was leaning against the metal
plumbing.  He almost put a dent in the chalk board.

Later in the year he used the gas lines in the class rooms to blow
bubbles and them ignite them with a match.  There is still a scorch mark
uon the celing.
From: Trish or CJ 
When I was in high school I pulled off this particular prank.  This one guy
in the class was always pissing me off, so I conspired to make a fool of him
in front of the class.  The next day during chem lab, we were informed that
we would be using concentrated sulfuric acid, which is clear.  Anyway,
during the lab, I took the beaker full of sulfuric acid (and this is the
kind of stuff that burns through flesh) and hid it behind a desk.  I then
filled an identical beaker full of steaming-hot, but not burning-hot water.
I used a wax pencil to write on the outside.  'Concentrated Sulfuric Acid'.
Then I walked over to this guy that was pissing me off and got his
attention.  I took a medicine dropper, filled it with the stuff (which he
thought was acid) and shot it all over his face.  It was hot water, so he
thought he was burning!  He started screaming, 'Cj threw acid on me!!!' And
promptly began thrashing and shrieking.  Everyone stared at me.  Then I held
the beaker aloft, threw my head back and drank the whole thing.  The teacher
nearly dropped dead on the spot.  The rest you can just imagine.  --CJ Calo
From: rcousine@malibu.sfu.ca (Ryan John Cousineau)
My High School science courses were similarly interesting.

We had a Science 10 teacher who wasn't usually much for science. As a
demonstration, he dropped a blob of sodium into a pan of water. Very
impressive. Especially when, with a "pop" the sodium exploded in front
of the teacher. He did the demo for the next block with a much smaller
piece of sodium...

Another good one was our Chem 12 teacher, who left some disgusting,
viscous black mixture on his lab table at the front of the class. We
were all busy at our desks, when all of a sudden there was a huge,
loud "POP!" and the sucker exploded! Blew black goo up to the ceiling,
over the front desks, down to the floor. The stuff on the ceiling
never did come off, and some of the students would no longer sit in
the front row.
From: gandalf@gibeah.connected.com (Gandalf the Grey)
Ammonium tri-iodide is an extremely fun chemical.  But you have to be
careful.  My chem prof played a really cool joke on this really annoying
bastard in my class.  Real pop-off, and he deserved it.  You simply fix
iodine crystals (expensive) and ammonia (roughtly as much as the crystals
can dissolve into).  While it is liquid, it's reasonably safe.  Don't use
more than a drop on anything, since it will explode once it's dry, and
can be dangerous.

However, when placed on a countertop in a very small amount, the first
person to touch it gets quite a surprise and a stain on their skin and
doesn't come off easily.  Hilarious actually.  I've only made it once,
From: eapu160@rigel.oac.uci.edu (Mr. Wizard)
I know that this doesn't really count as a "prank", but once in high
school chem we were doing potassium experiments, and there were 36
students (so there were 37 people including the teacher).  Each student
has 20 test tubes full of water and into each one he or she places a small
amount of potassium (the experiment was supposed to test the production
of hydrogen.)  After the experiment, each person puts the test tubes into
a central trash can (for those of you slow in math, that's 740 test tubes
EACH ONE of which is pumping out hydrogen.)  Later on we were doing tests
with glowing splints, and the teacher said "don't put a burning splint into
the trash can" (for obvious reasons)  Well, one girl thought that a glowing
splint (not burning) would be ok.  All I can say is that the column of
red flame was more spectacular than any movie nuclear blast!  In fact,
to this day (6 years later), there is still a very large burn mark  on
the ceiling of that classroom.

Another one with the same teacher was another potassium mishap.  Since
potassium cannot be stored in water, it is stored in a sort of oil.  Well,
he took a golf-ball size chunk and held it in is hand as he cut it.  Un-
fortunately, the oil was slippery and the chunk fell into the beaker.
Well, what happened was that the beaker EXPLODED and impaled the teacher
with several bits of glass (he was in hospital for a day or two) and the
desk was strewn with a hundred or so pock-marks.

However, one real prank was with the SAME teacher was in order to keep
sanity and good behaviour in class, he would keep 2 squirt guns with
him.  One with water, and the other with SILVER NITRATE SOLUTION.  (this
stuff looks just like water but it turns skin BLACK on contact)  He shot
about 4 people during the year, but only one girl (the same one with the
hydrogen) got the silver nitrate (on the FACE!!!).

Finally, this was one I did in college.  My first year in the dorms,
I would keep a bottle of root beer which someone would continually drink
without my knowing.  After I couldn't stand it anymore, I went to a
friend in the chem dept. and asked him for an acid/base indicator that
turns base pink (I forget what the indicator was), and put a bit in my
root beer bottle.  The plan was that human urine is somewhat base, so
when the culprit drank my root beer, he began to pee pink.  Needless
to say, about 12 hours later, this guy thought he was gonna die!
From: daudo@bcars201.bnr.ca (Dau Do)
Yeah, these stories remind me about my science teacher.  He's used to wear
a prescripted sunglass so that no one knew that he's sleeping while students
were writing test.  Anyway, after one of the experiments that used acids, one
guy in my class pour the acid on his desk.  He didn't know and took off his
glass put on the wet spot.  When he put it on again, his skin burned left a
red circular around his eyes ...
From: lister@dbreath.uucp (Lister)
        Well I am a Medical Technologist, and through the years in the field
we have pulled some good jokes.  One of the funny ones I can remember is a day
when I was working in Hematology.  One of the other techs, that was working in
Chemistry, was this real whining hypochondriac.  Well he came over to me
telling me that he felt really sick and was wondering if I would run A CBC and
Differential on him.  So I drew his blood and labeled it and it to hematology
and ran it.. It was normal as normal could be, but I decided to have a bit of
fun.  Earlier in the day a known CLL patient had been in and gave some blood,
so I took one of the extra tubes, poured it into a new tube and labeled it
with this techs info (making sure to make a mark as to not confuse the real
sample up).  Well I ran the CLL pt. blood and made a smear, then I went over
to him and said "you had better take a look at this".  He came over and looked
at the results and then looked at the smear, and went a bit pale and said that
I must have mixed it up, with somebody else.  So I gave him the falsely
labeled tube and he ran it himself getting the same results.  You should have
seen his face I thought he was gonna Die right there! Anyway I let him suffer
for about 2 min. or so then gave him the real results and from the look on his
face I though I was gonna die!
From: lwric1@MFS04.cc.monash.edu.au (LUKE RICHARDS)
        My Yr 12 chemistry teacher (young guy, had only been teaching for
about three or four years) told us about the time when he was at College
doing his dip ed, and he was working with sodium. He was pouring the kerosine
off the oil and down the sink, and there was one chip of sodium left at the
bottom of the tin he was emptying (unfortunately for him). Well, it fell out,
and because someone had been using the sink before him there was water in
there. The sodium ignited, flared and set the kerosine on fire which then
raced along the length of the sink and down the plughole with one almighty
        He said he had to have a haircut that night because he lost his
fringe and both his eyebrows.
From: gapv64@cent.gla.ac.uk (Brian Ewins)
Yet another exploding light metal story....

A friend of mine was recently doing a PhD in Chemistry in
the building next door to where I am writing this... anyway,
his project seemed to involve increasingly more dangerous
chemicals for no good reason.
        Normally, you sign out all chemicals, and they're all
accounted for at the end of the day. But, towards the end of
his PhD, he opened one of his cupboards to discover a jar
of Sodium that he'd got, never used, and the paperwork (it
turned out) for it had since been lost.
        This was *2 Kg* of sodium in a big lump.

Sodiums not very dense, that's a big f**ker.
        Anyhow, the fate of this lost lump was to accompany
some of the students out to a lake in the park, where they
threw it...still in its jar (that they managed to get this
far at all is kinda surprising because they were all completely
blootered at the time).
        And then, in a masterpiece of forward planning, they
got out the airgun :o) ... 'cos they were all drunk, and the jar
(now floating on the lake) was fairly thick, it took quite a few
shots to break.
        Surprisingly, the thing didn't explode...it just sat there
burning. (obviously only the surface of the lump was reacting, but
even so...)  So they all sat down, cracked open some more beers,
and watched the sodium light up the night. Cool.
What follows is not an invented joke, but a true story, although I may have
embellished it a little over many years of telling. "Sister Karen" was a nun
and a Chemistry teacher who had come to work on her Master's degree with my now
 retired colleague Prof Herbert Meislich , who happens to be Jewish. Her first
task was to monobrominate a ketone. She added her Br2, and started the stirrer
as instructed....nothing happened ..... STILL no decolorisation...... after
some time she is getting worried, and asks another student, who told her -
"See that man over there - that's Prof McKelvie, ask him" A slightly out of
breath nun comes up to me - "Prof McKelvie? My reaction won't work !" My evil
mind was thinking WHICH of her reactions was not working, but that's another st
story. ) Anyway, I could have told her that bromination is dependent on making
the enol, and this is promoted ny acid, so that the HBr produced will aid
enolisation and all will be well. BUT - that morning I'd found on the floor a
Star of David that had fallen off some Jewish girl's neck, and I'd been looking
 for the owner... INSPIRATION! - the problem is that you've had the wrong
theoretical training ! Just a moment ....I tied the Star of David around her
apparatus, added a few drops of hydrochloric acid just to help things along,
and announced that NOW it would work in five minutes ! It took four minutes
and 50 seconds by my watch. "SEE?!" She had the brains and a good Irish sense
of humour to realise she was being "had", and I explained that it was her
Organic Chemistry that was being deficient, not theology......
(Aftermath - two Jewish girls came down from upstairs and wanted to borrow the
gold chain so that THEIR reactions would work better........)  Neil McKelvie

Joachim Verhagen     		   Email:J.C.D.Verhagen@fys.ruu.nl
Department of molecular biofysics, University of Utrecht
Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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