A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer...

A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer are away from home at a conference1.

The engineer wakes up in the night to find his bed is on fire. He grabs the fire extinguisher, points it at the fire and sprays until the fire is safely extinguished. He goes back to sleep content he has solved the problem.

The physicist wakes up in the middle of the night to find his bed is also on fire. He spots the fire extinguisher, takes his notepad and pencil, and after a quick calculation puts the fire out with one well timed burst. He returns to sleep pleased with his elegant solution.

The mathematician wakes up in the middle of the night to find his bed too is on fire. He takes one look at the fire, another at the fire extinguisher, and goes back to sleep happy in the knowledge there is a solution.


  1. A mathematician will find this joke funnier if it is hosted at Hilbert’s Hotel.