Friday, October 15, 2010

Claire, This is Riemann. Riemann, Claire.

M got an email today from his best friend with a good math joke in it:

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first mathematician orders a beer. The second mathematician orders half of a beer. The third mathematician orders a quarter of a beer... The bartender says, "You guys are all idiots!" and pours two beers.

Claire was reading it over his shoulder and thought it was funny. I asked her if she knew why it was funny. You know, besides the fact that someone called people "idiots." This led to a discussion of the "pattern" of the fractions. We talked about how if it went on forever, the fractions would get smaller and smaller and closer and closer to just two.

So then we asked her, "When will it finally get to two?"

She looked at me, smiled, and said, "Never."

Well, then. Guess we're ready for calculus.


Matthew said...

So I suppose it's time to have her trace her hand on graph paper and count the squares inside and outside. What happens if the squares are larger? smaller?

Then it's time to move on to the falling ladder...

Liz H. said...

uh ... aren't the fractions getting closer and closer to zero?

Leann said...

I just have to tell you, that Matt loved this joke so much he's told it to a couple people... thanks for sharing your moments for us to enjoy!