Lightening Up:

A genre of humor of which I was previously unaware (courtesy of my daughter): elementary particle jokes.

So a neutron walked into a bar and says, "i'd like a beer, please." And the bartender gives him one and the neutron says, "thanks, how much?" and the bartender says, "For you? No charge."

So one ion runs into another ion and says, "Hey, can you help me? I think I lost an electron." And the second ion says, "Wow, are you sure?" and the first one says, "Yeah, I'm positive!"

Bill Twist:
There is a certain quarkiness to particle jokes.

/Tron means 'dude'.
10.10.2008 11:29am
Alejandro (mail):
So, two fermions walk into a bar, and one says: "I'd like a beer, please." The other one says: "Damn, that's what I wanted!"
10.10.2008 11:33am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
A couple protons meet in the LHC throwing off a shower of daughter particles including a Higgs bosun After being snared by a few quarks they all think, "Wooo, that was the best bang since the Big One."
10.10.2008 11:48am

Higgs bosun

The guy that yells "Weigh Anchor!" aboard ship.
10.10.2008 12:02pm
Whadonna More:

Soronel Haetir
A couple protons meet in the LHC throwing off a shower of daughter particles including a Higgs bosun

The only proper punchline to this setup has to include the phrase "Hey, sailor...".
10.10.2008 12:06pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
These are just a subset of science puns. Examples:

1. A mushroom walks into a bar, the bartender says "I'm sorry, we don't serve mushrooms here", and the mushroom says "Why not? I'm a fun guy."

2. If someone says "What's up?", answer "The zenith".

3. If someone says "What's new?", answer "Pi over lambda".

There are a couple more here, one with a Volokh connection, the other requiring an illustration.
10.10.2008 12:14pm
The electron says to neutron "What do you do around here, anyway, all I ever see you do is take up space." The neutron replies "I'd show you if you ever stopped being so negative."

The first electron says to the second "Did you hear Bill O'Reilly went nuts?" and the second says "You're just blowing things out of proportion." The first replies "What do you mean, I don't have a quantum of spin!"
10.10.2008 12:16pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
My favorite one-word physics joke: "entorpy".

THe astute will recognize this as a word which has suffered a loss of order.
10.10.2008 12:22pm
ifoughtthelaw (mail) (www):
Werner Heisenberg gets pulled over for speeding. The police officer says to him, "Do you know how fast you were going?" Heisenberg replies, "No, but I know where I am."

What do you get when you cross a mountain climber with a mosquito? Nothing - You can't cross a scaler with a vector.

What's more stable, steak or hamburger? Hamburger, because it's in the ground state.
10.10.2008 12:29pm
U.Va. Grad:
I always thought it would be funny to open up a pub across the street from Fermilab and call it the H Bar.
10.10.2008 12:34pm
Eric Wilner (mail) (www):
The proper title for gags akin to the second one is, of course:
Ionic humor (Doric humor is in the next column)
10.10.2008 12:40pm
EH (mail):
"...I've a-gotta row!"
10.10.2008 12:42pm
The Oracle of Syracuse:
Very funny, Gabriel McCall, to the initiated.

I suspect, however, that that is also your least favorite one word physics joke, as it is likely the only one word physics joke in existence.

PS: If not, more please...
10.10.2008 12:53pm
Andrew M:
I think it's time for a calc joke:

e^x and an arbitrary constant were waling down the street. Suddenly the arbitrary constant started panicking and cowering in fear. e^x asked him what the problem was. The arbitrary constant pointed down the block and said, "See that fellow down there? That's a differential operator. If he gets to me and differentiates, they'll be nothing left!" e^x thinks about this for a minute and realizes, "I'm e^x! Differentiation will do nothing to me!" So he goes up to the operator and introduces himself: "Hi! I'm e^x." Reply: "Hi, I'm d/dy."
10.10.2008 12:55pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
As an undergrad in physics, my favorite physics jokes involved spherical cows.
10.10.2008 1:04pm
one of many:
Ah the good old spherical cow jokes, I do so love the classics. I like "so two protons go into a black hole" myself.
10.10.2008 1:18pm
vinnie (mail):
one of my old favorites:


5 Questions, 60 Minutes.

You may use a calculator, the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and the Book of Mormon. The speed of light is c. Show all work. For all problems, assume a perfectly spherical Jesus of constant density D. No praying during the exam.

1. (20 pts.) Bob and Joe are standing on a street corner. God loves each an equal amount L. Bob then accelerates to .9c. In Joe's rest frame, how much does God now love Bob?
2. Sven, a Catholic, is in a state of grace. He then has sex with sheep S.
a. (8 pts.) What is Sven's atonement coefficient following the act if the sheep was not willing?
b. (12 pts.) What if the sheep, while not technically being willing, could not be said to mind either?
3. (20 pts.) Let the eternal, all abiding love of the Holy Spirit be the xy plane. Let Sue's soul be at (0,0,5) at t = 0 sec., traveling at 5 m/s in the direction of the positive z axis. Everything is in Cartesian coordinates bespeaking subscription to a perfectly rational Enlightenment attitude towards the Universe. At what time t will Sue be saved? (Hint: Assume a point soul.)

4. (20 pts.) Assume the Rapture occurs at time t. Cornelia, a saved human weighing 90 kg, in a state of grace, has her head in the closing jaws of an alligator at time t. What mass of meat will remain to the alligator at time t + 10 sec.?
5. Stan is a frictionless, massless Mormon in a rest state. His sin level for his faith is currently 11 McBeals. He eats .3 kg of pork, and enjoys it very much. Assume that the Jews are right about, well, pretty much everything.
a. (10 pts.) What is Stan's sin level now?
b. (10 pts.) Stan is one of them Salt Lake City Mormons. He ain't so damn smug now, is he?
Extra Credit (10 pts): 25 grams of wafers and 20 ml of cheap wine undergo transubstantiation and become the flesh and blood of our Lord. How many Joules of heat are released by the transformation?

Hand in exam when done, and may God have mercy on your work.
10.10.2008 1:20pm
What did the mother say to her little curl?

You've got no potential.
10.10.2008 1:25pm
Kevin R (mail):
Since I studied computer science, rather than real science or engineering, all I have is this:

An ASCII character walks into a bar. The bartender says, "What's wrong?" The ASCII character says, "I have a parity error." The bartender says, "Yeah, I thought you looked a bit off."
10.10.2008 1:34pm
Let's add some relativity into the mix:

A bar walks into a physicist . . .

Damn, wrong frame of reference.

10.10.2008 1:45pm
Sarcastro (www):
Elephant-grape sign theta!
10.10.2008 2:01pm
James Ellis (mail):
A father purchased a cattle ranch for his three boys. He named it Focus. When asked why, he responded "because that's where the sons raise meat."

I think I read that joke in Isaac Asimov's Treasury of Humor (yes, there is such a book).
10.10.2008 2:09pm
A guy walks into a place called the Entropy Bar, and the bartender says, "Can I take your order?"
10.10.2008 2:31pm
Psi. The only jokes I know are tachyons. So I'll just rest mass awhile.
10.10.2008 3:08pm
vinnie (mail):
It is so nice to deal with people who don't think tachyons are gluons that aren't dry yet.
10.10.2008 3:15pm
A wave and a particle are walking with each other, when one turns to the other and asks, "I forget, which one of us am I?"
10.10.2008 3:21pm
Sagar (mail):
this is a middle school math joke:

After the great flood Noah was letting out the animals from the Ark with a "Go forth and multiply!" command. When it was the turn of snakes to leave, a couple of them responded: "We are adders! We are adders!".

"There you go, you whiners" said Noah as he tossed a couple of logs at them.
10.10.2008 5:46pm
John Armstrong (mail) (www):
Three men -- one from Russia, one from Ukraine, and one from Poland -- all decide to escape from behind the iron curtain. The last of the three had been a barnstormer in his youth, and the second had access to a cache of guns, so the first one (the brains) decides that they're going to hijack a Tu-144 from the Moscow airport.

They get access to the tarmac and board along with the real passengers. Right before the door is closed, though, the three of them all whip out their guns and hurry the flight crew off the plane, closing the door behind them. The two keep the passengers under control while the barnstormer heads up to the cockpit, only to find that the controls of a supersonic jet are nothing like those of the cropdusting biplanes he knew years ago.

So he's sitting there, trying vainly to understand even how to turn on the engines, when the Russian sends the Ukranian up to check on him. "Hurry," says the Ukranian, "the KGB will be here any minute!"

"Patience!" the pilot responds. "I'm a simple Pole in a complex plane!"
10.10.2008 7:34pm