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Funny anecdotes & quotes from Oxford & Cambridge universities

Funny anecdotes & quotes from Oxford & Cambridge universities

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Hi,

This is a compilation of humorous quotes from people (mostly lecturers) at

Oxford and Cambridge. I found them all on Web.

Yours,

Gautam.

OXFORD

1989

This lecturer seems to have a tautology problem:

• "A mapping is 1-1 and onto if and only if it is 1-1 and onto."

• "....and now we need to increase n. The best way to increase n is to

increase n."

• "Oh dear, where's my rifle...."

• "This is the stage where I start to pray"...

followed by...

"Somebody up there is being kind to me, are they? No."

followed by...

"I've done something silly with a square root of 2."

• "You can sleep if you want."

• "It's delicate to get your hands on it."

• "Will we all agree to shut that one in a cupboard?"

• "Well we can't quite stop yet - although I am tempted..."

• "This is fun: lots of magical ways to solve differential equations!"

A disillusioned lecturer:

• "In the old days, the pure days..."

• "This is a stupid example - you can see why; it's an exam question."

• "We observe approximate approximation to .... "

• "Integration by parts is not economical on paper"

• "It's all so simple it's hard to remember"

• "I worked it out last night - let's see if it works in the daylight"

• "I want to stop looking at inhomogeneous equations and start looking at

inhomogeneous equations"

• "Imagine me running towards you at root-three-over-two c"

You'll never guess what - we had an incredibly quotable integration lecturer:

• "Has anyone got it out yet? (Pause) You're not doing it are you?"

• "It looks an incredibly integrable function !!"

• "Proof's easy, by the way, provided I keep my act together"

• [to a moving blackboard] "SIT!!!"

• "I'll just reassmble the duster"

• "Take the computer and it will do lots of things while you're at the pub"

• "Examples come in two types: interesting ones and examination ones"

• "Now I run down the r's and up the b's"

A befuddled lecturer:

• "Is this the right lecture theatre?"

• "The proof is not required for finals, but I'm going to give you it anyway

because it's nice."

• "multiplied by the stupid derivative dFx"

• "I'd thought we'd spend the rest of the day in light entertainment: Let's do

some schools questions!"

• "Questions are easy, with a bit of luck"

• "If you want to cut corners, an intelligent corner to cut is not to learn the

proofs of any of these theorems"

• "I'll take a special delta when I see what I need"

• "If x were negative this would go sky-high - it would blast off the map"

• "Can I bring along an elephant and some trumpets to draw your

attention..."

• "Pinch yourself, kiss your neighbour, anything to draw attantion to this"

(loud kissing sound of student kissing neighbour)

• "Let me make a mistake now"

• "That woman can't clean the board. I pay someone to clean the floor at

home and then I come here and spend 15 minutes mucking around"

• "We could do it if we could pull the sum sign through and that's what God

gave us the monotone convergence theorem for"

• "...and at this stage your heart should have a slight hiccup"

• "...and at this stage you should go and have a beer"

• "Now we go into automatic drive and finish this off"

• "I'm going to use this diagram. It's not completely silly"

• "So that's what these switches do!"

A different quotable lecturer:

• "Are you bored?" [Students shout Yes]

• "Are you mega-bored?" [Students shout YES]

• "What a waste of time coming to Oxford to get bored in lectures."

A talkative lecturer:

• "No, let me stop gibbering my mouth off without thinking about it

beforehand... and I've just shot myself in the foot"

• "You keep thinking you've got over the hiccups ….. and then…. they come

back again"

• "I like it. (referring to a theorem) It looks upside down to me."

• "...there's the following delicious little proof"

• "I've got two 2's, the third should be a 3"

• "Let's fall into the trap - let's do the obvious thing"

• "The trick is not to write anything"

• "It will enable you to pull derivavtives through integrals, which you have

wanted to do all your life - and some of you have been. This tells you when

you can legally do it."

• "As you can see, these equations are very easy to remember - hold on, I've

missed out a term..."

1990

Starting off a course early in the year:

• "The important thing to remember about this course is that it doesn't

actually mean anything."

An energetic lecturer:

• "Note that one must always have his sleeves rolled up for discussing this

kind of thing."

Tautology-of-the-term prize:

• "If you start off with a 72 elements and take away half, you're left with the

other half"

CAMBRIDGE

1985

The Tautology prize goes to the lecturer who uttered the gem:

• "If we complicate things they get less simple."

This year's modesty award is given for a phrase spoken by a lecturer after a rather

difficult concept had just been introduced.

• "You may feel that this is a little unclear but in fact I am lecturing it

extremely well."

1986

From an algebra lecture:

• "This book fills a well needed gap in the literature."

And another encouraging book review:

• "This book is only for the serious enthusiast ; I haven't read it myself."

A perplexing quote from a theoretical chemist:

• "...but it might be a quasi-infinite set."

Now…What is a "quasi-infinite set?

An engineer actually gave an answer to the question of "quasi-infinite" sets:

• "It's one with more than ten elements."

And they wonder why buildings fall over... ??

• "Of course,this isn't really the best way to do it.But seeing as you're not

quite as clever as I am - in fact none of you are anywhere near as

clever as I am - we'll do it this way."

• "Now we'll prove the theorem. In fact I'll prove it all by myself."

In the middle of the course the lecturer offered this piece of careers advice:

• "If you haven't enjoyed the material in the last few lectures then a career

in chartered accountancy beckons."

A lecturer of Linear Systems found the following on his board when he arrived

one morning:

• "Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Greens' functions are boring

And so are Fourier transforms. "

1987

From a supervisor :

• "Any theorem in Analysis can be fitted onto an arbitrarily small piece of

paper if you are sufficiently obscure."

No matter how simple a course is there will always be occasions when a certain

amount of arithmetic is called for:

• "I just want you to have a brief boggle at the belly-busting complexity of

evaluating this."

• "...and you find you get great masses of energy."

• "This must be wrong by a factor that oughtn't to be too different from

unity."

• "She's the only person in DAMTP who's a real person rather than an

abstract machine for doing tripos questions."

A thought from the same student:

• "Sex and drugs? They're nothing compared with a good proof!"

• "Proof of Theorem. 6.2 is trivial from Theorem. 6.9"

• "This theorem is obviously proved as 13 equals 15."

meaning?

• "It is the complex case that is easier to deal with."

• "If you want to prove it the simplest thing is to prove it."

1988

From statistics:

• "I too would like to know what a statistician actually does."

• "We're not doing mathematics; this is statistics."

• "You could define the subspace topology this way, if you were

sufficiently malicious."

• "You mustn't be too rigid when doing Fluid mechanics."

• "This handout is not produced for your erudition but merely so I can

practice the TeX word-processor."

• "There are two proteins involved in DNA synthasis, they are called

DNAsynthase 1 and DNAsynthase 3"

• "Just because they are called 'forbidden' transitions does not mean that

they are forbidden. They are less allowed than allowed transitions, if you

see what I mean."

• "Graphs of higher degree polynomials have this habit of doing unwanted

wiggly things."

• "Apart from the extra line that's a one line proof."

• "This is a one line proof...if we start sufficiently far to the left."

• "This is the maximum power triangle." said a lecturer, pointing to a

rectangle.

This year the Computer Scientists seem to be in the running for the Honesty

Award:

• "I'm not going to get anything more useful done in this lecture, so I might

as well talk."

later followed by ...

"Well there you are, one more lecture with no useful content."

And from various research seminars in the King's College Research Centre:

• "I'm sure it's right whether it's valid or not."

• "...the non-uniqueness is exponentially small."

• "I'm not going to say exactly what I mean because I'm not absolutely

certain myself."

• "It's dangerous to name your children until you know how many you are

going to have."

• "You don't want to prove theorems that are false."

• "If you play around with your fingers for a while, you'll see that's true."

From a first year chemistry lecture… some personal problems of the lecturer:

• "Before I started this morning's lecture I was going to tell you about my

divorce… but on reflection I thought I'd better tell it to my wife first."

******************

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