Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about Psychology – One

MTr 2

Johnny paid his way through college by waitering in a restaurant.

“What's the usual tip” asked a customer.

“Well,” said Johnny, “this is my first day, but the other guys said that, if I got five dollars out of you, I’d be doing great.”

“Is that so?” growled the customer. “In that case, here's twenty dollars.”

“Thanks. I'll put it in my college fund,” Johnny said.

“By the way, what are you studying?” asked the customer.

“Applied psychology.”

Anecdotes about Psychology – Two

MTr 3

A man was walking in the street one day when he was brutally beaten and robbed.
As he lay unconscious and bleeding, a psychologist, who happened to be passing by, rushed up to him and exclaimed, 

“My God! Whoever did this really needs help!”

Anecdotes about Psychology – Three

MTr 4

A psychotherapist returned from a conference in the Rocky mountains, where the delegates spent more time on the icy ski slopes than attending lectures and seminars.
When she got back, her husband asked her, “So, how did it go?”

“Fine,” she replied, "but I've never seen so many Freudians slip.”

Anecdotes about Psychology – Four

MTr 5

At a job interview for a new receptionist:


“I see you used to be employed by a psychologist. Why did you leave?”

“Well, I just couldn't win. If I was late to work, I was hostile; if I was early, I was anxious; and if I was on time, I was obsessional.”

Anecdotes about Psychology – Five

MTr 6

One day at a trial, an eminent psychologist was called to testify. A severe no nonsense professional, she sat down in the witness chair unaware that its rear legs were set precariously on the back of the raised platform.

“Will you state your name?” asked the district attorney.

Tilting back in her chair she opened her mouth to answer, but instead catapulted head-over-heels backward and landed in a stack of exhibits and recording equipment. Everyone watched in stunned silence as she extricated herself, rearranged her disheveled dress and hair and was re-seated on the witness stand. The glare she directed at onlookers dared anyone to so much as smirk.

“Well, doctor,” continued the district attorney without changing expression, “we could start with an easier question.”

Anecdotes about Mathematicians, Logicians and Scientists – One

 

MTr 2 bertrand russell 2

The great logician Bertrand Russell (or was it A.N. Whitehead?) once claimed that he could prove anything if given that 1+1=1. So one day, some smarty-pants asked him, “Ok. Prove that you're the Pope.” He thought for a while and proclaimed, “I am one. The Pope is one. Therefore, the Pope and I are one.”

Anecdotes about Mathematicians, Logicians and Scientists – Two

 

MTr 3 John von Neumann

The following problem can be solved either the easy way or the hard way.

Two trains 200 miles apart are moving toward each other; each one is going at a speed of 50 miles per hour. A fly starting on the front of one of them flies back and forth between them at a rate of 75 miles per hour. It does this until the trains collide and crush the fly to death. What is the total distance the fly has flown?

The fly actually hits each train an infinite number of times before it gets crushed, and one could solve the problem the hard way with pencil and paper by summing an infinite series of distances. The easy way is as follows: Since the trains are 200 miles apart and each train is going 50 miles an hour, it takes 2 hours for the trains to collide. Therefore the fly was flying for two hours. Since the fly was flying at a rate of 75 miles per hour, the fly must have flown 150 miles. That's all there is to it.

When this problem was posed to John von Neumann, he immediately replied, “150 miles.”

“It is very strange,” said the poser, “but nearly everyone tries to sum the infinite series.”

“What do you mean, strange?” asked Von Neumann. “That's how I did it!”

Anecdotes about Mathematicians, Logicians and Scientists– Three

 

MTr 4 Newton

The English mathematician John Wallis (1616-1703) was a friend of Newton. According to his diary, Newton once bragged to Wallis about his little dog Diamond.

“My dog Diamond knows some mathematics. Today he proved two theorems before lunch.”

“Your dog must be a genius,” said Wallis.

“Oh I wouldn't go that far,” replied Newton. "The first theorem had an error and the second had a
pathological exception.”

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