M3 Math Majors Matter ----------------------------------


Cartoon Corner

Politically Correct?? ... (click picture to see)

The Lightbulb Problem

Q: How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: None. It's left to the reader as an exercise.
A2: None. A mathematician can't screw in a light bulb, but he can
easily prove the work can be done.
A3: One. He gives it to four programmers, thereby reducing the problem
to the already solved (ask a programmer, how)
A4: In earlier work, Wiener[1] has shown that one mathematician can change a light bulb.
A5: The answer is intuitively obvious
A6: Just one, once you've managed to present the problem in terms he/she
is familiar with.
[1] Weiner, Matthew P,...

If k mathematicians can change a light bulb, and if one more simply watches them do it,
then k+1 mathematicians will have changed the light bulb. Therefore, by induction, for all n
in the positive integers, n mathematicians can change a light bulb.

How many mathematical logicians does it take to replace a lightbulb??
None: They can't do it, but they can prove that it can be done.

How many numerical analysts does it take to replace a lightbulb??
3.9967: (after six iterations).

How many classical geometers does it take to replace a lightbulb??
None: You can't do it with a straight edge and a compass.

How many constructivist mathematicians does it take to replace a lightbulb??
None: They do not believe in infinitesimal rotations.

How many simulationists does it take to replace a lightbulb??
Infinity: Each one builds a fully validated model, but the light actually never goes on.

How many topologists does it take to screw in a lightbulb??
Just one. But what will you do with the doughnut?

How many analysts does it take to screw in a lightbulb??
Three: One to prove existence, one to prove uniqueness
and one to derive a nonconstructive algorithm to do it.

How many Bourbakists does it take to replace a lightbulb: ??
Changing a lightbulb is a special case of a more general theorem
concerning the maintenance and repair of an electrical system. To establish
upper and lower bounds for the number of personnel required, we must
determine whether the sufficient conditions of Lemma 2.1 (Availability
of personnel) and those of Corollary 2.3.55 (Motivation of personnel)
apply. Iff these conditions are met, we derive the result by an application
of the theorems in Section 3.1123. The resulting upper bound is, of course,
a result in an abstract measure space, in the weak-* topology.

How many professors does it take to replace a lightbulb??
One: With eight research students, two programmers, three post-docs and a secretary
to help him.

How many university lecturers does it take to replace a lightbulb??
Four: One to do it and three to co-author the paper.

How many graduate students does it take to replace a lightbulb??
Only one: But it takes nine years.

How many math department administrators does it take to replace a lightbulb??
None: What was wrong with the old one then??? 

How we do it ...
Aerodynamicists do it in drag.
Algebraists do it by symbolic manipulation.
Algebraists do it in a ring, in fields, in groups.
Analysts do it continuously and smoothly.
Applied mathematicians do it by computer simulation.
Banach spacers do it completely.
Bayesians do it with improper priors.
Catastrophe theorists do it falling off part of a sheet.
Combinatorists do it as many ways as they can.
Complex analysts do it between the sheets
Computer scientists do it depth-first.
Cosmologists do it in the first three minutes.
Decision theorists do it optimally.
Functional analysts do it with compact support.
Galois theorists do it in a field.
Game theorists do it by dominance or saddle points.
Geometers do it with involutions.
Geometers do it symmetrically.
Graph theorists do it in four colors.
Hilbert spacers do it orthogonally.
Large cardinals do it inaccessibly.
Linear programmers do it with nearest neighbors.
Logicians do it by choice, consistently and completely.
Logicians do it incompletely or inconsistently.
(Logicians do it) or [not (logicians do it)].
Number theorists do it perfectly and rationally.
Mathematical physicists understand the theory of how to
....do it, but have difficulty obtaining practical results.
Pure mathematicians do it rigorously.
Quantum physicists can either know how fast they do it,
...... or where they do it, but not both.
Real analysts do it almost everywhere
Ring theorists do it non-commutatively.
Set theorists do it with cardinals.
Statisticians probably do it.
Topologists do it openly, in multiply connected domains
Variationists do it locally and globally.
Cantor did it diagonally.
Fermat tried to do it in the margin, but couldn't fit it in.
Galois did it the night before.
M­bius always does it on the same side.
Markov does it in chains.
Newton did it standing on the shoulders of giants.
Turing did it but couldn't decide if he'd finished.
A Mathematician confided ...
A mathematician confided
That the Möbius band is one-sided
And you'll get quite a laugh
If you cut one in half
'Cause it stays in one piece when divided.
... is like love; a simple idea, but it can get complicated.
Another corner ... another cartoon

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