We were discussing "Limericks" in my Calculus class. Specifically, "equation Limericks".

A Limerick is a poem with five lines.

The first, second, and fifth lines should have nine syllables each and rhyme with each other,
and the third and fourth should have six syllables each and rhyme with each other.

An obscure subtype of the limerick is the "equation Limerick", which states an equation.

Here are some examples given in class:

enter image description here

A dozen, a gross, plus a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven
Plus five times eleven
Is nine squared (and not a bit more).

enter image description here

The integral tee squared dee tee
From one to the cube root of three
Times the cosine
Of three pi over nine
Is the log of the cube root of e.

enter image description here

The lon of e to the four
Times the square root of en twenty-four
Adding six dozen please
Minus eight twenty-three's
Is sixteen, case is closed, shut the door.

I was able to come up with a couple of my own Limericks, but they are a bit simple compared to the ones above.

There is surprisingly not a lot of resources online regarding equation Limericks. Can anyone come up with their own that they would like to share?

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    $\begingroup$ This is a fantastic post and the limericks are really clever. I pity the downvoter for his lack of humour (but, alas, I'm not surprised...) $\endgroup$ – Georges Elencwajg Nov 22 '13 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ I attempted to fix two typos: 'lon' --> 'log' and 'en' --> 'ten', but the system wouldn't let me, saying that edits have to be at least 6 characters. $\endgroup$ – EulerSpoiler Nov 24 '18 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ math.stackexchange.com/questions/1692395/mathematical-limerick $\endgroup$ – EulerSpoiler Nov 24 '18 at 18:37

Take two thousand one ninety seven,

Find cuberoot and add to eleven.

Now divide this by eight,

And get almost by fate

The number of vowels in "heaven".

[equation $(\sqrt[3]{2197}+11)/8=3.$]

  • $\begingroup$ This ones great too. I particularly like the last line. $\endgroup$ – Zelent Nov 23 '13 at 15:11

WARNING: What you see below is my first-ever attempt at poetry in English.

My take on the classics: $e^{\pi \cdot 2i} = 1$.

We start with the constant called $\pi$ / And then multiply by $2i$ / Apply exponential / (This step is essential) / And one's the result who-knows-why!

  • $\begingroup$ Wow, that's amazing! Great work Dan! However, it seems like your first, second, and fifth lines have 8 syllables instead of 9. Regardless, I still like your first-ever attempt at poetry. $\endgroup$ – Zelent Nov 23 '13 at 2:24
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    $\begingroup$ Close enough. After all, 9-8=1 is a famous result in diophantine equations. $\endgroup$ – marty cohen Nov 23 '13 at 5:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Zelent they do have 8 syllables. In my defense, so does the first example in the original post )) $\endgroup$ – Dan Shved Nov 23 '13 at 6:19
  • $\begingroup$ Good point Dan. I looked into Limericks in more detail, and it seems like there are different interpretations for the structure. For example, one source I found said the first, second, and fifth lines had to have nine syllables. Another source stated they had to have seven to ten. I assume the writer of the first example based it off the second variation. $\endgroup$ – Zelent Nov 23 '13 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the common thread is the number of stressed syllables per line being 3,3,2,2,3. At least this seems to fit most I've seen, without necessarily counting syllables. There once was a seaman named Cass, etc starts with 8 syllables but conforms to the 3 long syllables in the first line. (This is a somewhat "dirty" limerick, and it's in some collections.) $\endgroup$ – coffeemath Nov 23 '13 at 18:04

Based on the first limerick (this one is not a limerick, just saying)

Take a baker's dozen,

Multiply it by a regular dozen,

Add one and divide by seven,

Multiply by eleven

You will get one-ninety-seven

And a dozen.

$(((13 * 12) + 1)/7) * 11 = 197 + 12$


Five times the cube root of eight, times three now that is pretty great, plus eight and eleven, the square root is seven, plus eleven is ten and an eight.


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