Calculus Joke

In high school, my friend Gabe showed this to the Calculus teacher, Mr. Sherry:

Mr. Sherry glared for a moment, and then silently made the following change…

18 thoughts on “Calculus Joke

  1. This reminds me of my favorite math joke.

    Person A: What is the integral of one over cabin d cabin?
    Person B: Log cabin! Ha ha ha!
    Person A: No, actually it’s a houseboat. You forgot to add the C.

    1. Ooh, I like that one. Unlike the “devil” one, it actually makes punny use of the constant of integration. I spent a few minutes trying to think of another, but this is sadly my least-feeble result:

      Q: Why does cookie monster prefer indefinite integrals to definite ones?
      A: Because +C is for +Cookie, and that’s good enough for him.

  2. A friend sent me the following “proof”:

    girls = time * money and…
    time = money, so…
    girls = (money)^2 and since…
    money = root(evil),
    girls = ( root(evil))^2 so…
    girls = evil.

    I saw an error in his proof, and sent the following correction:

    girls = time + money
    time = money, so…
    girls = 2(money) and since…
    money = root(evil),
    girls = 2(root(evil)) so…
    (1/2)girls = root(evil), for non-negative values of evil (and I’m pretty sure that evil is negative)

    1. Hmm! Clever. Who says math isn’t relevant to teenagers’ lives?

      I wonder, though, whether either proof withstands unit analysis. After all, if girls = time * money, then girls are measured in “hour-dollars,” which is an unusual unit. But if girls = time + money, then we’ve got to find a common unit for time and money, which seems equally difficult.

        1. Mmm, true. There’s something very American about measuring time in those units. (“C’mon, I’ve been waiting in this line for almost $30…”)

  3. Three math professors walk into a bar. Two of them complain to each other that the level of education has come down so much lately. The third wants to play a joke on them, excuses himself, walks to a waitress and says to her: “When you come to my table, and I ask you a question, please answer ‘one third x to the third'”.

    A few minutes later, the third professor asks for the bill, and says to the waitress: “Oh, by the way, do you know the integral of x squared?”. She answers “one third x to the third”. The two professors agree that, perhaps, the general base of knowledge is perhaps not so bad after all.

    The three professors exit the bar, and the waitress mumbles under her breath “…plus a contant…”

  4. Hey Ben!
    I saw this joke, and thought it an incredible coincidence, because my math teach was also named Mr. Sherry.
    After some investigating, though, I heard that you went to the Commonwealth school (I myself am class of 2012) – so this Sherry is the same Rob Sherry that I knew during my time there! (Our Gabes, however, were different.)
    Hi! I love your blog!
    I certainly hope you’ve shown it Mr. Sherry. He’s always been an amazing teacher, but I’m sure he can still empathize with a lot of this.

    1. Hey Yonadav, thanks for reading! Always nice to hear from another commie.

      I haven’t talked to Sherry since starting the blog, but I’ll see if I can find his email address. I always loved his classes – it was a wild stroke of educational good fortune that I got to have him as a teacher 3 out of 4 years at Commonwealth.

    1. Probably easiest to just take an intro calculus course! (But just in case: Gabe’s original joke depends on the fact that the integral of “d[variable]” is “[variable]” and he’s chosen the rather silly variable name “evil.” And Sherry’s follow-up depends on the fact that students (including Gabe, here) always forget to add +C, which is necessary for this kind of indefinite integral.)

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