An engineer is working at his desk in his office. His cigarette falls off the desk into the wastebasket, causing the papers within to burst into flames. The engineer looks around, sees a fire extinguisher, grabs it, puts out the flames, and goes back to work.
A physicist is working at his desk in another office and the same thing happens. He looks at the fire, looks at the fire extinguisher, and thinks "Fire requires fuel plus oxygen plus heat. The fire extinguisher will remove both the oxygen and the heat in the wastebasket. Ergo, no fire." He grabs the extinguisher, puts out the flames, and goes back to work.
A mathematician is working at his desk in another office and the same thing happens. He looks at the fire, looks at the fire extinguisher, and thinks for a minute, says "Ah! A solution exists!" and goes back to work.
Frau in einer Bar
A mathematician and an engineer are sitting at a table drinking when a very beautiful woman walks in and sits down at the bar.
The mathematician sighs. "I’d like to talk to her, but first I have to cover half the distance between where we are and where she is, then half of the distance that remains, then half of that distance, and so on. The series is infinite. There’ll always be some finite distance between us."
The engineer gets up and starts walking. "Ah, well, I figure I can get close enough for all practical purposes."
Ein Schaaf in Schottland
A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are riding a train through Scotland.
The engineer looks out the window, sees a black sheep, and exclaims, "Hey! They’ve got black sheep in Scotland!"
The physicist looks out the window and corrects the engineer, "Strictly speaking, all we know is that there’s at least one black sheep in Scotland."
The mathematician looks out the window and corrects the physicist, " Strictly speaking, all we know is that is that at least one side of one sheep is black in Scotland."
A physicist, engineer and a statistician are out hunting. Suddenly, a deer appears 50 yards away.
The physicist does some basic ballistic calculations, assuming a vacuum, lifts his rifle to a specific angle, and shoots. The bullet lands 5 yards short.
The engineer adds a fudge factor for air resistance, lifts his rifle slightly higher, and shoots. The bullet lands 5 yards long.
The statistician yells "We got him!"
A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are given the task of finding how high a particular red rubber ball will bounce when dropped from a given height onto a given surface.
The mathematician derives the elasticity of the ball from its chemical makeup, derives the equations to determine how high it will bounce and calculates it.
The physicist takes the ball into the lab, measures its elasticity, and plugs the variables into a formula.
The engineer looks it up in his red rubber ball book.
Sicht der Dinge
A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician sit in a sidewalk cafe, looking at the building across the road. Two people go into the building, then three people come out.
Physicist: "This must be a measuring error!"
Biologist: "This is proof of procreation!"
Mathematician: "If one more person goes into the building, it will be empty!"
An engineer and a mathematician were shown into a kitchen, given an empty pan, and told to boil a pint of water. They both filled the pan with water, put it on the stove, and boiled it.
The next day they were shown into the kitchen again, given a pan full of water, and told to boil a pint of water.
- The engineer took the pan, put it on the stove, and boiled it.
- The mathematician took the pan and emptied it, thereby reducing it to a previously solved problem.
Three hungry cannibals — who were a chemist, a physicist and an engineer — found a human thigh bone.
- The chemist licked it, and put it in water to try to dissolve it.
- The physicist tried to break it open to get at the marrow.
- The engineer took it, hit the other two over the head, and ate them.
An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are shown a pasture with a herd of sheep, and told to put them inside the smallest possible amount of fence.
- The engineer is first. He herds the sheep into a circle and then puts the fence around them, declaring, "A circle will use the least fence for a given area, so this is the best solution."
- The physicist is next. He creates a circular fence of infinite radius around the sheep, and then draws the fence tight around the herd, declaring, "This will give the smallest circular fence around the herd."
- The mathematician is last. After giving the problem a little thought, he puts a small fence around himself and then declares, "I define myself to be on the outside."
An engineer, a physicist, and a computer scientist were discussing what was the oldest profession.
- The engineer claimed priority. "Look at all that matter engineered into amazing constructs like galaxies, stars, and planets."
- The physicist disagreed. "Before there were planets, the matter had to be made from chaos. Physics is responsible for all the quarks, gluons, photons, and electrons."
- The computer scientist coughed modestly. "Ah, but where do you think the chaos came from?"
A project manager, a hardware engineer, and a programmer were in a car. Coming down a hill, a tyre got a puncture, the car went out of control, and a bad crash was only narrowly averted.
- The project manager wanted everyone to help draw up a plan of how to fix the car and carry on.
- The hardware engineer wanted to change the tyre and carry on.
- The programmer wanted to go back to the top of the hill, drive down again, and see if the problem happened again.
- An engineer thinks that equations are an approximation to reality.
- A physicist thinks reality is an approximation to equations.
- A mathematician doesn’t care.