collected by Andrej and Elena Cherkaev
- The suggested collection of mathematical folklore might be enjoyable for mathematicians and for students because every joke contains a portion of truth or lie about our profession. The selected jokes and sayings contain something essential about mathematics, the mathematical way of thinking, or mathematical pop-culture.
We have slightly edited and systematized selected jokes, and added a few new ones.
We are concerned that publication of sacral lecture jokes may endanger the respect to math. teachers in freshmen classes. Our excuse for this risky ethnographic research is that the majority of the jokes already exists on the Internet.
Sometimes, people tend to attribute the jokes either to their beloved teachers (Peter Lax is so far the champion) or to legendary figures as Norbert Wiener or Paul
Erdos; similarly, physical jokes are attributed to Albert Einstein or Niels Bohr and geometrical theorems - to Euclid. A number of collected jokes we learned from our professors in Saint-Petersburg. Generally, attributing the jokes is hopeless. Indeed, the phrasing of the narrator is as important as the essence of the humor (if this essence does exist at all). To our mind, a joke goes to "public domain" immediately after being created or modified and there should be no authorship in it. Most of the collected sayings and jokes are repeated in a number of webpages, which makes it difficult to credit a particular Internet source. Instead, we thank all Internet collectors of math. jokes.Please email us your comments and new stories: firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
- Andrej and Elena