Archive for the ‘Math Humor’ Category

Math of the Brown Sharpie

Before the world-wide-web, I doubt that math cartoons could seriously have been a popular or widely read endeavor.  Today, geeky cartoons have their own fan followings curtesy of the long tail.  Probably you’ve heard of xkcd and Indexed.  If you haven’t seen Brown Sharpie, you should check it out.  Here’s a couple of my favorites (since many of you are on Spring Break).

Euler’s Formula on Spring Break

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New Math: A Formula for Everything

I think that I will have to start (or end?) every class session next fall with one of these fabulous formulas from New Math.


Some of them are obvious (once you see them) and some of them just have me laughing out loud because of the simplistic way Craig Damrauer can depict such a complex subject. A few of my favorites:




Inspired by these great formulas, I think we should have a contest to see who can come up with the best “new math formula” for math words like Calculus, Algebra, Statistics, etc.

Take your best stab at your favorite math word, and then link here.

Here’s my contribution, and then I’m back to work on my dissertation (where all my creative energy is flowing these days).


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Truth in Numbers

Another great contribution from xkcd.

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The Math Purity Test (and more)

Every once in a while, you get the feeling that you’ve seen everything there is to see on the Internet in your subject area … and then … you discover a new, untapped pocket of great stuff!

Today’s dissertation break brings you a few quirky pages put up Erich Friedman, from Stetson University.  He’s got a collection of math humor and other math resources, some of which I’ve never seen before:

The Math Purity Test (I think this has got to be a first day of class assignment for any Real Analysis course or a last day of class assignment for a Calc II course)

Periodic Table of Mathematicians (click on an element and get a bio of the nearest spelling matched mathematician)


Mathematical Horoscope (here’s mine)


A Math Romance (I’m quoting this one here)

They integrated from the very point of origin. Her curves were continuous, and even though he was odd, he was a real number. The day their lines first intersected, they became an ordered pair. From then on it was a continuous function. They were both in their prime, so in next to no time they were horizontal and parallel. She was awed by the magnitude of his perpendicular line, and he was amazed by her conical projections. “Bisect my angle!” she postulated each time she reached her local maximum. He taught her the chain rule as she implicitly defined the amplitude of his simple harmonic motion. They underwent multiple rotations of their axes, until at last they reached the vertex, the critical point, their finite limit. After that they slept like logs. Later she found him taking a right-handed limit, that was a problem, because it was an improper form. He meanwhile had realized that she was irrational, not to mention square. She approached her ex, so they diverged.

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Real World Metrics

From xkcd:

Maybe Common Craft can tackle Metrics in Plain English next?

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Algebra: Weightlifting for the Brain

A holiday gift from me to you. My friend Mat Moore is a budding illustrator looking for work, and so I commissioned him to draw me a cartoon for Christmas to give to all of you. Here is the cartoon.

This cartoon was inspired from a quote attributed to a high school algebra teacher named Dean Sherman.

“…people don’t lift weights so that they will be prepared should, one day, [someone] knock them over on the street and lay a barbell across their chests. You lift weights so that you can knock over a defensive lineman, or carry your groceries or lift your grandchildren without being sore the next day. You do math exercises so that you can improve your ability to think logically, so that you can be a better lawyer, doctor, architect, prison warden or parent. MATH IS MENTAL WEIGHT TRAINING. It is a means to an end (for most people), and not an end in itself.”

Mat has given the cartoon a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license, which means that you are allowed to use it on tests, print it and hang it in your classroom, or use it in presentations, as long as you don’t change it, don’t make money off it, and keep the attribution to Mat. You can download the jpg file for this cartoon here.

Hope you enjoy and use the cartoon! There is a whole series in the works as soon as Mat gets his website up and running. If you need a cartoon for some nagging idea that you’ve got in your head, but lack the drawing skills, send Mat an email at garlicandcoffee at gmail dot com and negotiate a price.

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