Science jokes

May 27, 2013 • 12:58 pm

It’s nearing the end of a long day, and I’ve been working on my book, an onerous and sometimes dispiriting task. How about some humor?

Martin Robbins, the “Lay Scientist” at the eponymous Guardian site, collected 100 science jokes that he published a while back. I find a lot of them lame and think we can do better.

Now I know some of you science-y types have a favorite joke. Here are two of my own, both related to physics:

A neutron goes into a bar and asks the bartender, “How much for a beer?”
The bartender replies, “For you, no charge.”


Two molecules are walking down the street and they run in to each other.
One says to the other, “Are you all right?”
“No, I lost an electron!”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive!”

In the interest of Professor Ceiling Cat’s spirits, cough up yours, make sure it’s fun,—and explain it if it’s really arcane!

Oh, here’s one that Diane MacPherson posted today:

Diana MacPherson joke

Oh, and here’s a Penn and Teller video (a magic trick with a cat!) that reader Natalie just sent me:

h/t: Michael

194 thoughts on “Science jokes

  1. A guy walks into a bar and says “I’ll have H2O.” Another guy says “I’ll have H2O, too.” The second guy died.

  2. Awww the book writing can be dispiriting? I hope my little joke amused then.

    I personally love all jokes about the noble gases. I have been making them since high school (which was long, long ago). Here is a good one:

    Helium walks into a bar,
    The bar tender says “We don’t serve noble gasses in here.”
    Helium doesn’t react.

    And here, I know these are supposed to be science-y jokes but I love this site about Asterix the Latin comic strip (does it count that Sean Carroll retweeted my tweet of this to make it science-y?):

    1. Thank you so much for the link. I’m a great fan of Asterix but never learnt latin. This makes the books even funnier.

      1. I think I was exposed to Asterix in high school Latin but I had no idea it was so popular! People really love it.

    2. Loved those cartoons! Haven’t seen them in . . . well, decades. However, I always thought of them as “Asterix And Obelix”, not just Asterix. This reminder has inspired me to turn my kids on to this hilarious comic. Are they still issued in oversized book form I wonder?

      1. I believe they are – at least they are on Amazon…it would be cool to get them for ereaders too!

  3. Einstein, Newton and Pascal were outside playing hide-and-seek. Einstein volunteers to be ‘it.’ He closes his eyes and starts counting. Pascal runs off behind some trees. Newton grans a stick and draws a square around him in the dirt. Einstein opens his eyes and see Newton. “I found you!” EInstein says. Newton replies, “No you haven’t, you found one Newton per square metre, you’ve found Pascal.”

  4. These two involve math and philosophy but will likely be appreciated by science fans.

    A startled looking polar bear approaches some others out on the ice.

    “Haven’t seen you around here before. Where you from?” asked one of the other bears.

    “I’m not sure. I used to be a rectangular bear until some guy started talking about coordinate transform.

    As closing time approached, the bartender asked Rene Decartes if he wanted one for the road.

    The philosopher shook his head, said, “I think not”, and vanished without a trace.
    That’s all I’ve got.

            1. You have rectangular coordinates such as the Cartesian coordinates (although that coordinate system probably precedes Rene Descartes by centuries) and circular (polar) coordinates which identify a point on a plane or in space using angles and a distance. Converting an equation in one coordinate system to an equation in another coordinate system is a coordinate transform. Of course other coordinate systems exist but they’re generally not associated with bears.

              1. Hi, thanks. I’d already realised I missed the point (see below – “kickself”). Polar. I suppose that’s why they need the ice (water being a polar solvent).

      1. Coordinate transform is used to convert diagrams between different coordinate systems. You may want to think of it in terms of converting the image on a globe to a flat map projection.

        In the joke it’s used to convert from the rectangular system to polar. Of course the transforms don’t apply to bears or anything else outside mathematics. Thus the humor.

          1. Dave,

            I should have written ‘Cartesian bear’ rather than ‘rectangular bear’. More people would have got the joke without having to inquire about it.

      2. Coordinates in the plane are given as a pair of numbers, usually as a distance along the x axis from the origin and a distance along the y axis from the origin. This is the cartesian or rectangular coordinate system.

        An alternative is to imagine a line drawn from the origin to the point and give the length of the line and the angle from a fixed line drawn through the origin (conventionally the x-axis). This system is known as the polar coordinate system.

  5. Two chromosomes were walking down the street. One of them turns to the other and asks “Do these genes make me look fat?”

    Sorry. I know that is a groaner joke. 🙂

    1. This one’s groanier:

      A man goes into a pub and says “I’d like a pint of adenosine triphosphate, please”. The barman says “Sure, here you are, that’s 80p.”

        1. Glad you liked it. The site I got it from completely ruined it by explaining it immediately, even including a brief description of the British currency system, so I’ll never know if I’d have got it without help.

      1. Okay, I am not quite as sciency as some of you guys so I had to do a Google search for adenosine triphosphate. Now I get it. ATP.

        Good one.

      1. ‘Er ya go! That’ll be hard to top, Ben, ‘cept possibly by the AiG’s Young-Earth Creation “Museum” we here in Kentucky are saddled with; it too is a science joke of behemoth proportions…

  6. One of my favourites, taken from “The Big Bang Theory”:

    Why did the chicken cross the mobius strip? To get to the same side.

    1. This is my favorite joke question. But my favorite answer is “Because it was so in-Kleined.”

  7. The two you posted are my favourite sciencey jokes already. So here’s a different one:

    Why can’t programmers tell the difference between Hallowe’en and Christmas? Because OCT31 = DEC25.

  8. Not exactly a joke but the NaCl song always puts a smile on my face. Written by the McGarrigles.

    You can google “NaCl song” for some videos (I don’t trust myself not to embed the video).

    I have to say that my favorite version is by the Chenille Sisters but I can’t find a video of that.

  9. I’m a dyslexic agnostic with insomnia… I lie awake at night wondering if there really is a dog!

  10. Q: What is the fastest way to determine the sex of a chromosome?
    A: Pull down its genes.

  11. A biologist, a physicist and a mathematician are sitting in a cafe when they see two people walk into a house across the street. A few minutes later, they see three people walk out. “Wow,” says the biologist, “Those people must have reproduced!” The physicist says, “The error on our measurement of the number of people is plus or minus one.” Then the mathematician says, “If one more person walks into that house, it’ll be empty!”

  12. So Werner Heisenberg was driving home one night and got pulled over. The cop looks at his driver’s license and says “Mr. Heisenberg do you know fast you were going?” Heisenberg says; “no, but I know where I am.”

    1. Actually, Heisenberg hated driving cars, every time he looked at the speedometer, he got lost.

  13. Well, how about a math joke…

    Q: What is the line integral of Western Europe?

    A: Zero. The Poles are in Eastern Europe.

  14. How about a religious joke? Pictured here is some church in Africa where a lady gets possessed by a demon dog. She crawls on all fours and barks like the demon dog. Then the pastor miraculously frees her by calling unto The Jesus.

    YouTube code: gEGkq1MyOFA

  15. OK, again maths rather than science:

    How do you prove that all odd numbers are prime?

    Mathematician’s answer: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, the rest is seen by induction.

    Phycisist’s answer: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9, oops: experimental error, 11 is prime, 13 is prime, 15, oops…..

    Creationist’s answer: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime………

  16. Amy: Do you want know my favorite anagram of “Banach-Tarski?”

    Paul: Sure.

    Amy: “Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski.”


    The Banach-Tarski Theorem says you can take a sphere, and chop it up into non-overlapping pieces, and then rearrange all the pieces into two identical spheres of the same size as the original. It relies on the counter intuitiveness of infinitely small pieces.

  17. A systems biologist is walking along a country road and comes across a shepherd and with a very large flock.

    The systems biologists says, “If I can guess exactly how many sheep are in your flock, will you give me one of them”

    Shepherd says “Sure, why not.”

    “There are 4,385 sheep in your flock.”

    “That’s amazing!” Says the shepherd. “Go ahead and pick one, you’ve won the wager.”

    As the systems biologist is walking away with his prize, the shepherd calls after him…

    “Wait a moment, sir. If I can guess your profession, will you return my sheep?”

    “All right, that seems only fair.”

    “You’re a systems biologist!”

    The systems biologist is taken aback – “That’s right – but how could you possibly know?”

    “Because you’re carrying my dog.”

  18. The S/H joke is cute.

    Ouch, science jokes that I know!? Only trivial ones (and my new favorite ftl joke has been taken):

    * Entropy isn’t what it used to be.

    And an OB Uranus joke:

    * Uranus was observed at close range once. _Never again_.

    And of course, some biology:

    * Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is a new animal in the village today.”

    They had no idea what animal it was. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” So they did.

    “It has a massive leg. It can be a rhino”, said the first man.
    “It has a tail. It can be a giraffe”, said the next.
    “It has a trunk. Since trunks only evolved once, it must be an elephant”, said the third person and ended the story.

    The moral of the story is that evolution works. [Take that, jainism!]

  19. 1: why did the scientist install a knocker on her front door? To win the no-bell prize.

    2: there are only 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary, those, who don’t, and those who undertand trinary.

  20. This is why this is my favorite website. *deep breath*

    A fellow accidentally ingested some alpha-L-glucose and discovered that he had no ill effects. Apparently he was ambidextrose.

    “This is singular,” observed one to the other. “Every one of these cats gave the same answers.”
    “Aw,” drawled the other, “they’re all a bunch of cheetahs.

    Did you hear about the biologist who had twins? She baptized one and kept the other as a control.

    Q: What tool is used to measure a hole in the head?
    A: A Phineas gage.

    Q: Why didn’t the dendrochronologist get married?
    A: All he ever dated was trees!

    Q: What is the only thing worse than a mecium?
    A: A Paramecium

    Q: What does the H. in Jesus H. Christ stand for?
    A: Haploid.

    Q: What did the antibody go to the Halloween costume party?
    A: As an “immunogobulin”.

    Q: What’s a biologists definition of a graph?
    A: An animal with a long neck

    What did one thermophilic bacteriologist say online to another?
    “I think you are really hot. Your PCR mine?”

    There are some happy sciences, but others are not so happy. A case in point concerns embryologists who tend to be a morose and saddened group than most. No wonder. One of the first things they learn is that our lives are ova before they’ve begun.

    A red blood cell walked into a busy restaurant. The hostess asked, “Would you like to sit at the bar?”
    The red cell answered, “No thanks, I’ll just circulate.

    How do you recognize a native American cell biologist?
    He lives in ATP!

    They were the first to attempt to colonize Mars. They knew it would be difficult , but they were determined to succeed.
    They had landed with grass seeds to plant and embryos of horse, sheep and cattle. But the grass wouldn’t grow, and none of the calves survived. The horses and sheep were doing well, but there not enough animals to meet their needs.
    So they sent a message to earth asking for more sheep and horses and a replacement for the cattle and grass. They particularly wanted an animal that could be used as meat in place of beef.
    Earth radioed back asking if venison would be satisfactory and the colonists replied it was.
    Finally a space shuttle arrived with the needed supplies. The bill of lading was rushed to the leader of the colony who then spoke to his consul, “we got everything we asked for,” he shouted. . . . “They sent mare zygotes and doe zygotes and little lambs and ivy.”

    1. I liked this one best:

      Q: Why didn’t the dendrochronologist get married?
      A: All he ever dated was trees!

      It’s not every day you hear a joke about dendrochronology.

      1. You would around my old lab.

        Q: How can you tell which tree is on the phone?
        A: By the rings.

        Q: What is most incestuous about archaeology?
        A: Relative dating.

        Q: How do you determine Libby half-life?
        A: Count empty and full corned beef cans.

        Q: How do you date a perm?
        A: Match wiggles.
        (If out of range, watch out for mass extinction.)

        1. Ha ha those are awesome! I needed those jokes because I’m feeling like Pete Campbell tonight! Now I feel like an amused Pete Campbell!

  21. I really like this one. I googled the proper description as I only knew the spanish version:

    “A chemical engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a computer scientist are on a road trip when all of a sudden their car breaks down.

    They pull over to the side of the road and start hypothesizing what is wrong.

    The chemical engineer says, “It’s probably something wrong with the catalytic converter.”

    “No,” says the mechanical engineer, “It’s probably something wrong with the engine.”

    The computer scientist says, “Not sure, but let’s get out, get back in, and see if it starts.”

    1. Alternatively, the chemical engineer says “The air fuel ratio is wrong” and tells the mechanical engineer to fix it. The mechanical says “Hey the air fuel mixture is controlled by a computer now, that’s the computer scientist’s problem. The computer scientist says “Don’t look at me I use a Mac!”

  22. This is supposedly a true story but kind of funny. I was reminded of it by the Heisenberg speeding joke.

    John Von Neuman was a terrible driver. He described one of his accidents in the following way: “I was proceeding down the road. The trees on the right were passing me in orderly fashion at 60 miles per hour. Suddenly one of them stepped in my path.”

    1. Another von neumann anecdote. When he was in school, von neumann’s teacher gave him some busy work so the teacher could enjoy some quiet time. The teacher asked him to find the sum of the integers from 1 to 1000. After 30 seconds, von neumann announces the answer 500,500. The teacher, amazed, says, “Oh, you know the trick of multiplying n by n+1 and dividing by 2.” Von neumann thinks for a moment, then smiles and says “Yes, that would work too.”

  23. There were these two atoms. One says ‘I lost an electron!’ The other atom asks ‘Are you positive?’

  24. Surely almost everyone has heard this one, but here goes: a young scientist was wandering down a hallway in Princeton one evening when he heard chamber music coming from one of the rooms. He stopped to listen, but things weren’t going well. Finally the music ground to a halt and he heard an irritated voice from within — “Albert, can’t you count?!”

  25. In the past newspapers and magazines (including the New Scientist and … Nature) published 1 April jokes–unbelievable stories believed by many. When I was a teenager, in 1961, our local newspaper (Grenz Echo) published a story about a human circling the Earth in a spacecraft. Great was our astonishment when 12 days later the same newspaper carried the story about Yuri Gagarin doing just that.

  26. A tourist at the Natural History Museum asks a guard how old the dinosaur bones are. “100 million and four years old,” the guard replies.

    The tourist is dumbfounded. “100 million and four? How can you possibly know that?”

    “Well,” says the guard, “they were 100 million years old when I started working here four years ago.”

  27. Hmmm, Jerry’s new book is making him dispirited at times. I think this must mean the book is not about evolution, which is exhilarating and fascinating, but about “sophisticated theology” than which anything more dispiriting would be hard to imagine. Chin up Jerry, we’ll be here till closing.

  28. What do you call a digital picture of a Swedish bird?

    A scanned-in avian…

    I’m getting my coat now.

  29. What do you get when you cross a mountain climber and a mosquito?

    Nothing. You can’t cross a scalar and a vector.

  30. As I understand it the Higgs field creates
    drag on particles and the Higgs boson( “The
    God Particle”) interacts with other particles in the field so that they acquire mass.
    So this Higgs Boson goes into a church on
    Sunday morning and a priest asks who it is. The Higgs boson replies that it is the God Particle. The priest gets angry and orders it
    our the the church. The Higgs Boson says
    “OK I’ll go, but you can’t have mass without me”.

      1. That joke also works if the original non-censored nickname for the Higgs is used – The Goddamn Particle. I much prefer that name as it stops the woo meisters deliberately misinterpreting what Higgs, Lederman etc meant!

  31. What did the chemist say when he looked into his garden?

    Bismuth be a germanium!

    I can’t take the credit/blame for this one, as it was made up by one of my students in high school chemistry many years ago.

  32. There was a man who bought a ‘used’ parrot from a pet shop. The pet shop owner warned him that although the parrot can talk, it mostly says obscenities.
    When the man got home, sure enough the parrot starts a steady stream of swear words, reacting to every interaction with a stream of “^#^%$^#*#*#(###&” and “@#@(#$YI$O#!!!”. The man did not know what to do, until one day when very tired of the constant cursing he suddenly stuck the parrot into the freezer. The parrot immediately began to swear from within the freezer, but then it suddenly stopped.
    The man, fearing that the bird was harmed, quickly opened the door. The parrot calmly stepped out, walked up his arm, and while sitting on his shoulder clearly said “I am sorry. I know I have been out of line, but if you can forgive me I promise that I will never utter a bad word again.” The man is very surprised, but agreed to forgive him. “Excellent!” says the parrot. “But may I please ask just one question?” “Name it” says the man.
    The parrot nods its head toward the freezer and asks “What did the chicken do?”

  33. The physics department hosts a party at which bagels are served.
    The leftover dry bagels are dumped in the toilet which gets stuck.
    Someone from the math department calls the janitor and announces
    that there is a bunch of toroids in the toilet that need to be removed.

  34. This is an engineer joke. Close enough, I hope.

    A woman tells another:

    “I hate dating engineers. You give ’em a centemetere and they take a kilometre.”

  35. How about a medical joke? An internist, a radiologist, a surgeon, and a pathologist are sitting in a boat duck hunting. A bird flies overhead, but they can’t tell if it is a duck. The internist says, “If I could run some blood tests and do a good physical exam I could tell.” The radiologist says, “If I could get a couple more views from some different directions I could tell.” The surgeon picks up his gun, shoots the bird, then turns to the pathologist and says, “Go tell us if that’s a duck.”

    1. Variation on a theme:
      Three statisticians go duck hunting. The first fires–six feet over the duck’s head. The second fires–the shot plows into the ground six feet in front of the duck. The third statistician yells, “Got ‘im!”

  36. A frog went to visit a fortune teller. “What do you see in my future?” asked the frog.

    “Very soon,” replied the fortune teller. “you will meet a pretty young girl who will want to know everything about you.”

    “That’s great!” said the frog, hopping up and down excitedly. “But when will I meet her?”

    “Next week in science class.” said the fortune teller.

  37. René Descartes and his wife are holding a New Years Eve party. Acknowledging his complete uselessness at such functions, the wife assigns René just one task. She points out to him that after the midnight celebrations, the typically drunken partiers will demand further drink and sustenance. She sets him the seemingly simple task of guarding the supplementary shrimp quiches until an hour after the ringing in of the New Year. To that end, René spends the entire evening in the kitchen contemplating his existence, and, he thinks, making some headway until a guest walks in before the New Year, and, spying the quiches, reaches for one of them. Descartes reacts in horror, stops the guest, and exclaims: “I think they are for 1 AM!”

    [Sad, I know]

  38. Whenever you tell a chemistry joke there is a chance there will be no reaction.

    May be that joke was too radical.

    How about: Did you hear that Magnesium and Oxygen went on a date? OMg!

    (Oxygen also went out with Potassium – it was OK.)

  39. An engineer and a mathematician are tasked with constructing a fence to hold a flock of sheep, with the least material possible.

    The engineer, knowing that a circle uses less material than a rectangle for the same area, constructs a circular enclosure that just fits all the sheep.

    The mathematician takes a short piece of fence, bends it around themselves, and proclaims, “let myself to be on the outside of the fence”.

    1. Ha, I was thinking of posting this one. The punch line in the version I know is, “I define myself to be on the outside”. Which I kind of like.

  40. Surprised not to see this one already:

    A neutrino walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve neutrinos here.” “No problem; I’m just passing through.”

    I also have a stupid fern joke. It isn’t funny, but I tell it anyway:

    We don’t have a lot of ferns here in New Mexico, but we do have a few that can live on rocky outcrops or in little seeps or other moist pockets of habitat. That just makes it all the more exciting when you do find one; after a long, hot slog through the desert to some little oasis, those ferns sure are a sight for sori.

  41. A scientist walks into a bar and sits down next to an attractive blonde. Eager to impress her with his knowledge, he proposes they play a game in which they try to stump each other with questions. Whoever can’t answer owes the other $10. “Oh no,” she says, “I’m not smart enough for that.”

    “Come on,” says the scientist. “Tell you what, I’ll give you 10:1 odds. If you stump me, I’ll give you $100.”

    “Well, all right,” says the blonde. “But you go first.”

    “OK,” the scientist says. “How far is it from the Earth to the Sun?”

    Without a word she hands him $10.

    “Now it’s your turn,” he says.

    She thinks for a moment. “What goes up the hill on three legs and comes down the hill on four legs?”

    The scientists puzzles over that for a while before giving up and grudgingly handing over $100. “But you have to tell me,” he says, “what’s the answer to your question?”

    Without a word she hands him $10.

  42. Everyone on board had the chicken, including the pilots, except one polish guy. With everyone else throwing up, he is called to the cockpit, where the tower desperately tries to give him instructions on how to land the plane. After listening to the torrent of explanations, he exclaims: Please, slow down, I’m just a simple pole in a complex plane!

  43. A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, “Let’s smash the can open with a rock.” The chemist says, “Let’s build a fire and heat the can first.” The economist says, “Let’s assume that we have a can-opener’

  44. A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer are standing around of a flag pole and wondering what is the best way to mesure the height of the pole. A social scientist walks by and ask what are you doing. Then he loosens the bolts from the pole, knocks it over, mesures it and declares that it’s 20 meters. The physicist laughs and says: “typical social scientist, we wanted to know the height of the pole and he told us the width”.

  45. A physicist and a mathematician are in the faculty lounge having a cup of coffee when, for no apparent reason, the coffee machine bursts into flames. The physicist rushes over to the wall, grabs a fire extinguisher, and fights the fire successfully. The same time next week, the same pair are there drinking coffee and talking shop when the new coffee machine goes on fire. The mathematician stands up, fetches the fire extinguisher, and hands it to the physicist, thereby reducing the problem to one already solved.

    (Found this version on the web, saving me teh trouble of typing it anew).

    1. The version my son (an engineering student) told me has the engineer using a large quantity of water quickly, followed next week by the physicist calculating and using the minimum amount of water, and the third week being the mathematician’s turn.


  46. Thanks everybody. I laughed many times. My contribution is unlikely to have that effect, so I am going for the Nerdiness Award.

    Background (1): Suppose you asked someone to pick an integer at random. What are the odds against its being the number 7? Infinite… which inuitively means the same as “impossible”. Still, it’s true in a way, but there’s a problem with “random”.

    Background (2): Mathematicians have defined “transfinite” numbers. For example, the infinity defined by counting all the integers is only an infinitesimal part of the infinity needed to count numbers like pi and e. In fact it is thought that this transfinite number is equal to the Original Piddling Little Infinity raised to the power O.L.P.I.

    Are you enjoying it so far? Thought not.

    In his “Mathematician’s Miscellany” Littlewood tells the story of a witticism habitually used by a colleague to lighten up his lecture on the general quartic equation:

    “The General Quartic has the form a times x to the fouth plus b x cubed plus c x squared plus d x plus e, where e is NOT NECESSARILY the base of the natural logarithms.”

    That is definitely arcane.

  47. A theoretical physicist was asked to calculate the stability of a 4 legged table …

    He arrived a preliminary results which pertained to a table with either a leg that was so small as to be invisible or to a table that had an infinite number of legs. He spent the rest of his life attempting to solve the problem of a table with a finite number of legs …..

  48. A little one from the late Pierre Desproges:

    A psychotic is someone who firmly believes that 2 + 2 = 5 and is fully satisfied with it.
    A neurotic is someone who knows that 2 + 2 = 4 and it makes him sick.

  49. True Story:

    A friend of mine was taking his third year surgical elective in neurosurgery, and was scrubbed in to a procedure along with the resident he was shadowing.

    The resident was having a bad day, getting flustered and confused and forgetting what he was supposed to do.

    The attending surgeon finally lost patience and snapped at him, “Why are you having so much trouble with this? It’s brain surgery, it’s not rocket science!”

  50. A mathematician and an engineer are placed at one end of a field. At the other end is a beautiful and willing member of the opposite sex. They are told that they can take turns approaching their goal, but only by covering half the remaining distance with each turn.

    The mathematician says, “We should just give up. We’ll never make it there.”

    The engineer replies, “We can get close enough for all practical purposes.”

    1. I could say something about the victor and the statistically unusual success of the non-vertical, but I won’t. I’d get banned from Pharyngula at least.

  51. Mrs Heisenberg: “I can’t find my car keys!”

    Mr. Heisenberg: “You probably know too much of their momentum.”

    h/t xkcd guest week, bill amend

      1. I’m not a chemist (obviously!) but the instant I hit “submit” I realized the mistake. Thnaks for not calling me a doofus!

  52. Perhaps the following could be classified as a philosophy of science or
    experimental design joke. I heard it originally years ago
    during an impromptu “Wise Rabbi” joke telling contest
    and the tellers were experts at speaking English with a Yiddish

    A Young Rabbi has just returned from getting a philosophy degree
    at the Sorbonne and is having lunch with the Old Rabbi who is his
    mentor. The Old Rabbi butters a piece of toast and it slips out of
    his hand and falls on the floor with the buttered side down.
    “Would’nt you know it” he exlaims, “Every time a piece of buttered
    breat falls to the floor it falls buttered side down!”
    The Young Rabbi interjects, saying that you can’t make generalizations
    like that, butters a piece of bread and flips it to the floor, and it falls
    buttered side up. “See”, he says “This time it fell buttered side up”.
    The Old Rabbi retorts, “You can’t fool this Old Rabbi with your fancy
    degrees, , young man”, my generalization still holds, you just buttered
    the wrong side”.

    1. There was this guy who was known as the town schlemiel in his little shtetl, and oy, was he ever a schlemiel. His father was a schlemiel; his grandfather had been a schlemiel… schlemiels all the way back as far as anyone could remember.

      One day he was buttering his bread, and, being a schlemiel, of course it slipped out of his hand and fell on the floor.

      He sighed and went to pick up the bread, and, to his amazement, it had landed buttered side up!

      This was unheard of — impossible even — so he went to the rabbi, told him the story, and asked what had happened — was he no longer a schlemiel? Had the family legacy finally been broken?

      The rabbi stroked his beard, mumbled a little, consulted some holy books, stroked his beard some more, consulted some more holy books. Then he slapped himself on the forehead and cried,
      “Oy, are you ever a schlemiel! You buttered the wrong side of the bread!”

      1. Thanks for the other buttered bread version.
        I posted another joke in your honor
        about Rabbis deciding arguments.

  53. Employing a verbal ambiguity for the 999th time, and I hesitate for more than that reason:

    Rendered verbally, are the following two logically connected?

    1. Large telescopes need to use mirrors.

    2. For you to see Uranus, you need at least a mirror.

  54. I am at last nearly out of material.

    Every Friday afternoon, a theoretical physicist goes down to the corner bar, sits in the second-to-last seat, turns to the last seat, which is empty, and asks a girl who isn’t there if he can buy her a drink.
    The bartender, who is used to weird university types, always shrugs but keeps quiet.
    But when Valentine’s Day arrives, and the man makes a particularly heart-wrenching plea into empty space, curiosity gets the better of the bartender, and he says, “I apologize for this stupid question, but surely you’ve noticed there is never a woman sitting in that last stool. Why do you persist in asking out empty space?”
    The physicist replies, “Well, according to quantum physics, empty space is never truly empty. Virtual particles come into existence and vanish all the time. You never know when the proper wave function will collapse exactly the right configuration of particles, and a woman might suddenly appear there.”
    The bartender raises his eyebrows. “Really? Interesting. But couldn’t you just ask one of the girls who comes here every Friday if you could buy her a drink? Never know… she might say yes.”
    The physicist laughs. “Yeah, right – how likely is that to happen?”

  55. A physicist, a chemist and a mathematician are attending a conference. Late at night, a fire breaks out in each person’s room. The physicist says “Heat energy!”, throws a pitcher of water on the fire and goes back to bed. The chemist says “Rapid oxidation!”, throws a blanket over the fire and goes back to bed. The mathematician wakes up, stumbles around until he finds a fire extinguisher, says “A solution exists” and goes back to bed.

    1. … I’m so sorry! A variant of this was already told here (#67). I’m getting too lazy in my old age…

  56. A sheep herder, a scientist and a philosopher are riding on a train through the countryside. The sheep herder looks out the window and says “There’s herd of sheep. They’ve been sheared, looks like.” The scientist says, “Well, at least those sheep we can see have been sheared.” The philosopher says, “Well, at least this side.”

  57. This is an math joke based on a classic combinatorics result, whose modern version is that the number of people who have an odd number of Facebook friends must be even (which would not necessarily be true if one could be friends with oneself). You’ll have to fill in the blank in the punch line.
    A grad student in graph theory had passed all his exams but just couldn’t get anywhere with his research. Late one night, he comes up with something and excitedly calls his advisor, forgetting how late it is.

    Advisor, groggily: “Hello”

    Student, excitedly: “Professor, professor, I’ve finally got a theorem!”

    Advisor, annoyed: “It’s the middle of the night, this better be good. What is it?”

    Student: “The number of people, who have had an odd number of sex partners, is even. And I can prove it.”

    Advisor, angry: “You woke me at two in the morning for that? Go _____ yourself.”

  58. This could be classed as an agricultural science joke although it comes from the French
    penchant for making fun of government

    A poultry farmer in France finds that one of
    his chickens lays square eggs. He realizes the financial potential of this and calls
    the Center for Agricultural Research to come
    and take a look at it. They buy it for a huge sum, but a few days later they call the
    farmer and say that the chicken has stopped laying square eggs. Well, I can’t help you says the farmer, you saw it lay one here at
    my farm. The Ag center people ask the farmer to come over and talk to the chicken and he
    The chicken is housed in special quarters.
    The farmer says, Hey chicken what’s happening, why aren’t you laying square eggs?
    The chicken replies “Now that I am a government functionary why should I bust my butt laying square eggs?”

    1. Another chicken joke!
      A farmer noticed that his chickens were sick, and called in a biologist, a chemist, and a physicist to help diagnose the problem. The biologist observed the chickens, concluding, “I can tell you there’s something wrong with your chickens, but I don’t know what’s causing it.” The chemist took fluid samples from the chickens back to his lab, and returned saying, “I can tell you what’s infecting your chickens, but I don’t know how they got it.” Meanwhile, the physicist had been sitting on the floor, scribbling maddly on several notebooks worth of paper. Suddenly, he jumped up, exclaiming, “I have the answer, but it only works for spherical chickens in a vaccuum.”

  59. Many animals can be treained to do things for people.
    Here is a trained animal joke.

    This guy walks into a bar and sits down. He asks the
    bartender if he can get a glass of wine if he shows him
    something impressive. The bartender agrees. So
    he takes a guinea pig dressed in a tutu out of his
    pocket and puts it on
    the table and plays a segment from Nbutcracker and the
    guine pig does a beautiful ballet dance to the music.
    The bartender is impressed as is another guest that
    walked in during the performance and the guy gets his wine.
    After he has finished his wine he asks if he can get
    another glass of wine if he puts on another surprising
    show and the bartender agreees. So he takes a frog out
    of his other pocket and puts it on the bar. The frog
    sings a beautiful rendition of an aria from La Traviata.
    The bartender, impressed gives the guy another wine.
    The other guy at the bar is very impressed saying that
    one coukld make millions with that frog, and offers
    the frog owner one thousand dollars for the frog. The
    owner agrees and the guest grabs the frogs and
    runs out of the bar. The bartender says “Are you crazy,
    you just sold a frog that could make you millions
    for a mere thousand bucks.” Not to worry says
    the former owner of the frog, I still have the guinea
    pig, and it is an excellent ventriloquist!

  60. This is a ‘news’ article from The Onion
    Researchers Discover Details Smaller Than Minutiae
    PASADENA, CA—A team of Caltech scientists announced Monday that they have discovered a type of conversational detail smaller than minutiae, the class of particulars long thought to be the smallest possible building blocks of mundanity. “These tiny sub-minutiae, or ‘boredons,’ are so insignificant that they contain almost no information, useless or otherwise,” said head researcher Dr. Nathan Yang, adding that the conversationally inconsequential details naturally occur in elevators and other enclosed spaces containing high concentrations of vaguely familiar acquaintances. “At least six must be combined to make up a detail that even remotely approaches the declarative weight of a triviality, and more than 200 are required to compose a viable trifle.” Yang said that the basic unit of tedium remained undiscovered for so long because boredons are instantly forgotten as soon as they are heard.

  61. Engineer jokes, but close enough:

    The optimist says the glass is half full. The pessimist says it’s half empty. The engineer looks at it and says, ‘Hey, your glass is twice as tall as it needs to be.’

    A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are each tasked with figuring out the volume of a red bouncy ball. The mathematician goes, ‘That’s easy. I know that 4/3 pi*r^3 is the volume of a sphere, so all I have to do is measure its radius and I can calculate the volume.’ The physicist says, ‘Well, I know Archimedes Principle, so I just have to get a beaker of water, submerge the ball, and see how much water it displaces.’ The engineer says, ‘Hold on a second. Let me get my little red ball book.’

    All the engineers I tell that second one to think it’s hilarious. Non-engineers usually don’t find it as funny.

    1. I shared the red ball joke with my son (as I mentioned already, an engineering student), and his reply was:

      Insultingly accurate.

      In support of this, he commented that for today’s exam he has a 7-page data “sheet” – in addition to the data book that’s provided for every exam.


  62. Thank you fdavis.
    Here is a joke about deciding who is
    right in arguments.
    Four Rabbis get together regularly to discuss
    and argue about philosophy, science, religion and so on.
    They then decide who is right on the issues that arise.
    One of them is always on the losing side. Its three
    to one the other Rabbis tell him, you are wrong. Now
    the losing rabbi knows that on some issues he was
    definitely right and gets angry at losing the argument.
    So he calls on God to give a sign when he is right.
    On the next occasion he tells the others that God will
    give a sign if he is right. And indeed, he calls for a
    sign and some clouds appear and it rains a bit. The
    three Rabbis dismiss it. Its April and it rains all the time,
    they say. Its three to one, its three to one, we are right.
    So the losing Rabbi calls on God for a stronger
    manifestation. so the next time thunder and lightning
    followed by a hailstorm and very strong winds appear.
    Nonsense, say the three Rabbis, these storms appear
    regularly at this time of the year. We are right, its three
    to one. Finally the losing Rabbi appeals for a truly powerful
    sign and indeed the next time he is right and calls on God
    for a sign a very stong earthquake knocks the rabbis to
    the ground, a volcano appears and erups, the firmament
    opens up and devastating rains fklood the area. See, see
    says the Rabbi, God has shown you that I am right. Oh
    no you are not respond the three Rabbis, now the score
    is three to two and we a still right.

  63. Two students were trying to find a pun about the binary number system. After several hours of fruitless searching, they concluded that there’s naught one.

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