## Math Knowledge

Two mathematicians were having dinner in a restaurant, arguing about the average mathematical knowledge of the American public. One mathematician claimed that this average was woefully inadequate, the other maintained that it was surprisingly high.

"I'll tell you what," said the cynic. "Ask that waitress a simple math question. If she gets it right, I'll pick up dinner. If not, you do." He then excused himself to visit the men's room, and the other called the waitress over.

"When my friend comes back," he told her, "I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to respond `one-third x cubed.' There's twenty bucks in it for you." She agreed.

The cynic returned from the bathroom and called the waitress over. "The food was wonderful, thank you," the mathematician started. "Incidentally, do you know what the integral of x squared is?"

The waitress looked pensive; almost pained. She looked around the room, at her feet, made gurgling noises, and finally said, "Um, one-third x cubed?"

So the cynic paid the check. The waitress wheeled around, walked a few paces away, looked back at the two men, and muttered under her breath, "...plus a constant."

I'm sorry, but that did make me smile! Reminds me of when I was teaching calc, I would tell my students that if they forgot the +C in an indefinite integral, their grade would be C+! Actually, I wasn't kidding...

BTW, there are many more of these at the above web site. Many are one-liners with that twisted sense of humor characteristic of Steven Wright or Jackie Vernon. I will not apologize for laughing!

Here are a few more...

1) Save the Whales -- collect the whole set.

2) If you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand...

3) The early bird may catch the worm, but it's the 2nd mouse that gets the cheese.

Anonymous said...

I have a "real life" version of that joke -- when I was 4 or 5, a geek friend of my dad's trained me to recite "The integral of x is x squared over 2". Many years later when I took Calculus, I went back and pointed out the missing constant. ;-)

mathmom said...

hmm I thought maybe using my openid login would make my avatar show back up but it just messed up my nickname...

Florian said...

Hehe ..

Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall,
Aleph-null bottles of beer,
You take one down, and pass it around,
Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall.

(repeat)