I find groups of socializing mathematicians fascinating. As one anthropologically studies them, one must overcome the fact that the mathematicians mostly talk about mathematics. But once this is achieved, there is a great deal of enjoyment to be had. (Why do you think people do it for a living if not for fun?)

This afternoon I had the opportunity of sitting in the graduate lounge with a large group of my classmates to complete our algebra assignment. We also had the good fortune of having 4 or 5 gregarious advanced graduate students who were also interested in solving our math problem. That’s right, we had other people trying to solve our problems voluntarily. And we all had a wonderful time being confused and boisterous about our homework. I’m certain there was some terrible math jokes in there as well. I think we even proved some things!

Mathematicians, I believe, have the same sense of fun that many other folks do. We just spend all our time doing math, so our jokes tend to revolve around, let’s say, the mathematical chaos which ensues if the mis-quoted theorem was actually true. Or perhaps the quick-fire response time of someone who just figured out they forgot that quotients are dense in the reals. (some theorems would be much easier to prove without that!)

I, who was once a theatrical person in professional theater and so someone who knows something about socializing, claim: Mathematicians have a sense of humor. Even if it’s only about confusing coffee cups and donuts.

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About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of socialmathematics.net.