And now, from our Department of Applied Science, here is:

Subject: Differences in the sciences

Source: Robert C Oshinsky < >

The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?"

The graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"

The graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"

The graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"


Engineers think that equations approximate the real world.

Scientists think that the real world approximates equations.

Mathematicians are unable to make the connection...


A Mathematician, a Biologist and a Physicist are sitting in a street cafe watching people going in and coming out of the house on the other side of the street.

First they see two people going into the house. Time passes.

After a while they notice three persons coming out of the house.

The Physicist: "The measurement wasn't accurate.".

The Biologists conclusion: "They have reproduced".

The Mathematician: "If now exactly 1 person enters the house then it will be empty again."


An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are shown a pasture with a herd of sheep, and told to put them inside the smallest possible amount of fence. The engineer is first. He herds the sheep into a circle and then puts the fence around them, declaring, "A circle will use the least fence for a given area, so this is the best solution."

The physicist is next. She creates a circular fence of infinite radius around the sheep, and then draws the fence tight around the herd, declaring, "This will give the smallest circular fence around the herd." The mathematician is last. After giving the problem a little thought, he puts a small fence around himself and then declares, "I define myself to be on the outside!"


A economist, computer programmer and an operations researcher were all applying for the same job. The interviewer presented them with a business problem and asked each of them to return the next day with a solution.

The economist showed up with bags under his eyes. He had obviously had a late night. In his presentation he brought up graphs and spoke about cost curves, demand and market trends. All this confused the interviewer.

The computer programmer appeared to have stayed up all night. She took out her lap top and described the computer code she had written. She even discussed the theory behind the mathematical formulas. When she ran her model it went smoothly coming up with a precise answer with a range of error and probability associated with alternative results. This confused the interviewer even more.

Finally the operations researcher came up to give his presentation. He appeared to be well rested. He did not have any charts, slides or even a computer. The interviewer was a little perplexed. The OR sat down across from the interviewer with a note pad. Then the interviewer asked if he hadcome up with a solution to the problem. The OR replied, "What do you want it to be."

The OR got the job.


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