More highbrow jokes: We didn’t realise what we were starting

We carried a selection and you responded in kind - here are our favourite 25

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”.\

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
newsHad asteroid hit earlier or later in history, the creatures might have survived, say scientists
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried