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”.\

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy