## Mathematicians compared to other Academics

*One of my personal favorites is the first one in this series of jokes.. It shows different ways of perceiving our world.*

An astronomer, a physicist and - the object of our interest - a
mathematician are on holiday, let's say in Switzerland.
Looking through clean train window - as clean as the can only be
found in Switzerland - they observed a black sheep in the middle of a
green pasture.

"Quite interesting," states the astronomer, "all Swiss sheep are black!"

The physicist corects him, "That's not true! Some Swiss sheep are black!"

The mathematician thinks it over thoughtfully and finally remarks: "There exists at least one place in Switzerland, containing at least one sheep, which is at least on one side black."*****************************************

*What alienates mathematicians from managers is the fact, that they are in most cases interested in the existence and proving of concepts. Finding a practical way to solve a problem is often too tedious and not satisfying enough from the mathematical point of view:*

An engineer, a physicist and a mathematician are staying in a hotel. The engineer wakes up and smells smoke. He goes out into the hallway and sees a fire, so he fills a trash can from his room with water and douses the fire. He goes back to bed. Later, the physicist wakes up and smells smoke. He opens his door and sees a fire in the hallway. He walks down the hall to a fire hose and after calculating the flame velocity, distance, water pressure, trajectory, etc. extinguishes the fire with the minimum amount of water and energy needed. Later, the mathematician wakes up and smells smoke. He goes to the hall, sees the fire and then the fire hose. He thinks for a moment and then exclaims, "Ah, a solution exists!" and then goes back to bed.

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Mathematicians are something special and the best way to prove it - of course not in a methemacal correct way - is by comparing them to other "ordinary" academics.

The first joke teaches us, how different groups approach prime numbers, or better, how they "prove" that every odd number higher than 2 has to be prime:

Mathematician: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, and by induction - every odd integer higher than 2 is a prime.

Physicist: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 is an experimental error, 11 is a prime,...

Engineer: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 is a prime, 11 is a prime,...

Programmer: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 7 is a prime,...

Salesperson: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 -- we'll do for you the best we can,...

Computer Software Salesperson: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 will be prime in the next release,...

Biologist: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 -- results have not arrived yet,...

Advertiser: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 11 is a prime,...

Lawyer: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 -- there is not enough evidence to prove that it is not a prime,...

Accountant: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime, deducing 10% tax and 5% other obligations.

Statistician: Let's try several randomly chosen numbers: 17 is a prime, 23 is a prime, 11 is a prime...

Professor: 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, and the rest are left as an exercise for the student.

Computational linguist: 3 is an odd prime, 5 is an odd prime, 7 is an odd prime, 9 is a very odd prime,...

Psychologist: 3 is a prime, 5 is a prime, 7 is a prime, 9 is a prime but tries to suppress it,...

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The next joke in this series is about pi and its definition:

A Mathematician defines Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. An engineer can live with an approximation, for him it's just about 22/7. Physicist equals Pi with 3.14159 plus or minus 0.000005. A Computer Scientist uses double precision and gets more decimal places: 3.141592653589.

Finally the Nutritionist says: You one track math-minded fellows, Pie is a healthy and delicious dessert!

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*The next joke shows highlights the prejudice, which might contain a grain of truth, that mathematicans are too self-centered and don't care if their doing if of any real benefit to society.*

An engineer thinks that his equations are an approximation to reality. A physicist thinks reality is an approximation to his equations. A mathematician doesn't care.