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Engineers, Physicists, etc

Cara Bereck Levy

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A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are all given identical rubber balls and told to find the volume. They are given anything they want to measure it, and have all the time they need. The mathematician pulls out a measuring tape and records the circumference. He then divides by two times pi to get the radius, cubes that, multiplies by pi again, and then multiplies by four-thirds and thereby calculates the volume. The physicist gets a bucket of water, places 1.00000 gallons of water in the bucket, drops in the ball, and measures the displacement to six significant figures. And the engineer? He writes down the serial number of the ball, and looks it up.


A team of engineers were required to measure the height of a flag pole. They only had a measuring tape, and were getting quite frustrated trying to keep the tape along the pole. It kept falling down, etc. A mathematician comes along, finds out their problem, and proceeds to remove the pole from the ground and measure it easily. When he leaves, one engineer says to the other: "Just like a mathematician! We need to know the height, and he gives us the length!"


A mathematician and an engineer are on desert island. They find two palm trees with one coconut each. The engineer climbs up one tree, gets the coconut, eats. The mathematician climbs up the other tree, gets the coconut, climbs the other tree and puts it there. "Now we've reduced it to a problem we know how to solve."


A physicist, a mathematician, and a mystic were asked to name the greatest invention of all time. The physicist chose the fire, which gave humanity the power over matter. The mathematician chose the alphabet, which gave humanity power over symbols. The mystic chose the thermos bottle.

"Why a thermos bottle?" the others asked.

"Because the thermos keeps hot liquids hot in winter and cold liquids cold in summer."

"Yes -- so what?"

"Think about it." said the mystic reverently. That little bottle -- how does it *know*?"


One day a farmer called up an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician and asked them to fence of the largest possible area with the least amount of fence.

The engineer made the fence in a circle and proclaimed that he had the most efficient design.

The physicist made a long, straight line and proclaimed "We can assume the length is infinite..." and pointed out that fencing off half of the Earth was certainly a more efficient way to do it.

The Mathematician just laughed at them. He built a tiny fence around himself and said "I declare myself to be on the outside." ------------------------

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  • 3 months later...

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd... "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?" The shepherd looked at the man, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered "sure".

The man parked his car, whipped out his IBM ThinkPad and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep. "That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?", "OK, why not." answered the young man. "Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd. "That's correct." says the man, "but how did you guess that?" "No guessing required." answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you know very little about my business...... Now give me back my dog."

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