Tag Archives: humor

Calculus Humor

Completely frivolous post.

OK, my Halloween “costume” at school this year was pretty lame, but I actually did put a minute amount of thought into it.


In case you can’t read the sign, it says \int 3(ice)^2d(ice).  If you remember some calculus and treat ice as your variable, that works out to ice^3–An Ice Cube!  Ha!

But it gets better.  As there weren’t any bounds, adding the random constant of integration makes it ice^3+C or “Ice Cube + C”, or maybe “Ice Cube + Sea”–I was really dressed up as an Iceberg.  Ha! Ha!  Having no idea how to dress like an iceberg, I wore a light blue shirt for the part of the iceberg above the water and dark blue pants for the part below the water.  I tried to be clever even if the underlying joke was just “punny”.

Then a colleague posted another integral joke I’d seen sometime before.  It has some lovely extensions, so I’ll share that, too.

What is \int \frac{d(cabin)}{cabin}?

At first glance, it’s a “log cabin.”  Funny.

But notationally, the result is actually ln(cabin), so the environmentalists out there will appreciate that the answer is really a “natural log cabin.”  Even funnier.

The most correct solution is ln(cabin)+C.  If you call the end “+ Sea”, then the most clever answer is that \int \frac{d(cabin)}{cabin} is a “Houseboat”.  Ha!

Hope you all had some fun.

Clever math

Here are what I think are three clever uses of math by students.

This was a gift certificate I received from a student last month from a graduating senior.


In my last week of classes at my former school in May, 2013, my entire Honors Precalculus class showed up wearing these shirts designed by one of my students, M.  The back listed all of the students and a lovely “We will miss you.”  As much as I liked the use of a polar function, I loved that M opted not for the simplest possible version of the equation (r=2-2sin(\theta )), but for a rotation–a perfect use of my transformations theme for the course.


Now for a throwback.  When I was a graduate student and TA at Syracuse from 1989-1990, one of my fellow grad students designed this shirt for all of the math and math ed students.  I don’t remember who designed it, but I’ve always loved this shirt.


Math Humor, II

Here’s two more funny math t-shirts.  The first image a high school classmate  shared with me (Thanks, Tammy!), and the second I found at the MIT bookstore.  Enjoy!