Ultra-highbrow jokes should, by definition, be the playthings of those who know their quarks from their leptons, their Descartes from their Dostoyevsky. It seems there is a legion of clever comedians among Independent readers who, over the past week, have submitted dozens of their finest efforts.
We published an article drawing attention to the huge online response to a question posed on a popular website: “What’s the most intellectual joke you know?”
Since then we have been inundated with tales of photons checking into hotels, Pavlov in a pub, Jean-Paul Sartre ordering coffee, and computer programmers changing light bulbs.
Some had us in stitches, some had us scratching our head and consulting particle physics books. Some were, frankly, unprintable. But all were better than the standard knock-knock fare.
Here, with thanks to all of you who contributed them, we re-print 25 of our favourites. For a larger, less-censored selection, have a look at the comments beneath the original article.
What’s the difference between an etymologist, and an entomologist? An etymologist knows the difference.
A biochemist walks into a student bar and says to the barman: “I’d like a pint of adenosine triphosphate, please.” “Certainly,” says the barman, “that’ll be ATP.”
How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change.
Why do Marx and Engels drink herbal tea? Because proper tea is theft.
A layman, a scientist and a mathematician are driving through Wales when they spot a black sheep on a hillside. The layman says: “How fascinating. The sheep in Wales are black.” The scientist says: “No. There is one sheep in Wales which is black.” The mathematician sighs and rolls his eyes. “I beg to differ. There is one sheep in Wales, one side of which is black.”
What did the proton say to the ever-grumpy electron? “Why do you have to be so negative all the time?”
Two atoms are walking down the street. One atom says to the other: “Hey! I think I lost an electron!” The other says: “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m positive!”
Why are quantum physicists terrible in bed? Because when they find the position, they can’t find the momentum, and when they have the momentum, they can’t find the position.
Two behaviourists meet in the street. One says to the other: “You’re OK. How am I?”
The masochist said to the sadist “hit me” and the sadist said “no”.
The science teacher took a drink, but now he drinks no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.
What did the Nihilist Borg Say? “Existence is Futile.”
A woman comes home to find her string theorist husband in bed with another woman. “But honey,” he says, “I can explain everything!”
Why didn’t the quantum particle cross the road? He was already on both sides.
Why is it so difficult to explain bad puns to kleptomaniacs? Because they always take things so literally.
How many people of a certain demographic does it take to perform a specified task? It takes a finite number: one person to perform the task and an additional number to act in a manner stereotypical of the group to which they belong.
How many Freudians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? It takes two, one to screw in the lightbulb, and one to hold the peni-, fathe-, LADDER!
Schroedinger’s cat walks into a bar. And it doesn’t.
What is the longest song in the world? Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall.
Two cats are sitting on a roof. Which one slips off? The one with the smallest mu.
Why did the inverse function cross the road? To get to the same side.
How does a mathematician determine the shortest fence to include a herd of cattle? He draws a fence around his feet and declares “I’m outside the fence”.
Descartes walks into a bar. “Beer?” asks the barman. “I think not” replies Rene, who disappears.
Stefan Banach and Alfred Tarski go into a pub. They order one half between them and get two pints – (the barman believed in the axiom of choice). “That’ll be £5”, says the barman. They give him 1p and he puts £5 in the till.
What’s a good anagram of “Banach-Tarski”? “Banach-Tarski Banach-Tarski”.
A Higgs boson walks into a church. The priest says, “Get out, you blasphemer. How dare you call yourself the ‘God particle’?” The Higgs boson replies: “But I make up the mass.”
What do you get if you cross a zebra with a banana? Zebra banana sine theta.
How many Microsoft designers does it take to change a lightbulb? None – they just define darkness as “industry standard”.\