# Engineer, Scientist, Mathematician

You can change the three characters --- usually you want to make your own profession the middle one!

## Ball Bearings

A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer were being interviewed. As part of the process, they were given 2 brass ball bearings, left alone for a while, then asked what they had done.

• Mathematician: "I haven't done anything with them, but I've some theories about 2-ness."
• Physicist: "I've tried to balance one on the other, and have some ideas about friction."
• Engineer: "Er... they broke."

## Black Sheep

An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician were on a train heading north, and had just crossed the border into Scotland.

• The engineer looked out of the window and said "Look! Scottish sheep are black!"
• The physicist said, "No, no. Some Scottish sheep are black."
• The mathematician looked irritated. "There is at least one field, containing at least one sheep, of which at least one side is black."

variants:

• The statistician : "It's not significant. We only know there's one black sheep"
• The computer scientist : "Oh, no! A special case!"

## Boiling water

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.

## Bone

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.

## Fence

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."

-- from HUMOURNET

## Oldest Profession

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?"

## Precision

• Engineers work to a couple of decimal places
• Physicists work to an order of magnitude
• Astrophysicists work to an order of magnitude in the exponent

## Prime numbers

Various proofs that every odd number is prime :

• Mathematician: "3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime. The result follows by induction."
• Physicist: "3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is experimental error..."
• Engineer: "3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime..."
• Computer programmer: "2 is prime, 2 is prime, 2 is prime, 2 is prime, ..."
• Economist: "2 is prime, 4 is prime, 6 is prime, 8 is prime..."

## Puncture

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.

## Reality

• An engineer thinks that equations are an approximation to reality.
• A physicist thinks reality is an approximation to equations.
• A mathematician doesn't care.

--- (from )

## Results

• The problem with engineers is that they tend to cheat in order to get results.
• The problem with mathematicians is that they tend to work on toy problems in order to get results.
• The problem with program verifiers is that they tend to cheat at toy problems in order to get results.