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mathematics physics biology
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Three men with degrees in mathematics, physics and biology are locked
up in dark rooms for research reasons.

A week later the researchers open the a door, the biologist steps out
and reports: `Well, I sat around until I started to get bored, then
I searched the room and found a tin which I smashed on the floor.
There was food in it which I ate when I got hungry. That's it.'

Then they free the man with the degree in physics and he says:
`I walked along the walls to get an image of the room's geometry, then
I searched it. There was a metal cylinder at five feet into the room
and two feet left of the door. It felt like a tin and I threw it at
the left wall at the right angle and velocity for it to crack open.'

Finally, the researchers open the third door and hear a faint voice
out of the darkness: `Let C be an open can.'

mathematics physics
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From: "Softsheep" <ns1052#NoSpam.fen.baynet.de>
(Blame JV for translation from german)

Take a mathematician, a physicist and a theologian and locks each of them
in his own room with a can of spinach, but withouth a can opener.  After a
week one opens the doors.  What has happened:

With the theologian:
 Bumps in the can, scratches on the wall, everywhere spinach.
=> He threw the can so long against the wall till it broke - He survived.

With the physicist:
 On the wall are calculations and in a corner a small scratch with spinach.
=> He calculated the force and the angel needed to open the can. - He

With the mathematician:
  Dead!  On the wall a text: "I define: The can is open."

From: stolze#NoSpam.minet.uni-jena.de (Knut)

Which proves you cannot eat from open cans.

From:  (Curd Reinert)
Which proves before all, that both theologians and physicists can live form
one can of spinach and need no water.  The mathematician, as a more
demanding lifeform understood immediately, that an open can spinach would
not reach for a week and made a last joke.

mathematics physics
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From: Florian Them़ (Blame Joachim for translation from german)
The mathematician's version of the story:
A mathematician and a physicist are in a room an try to open a can of
beans.  The physicist calculates the exact angle to throw the can against
the wall, that is necessary to open it.  He throws, the can hits the wall,
it bumps back to the physicist and throws him against the floor.
When he is standing again, he sees the mathematician eating the beans.
He asks: "How did you do that?"
The mathematician: "O, I just defined the can open."

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From: Eike Michaelis <eike#NoSpam.nef.wh.uni-dortmund.de>
And yet another variation:
The room with the topologist mathematician, who was locked in the room
with the closed can is found empty, with the can still closed.  Suddenly
something knocks in the can.  The can is opened, the mathematician comes out
with the word: "Shit, sign error."

mathematics physics engineering
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There was a mad scientist ( a mad ...social... scientist ) who
kidnapped  three colleagues, an engineer, a physicist, and a
mathematician, and locked  each of them in seperate cells with plenty
of canned food and water but no can opener.

A month later, returning, the mad scientist went to the engineer's
cell and  found it long empty.  The engineer had constructed a can
opener from pocket trash, used aluminum shavings and dried sugar to
make an explosive, and escaped.

The physicist had worked out the angle necessary to knock the lids off
the tin  cans by throwing them against the wall.  She was developing a
good pitching arm and a new quantum theory.

The mathematician had stacked the unopened cans into a surprising
solution to the kissing problem; his desiccated corpse was propped
calmly against a wall, and this was inscribed on the floor in blood:

        Theorem: If I can't open these cans, I'll die.

        Proof: assume the opposite...

mathematics physics
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From: ui2b#NoSpam.rzstud2.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de (Ernst Schnell)

A philosopher, a physicist and a mathematician are scheduled to prove their
surviving abilities. Therefore they are to be incarcerated in different cells
with each having a closed can of corned beef and no opener. First goes the
philosopher. After a time of two weeks, the cell is opened and the
philosopher found dead, the can still closed. He must have died thinking
about a way to open it. Second goes the physicist. Two weeks later he is
found with the whole wall filled with formulas, munching happily on his
corned beef. Last goes the Mathematician. Two weeks later the door is
opened. The can is still there, untouched but the mathematician has
Suddenly the Jailor hears a knocking from inside the can. After he has got
an opener, he discovers the mathematician sitting inside, scratching his
beard and mumbling, "There must have been something wrong with the prefix."

mathematics physics
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From: Tigger Facebook <tiggerfacebook#NoSpam.yahoo.co.uk>

A scientist, engineer and economist on a desert island with can of beans.

Part One A scientist, engineer and economist are stranded on a desert island with only one can of beans to eat. They will starve if they can't open it. The scientist suggests placing a lens between the sun and the can to melt a hole in the metal can. The engineer suggests a complicated system of ropes and pulleys to smash the can with rocks. The economist says: "Let us assume we have a can opener..." Part Two Later, after they have been rescued, the economist earns £100,000 from a newspaper article on their adventure in which he points out that the scientist's solution would have burned the beans to ashes so they would have starved, the engineer's solution would have smashed the beans and spread the remains all over the sand, making the beans inedible, so they would have starved. He, by contrast, by analysing the fundamental actions of a can opener, would have come up with a sensible solution had they not been rescued, so he was right all along. (He then spends 20 years making a career out of photocopying the same article, cutting it up, rearranging it, taping the bits together and adding or removing a few sentences until he has written enough articles for economics periodicals to become a professor. Then he gets a job advising the government and several City directorships and retires to a lovely desert island.)

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