The Mathematician and the Three Lost Men

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 to the end of the canyon. Someone’s bound to hear us by then!”

So he leans over the basket and screams out, “Helllloooooo! Where are we?”

(They hear the echo several times).

MOTEGI Hot Air Balloon International Campionship

Fifteen minutes later, they hear this echoing voice: “Helllloooooo! You’re lost!” The shouter comments, “That must have been a mathematician.” Puzzled, his friend asks, “Why do you say that?”

“For three reasons. First, he took a long time to answer, second, he was absolutely correct, and, third, his answer was absolutely useless.”

Source: Math 2.0 Forum (Please inform me if you know the original author.)

The Mystery and Mystique of Magic Squares

Magic squares are square arrays of numbers that have the same sum horizontally, vertically, and diagonally. It is the arrangement of n^2 numbers in an n \times n square. They were known to mathematicians since antiquity and they were believed to have mystical powers.  The most popular magic square is the 3 \times 3 Lo Shu square dated about 650 BC as shown in the first figure.

Magic Square

Magic squares are of different sizes. The magic squares with 16, 25, and 36 numbers are shown below. Of course there are still larger magic squares. In fact, in 1663, Muramatsu, a Japanese mathematician constructed a 19 \times 19 magic square. Some mathematicians even found ways to generate magic squares. The 3 \times 3 square above can be generated using elementary school algebra. » Read more

7 Hilarious Jokes About Mathematicians

An engineer thinks that his equations are an approximation to reality. A physicist thinks reality is an approximation to his equations. A mathematician doesn’t care.

Albert Einstein

Mathematicians are like Frenchmen: whatever you say to them, they translate it into their own language, and forthwith it means something entirely different. — Goethe


A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn’t there. (Charles R Darwin)


Old mathematicians never die; they just lose some of their functions. » Read more

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