Mathematics is a universal language, and the homes of its greatest poets circle the globe: Greece gave us Pythagoras and Euclid, England Newton and Russell, France Descartes, Germany Gauss, India Ramanujan. These are geniuses who will never be forgotten. Yet some names, unlike the foregoing, are undeservedly obscure: the Hungarian geometer Janos Bolyai, the Italian set theorist Cesare Burali-Forte, and most of all the Irish logician, Phil O’Mathy.

Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.


  1. There are only three kinds of people in the world – those who can count and those who can’t.

        • There are really ten kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

          • The world is divided into two classes:
            people who say “The world is divided into two classes”,
            and people who say: The world is divided into two classes:
            people who say: “The world is divided into two classes”,
            and people who say: The world is divided into two classes:
            people who say: …

        • Sorry, didn’t know it was your joke, Chris. Mr. Schilling’s joking just reminded me of that joke.

  2. A mathematician and an engineer are both presented with the same problem: in a room is a stove, a table, and a teakettle of water sitting on the table, and they are to boil the water. Both solve it the same way, by placing the teakettle on the stove and turning the stove on.

    The two are then presented with the same situation, except the teakettle is on the floor. The engineer places the teakettle on the stove and turns the stove on. The mathematician, however, picks up the teakettle and places it on the table, then turns to leave. When the people conducting the test challenge this, the mathematician responds, “What? I reduced it to a problem whose solution is known.”

  3. Three statisticians are out at the lake, duck hunting. They flush a duck from its hiding place in the reeds, and it begins to fly away. The first statistician takes aim, and misses the duck a meter to the right. So the second statistician takes aim, and misses the duck a meter to the left. The third statistician then yells, “We got it, boys!”

  4. At the risk of being a douche, I find it interesting that you say, “…the homes of [mathematic’s] greatest poets circle the globe,” and then proceed to name seven countries from Europe and one from Asia.

    • Next shaggy-dog pun, I’ll try to research it better.

      • A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim walk into a bar.

        The bartender says, “This joke is not very inclusive…can we also get a Buddhist, a Scientologist, a Mormon, a Hindu, a Wiccan, a Sikh, a Rastafarian, a Zoroastrian, and an atheist in here? Thanks, I appreciate it. You guys are the best.”

        • An Irish priest and a minister walk into a bar, which knocks both of them down. The priest says “Faith, ’tis a low bar.” The minister replies “The Bible says it’s sufficient!”

          (No religion.)

        • A Hindu, a Buddhist, and a Jain walk into a bar, and the bartender says “Isn’t this a Sikh joke”?

      • See, if I didn’t hate puns… and knew what a “shaggy-dog pun” was… and had I noticed the pun in this post (I only just saw it now)… I might not have said anything. Sorry.

        • The shaggy dog story is a very old kind of joke. You tell a story. You embellish it. You spend a good deal of time getting into a narrative.

          Then you finish up with something like “silly rabbi, kicks are for tribs!” or something like that. The point is to make your opponent feel regret for waiting the precious moments for a payoff that is Just That Weak.

        • No harm done, but I am curious: if you didn’t notice the pun, what did you think the past was about?

          • A very weird love note to math? That’s why I was so confused…

      • Horray! Somebody else knows that terrible, terrible joke.

    • What’s yellow and equivalent to Choice?

      What’s big and gray and undecidable?

      • Zorn’s lemon and the Continuum Hippopotamus, respectively.

  5. Here’s a pretty good set:
    (Jaybird removed malicious website and suggests “just google ‘math jokes'”)

  6. What’s black and blue and ha….

    Wait… no… I had to Rot13 that one on a dirty joke thread. It’s got no place here.

Comments are closed.