High-brow limericks


Said Plato: “These things that we feel
Are not ontologically real,
But just the excresence
Of numinous essence
Our senses can never reveal.”

via Futility Closet


The integral z-squared dz
From one to the cube root of 3
Times the cosine
Of three pi over nine
Is the log of the cube root of e.

via Scott Franklin


Planktonic cells are all alone;
More typically in biofilms grown.
Bacterial masses
Whose abundance surpasses
The weight of all elephants known.

via Brendan Niemira

A prime number

Two quintillion, seventy-seven
Quadrillion, three hundred eleven
Trillion, one billion,
Twenty-four million,
One thousand two hundred and seven.

via Andrew


The topological part of my brain
Finds Möbius strips quite a strain.
But I make you this pledge:
I’ll glue one at its edge
And build a real projective plane.

By Richard Elwes

Feel free to contribute your own limericks in the comments, but please follow these guidelines:

  1. Keep it geeky.
  2. Keep it clean.

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11 thoughts on “High-brow limericks

  1. Euclid’s proof was sublime
    He showed there’s no largest prime.
    If there was? Well my word!
    The results are absurd!
    If it was prose it would rhyme.

  2. Brendan Niemira

    Environmental microbial ecology:

    Planktonic cells are all alone;
    More typically in biofilms grown.
    Bacterial masses
    Whose abundance surpasses
    The weight of all elephants known.

  3. A woman who loved a good fight
    Would demand, as she argued all night,
    Philosophical heft
    From those on the left
    And empirical proof from the right.

    The background to this verse may be found here.

  4. Biologists wash hands post loo,
    As chemists beforehand will do.
    Biochemists discern
    The wider concern,
    Washing prior as well as post too.

  5. There once was a rhymer named Hugh,
    Whose limericks stopped at line two.

    There once was a poet named Dunn.

    Just couldn’t help but complete the implied thought in context, could you?

  6. Okay, this is the last clean and geeky contribution I can offer…

    An electron that wouldn’t behave
    Like a particle was called a “wave,”
    By a physicist who
    Had a problem or two
    With some theories he just couldn’t save.

  7. I didn’t make these up. I read them years ago in the bathroom of the berkeley physics building…

    A friend who’s in liquor production
    owns a still of astounding construction
    the alcohol boils
    through old magnet coils
    he says that it’s proof by induction

    Dear S prime i note with distress
    that the length of your yardstick is less
    and please wind your clock
    to make it tick tock
    more quickly your faithful friend S

  8. I got this from the book “One Two Three Infinity..” by George Gamow.

    There was a young girl named Miss. Bright.
    Who could travel faster than light.
    She departed one day
    In an Einsteinian way
    And came back the previous night.

  9. I wrote this for a friend:

    A mathematician named Nitu
    tried to find all the groups of degree 2.
    From much computation
    He found with elation
    The only example was Z_2.

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