Adventures in Ethics and Science

The math limerick.

A real nerd can combine love of math and poetry, like so:

{(12+144+20+3(4)^0.5)/7}+5(11) = 81 + 0

It’s a true equation. And, it’s a limerick. Read it out loud and you’ll see:

A dozen, a gross, and a score
Plus three times the square-root of four,
Divided by seven,
Plus five times eleven,
Is nine squared and not a bit more.

(Actually, since it’s not dirty, this might not officially qualify as a limerick.)


  1. #1 Emily
    September 6, 2006

    How about this other one (an old one, but still my fav):

    \int_(1)^(3(1/3))(z^2 dz) cos(3pi/9) = ln (e^(1/3))

    The integral of z square dz
    from one to the cube root of three
    times the cosine
    of three pi over nine
    equals log of the cube root of e.


  2. #2 chezjake
    September 6, 2006

    It’s not dirty, but it is gross; so it surely qualifies. ;-)

  3. #3 Scott Simmons
    September 6, 2006

    We’ll promise not to sue, if you promise to never, ever, do this again …

  4. #4 Chad Orzel
    September 7, 2006

    The integral of z square dz
    from one to the cube root of three
    times the cosine
    of three pi over nine
    equals log of the cube root of e.

    Plus a constant.

  5. #5 beajerry
    September 7, 2006


  6. #6 Emily
    September 7, 2006

    Plus a constant.

    Nope — it’s a definite integral ;-)

  7. #7 Madame
    September 9, 2006


    Madame DeFarge

  8. #8 geekwraith
    September 10, 2006

    Oh, it officially qualifies as a limerick, no question. Check out the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick form (its acronym gives rise to the oedilf-dot-com url. You ought to figure out what word your lim could define and submit it. :oD

    Here are some more math lims, just to give you an idea (no, I’m not the author — at least, not of these :oP ):

    The relation where p exceeds b
    Implies b’s never greater than p
    (Unlike j = k,
    Which means k = j),
    So it’s antisymmetric, you see.

    Using step-by-step math operations,
    It performs with exact calculations.
    An algorithm’s job
    Is to work out a “prob”
    With repeated precise computations.

    And of course, they do try to sneak a little humor in:

    If a matrix derives all its actors
    From its parent’s square matrix cofactors,
    It’s an adjoint. This knowledge
    Was useful in college;
    When dating, such facts are detractors.

    And this one… well, I tip my hat to the guy who came up with it:

    Now I note a verse rendering pi,
    Within which the words strictly high-
    light, adeptly encrypted,
    How to get scripted
    This number in digits. Just try!
    (Author’s Note: This verse can be decrypted to give the value of π to 24 decimal places. Simply count the number of letters in each word and you will get 3.141592653589793238462643.)

    … I love limericks. I’ve contributed upwards of 30 to the aforementioned “Limerictionary” myself, but I’m not posting any of them here. (Some of them are geeky, but not math-related. :oP)

  9. #9 Jonathan Vos Post
    March 4, 2007

    2 Biolimerix
    Jonathan Vos Post

    Some creatures attempt the invisible
    we find the chameleon risible
    one spots one at times
    the way imperfect rhymes
    in a poem stand out individual

    Though the shell of a poem be bony
    the sea-otter, he takes a stone, he
    floats to dinner, dressed furrily,
    cracks it open, then thoroughly,
    eats the meat of the sweet abalone.

    19 Nov 1978

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