A retired statistician purchased a brass Aladdin's lamp at an antique shop one day. Being very proud of his purchase, he cradled the lamp with one arm against his chest and began his walk home. He had only walked a block when he was startled by a belch of smoke from the lamp and the appearance of a magic genie.

"Hello kind sir," said the genie. "I am here to grant you three wishes. Since you have toiled your entire life with numbers to benefit people in many different professions, the only provision is that these wishes must also benefit others. To insure that this happens, those three lawyers walking on the other side of the street will each receive DOUBLE what you receive."

Now the statistician recalled some bad experiences with lawyers but was still excited and agreed to the conditions. The genie smiled gleefully and asked the statistician for his first wish. The statistician thought only for a second and responded,"I would like a brand new red Ferrari automobile." Poof! A sparkling red Ferrrari appeared. He then looked across the street and saw six red Ferraris pop up, two for each lawyer.

The genie smiled broadly and asked the statistician for his second wish. With very little thought the satistician said "I would like a million dollars." Poof! A million dollars appeared in a gilded suitcase. He quickly glanced across the street and saw that each of the three lawyers received two gilded suitcases containing a million bucks each.

By this time, the statistician was becoming somewhat angry because he thought the lawyers were receiving more than their fair share. The genie then admonished him that he had only one last wish and should think very carefully about what he wanted. The statistician painfully puzzled over his last wish for several minutes. He finally replied,"You know all my life I have always wanted to be an organ donor so I hereby wish the donation of ONE of my kidneys to the local hospital! Poof! A kidney was donated .........

*Thanks to my son Joel for telling me this and I will admit to slightly altering the original. Many people required an explanation of this one.

A Physicist, a Biologist, and a Statistician see two people enter a house, and then after some time, they see three people leave the house.

The Physicist concludes, "My initial observation must have been incorrect." The Biologist concludes, "Clearly, the two reproduced..." The Statistician concludes, "Well, if one more person enters the house, then there will be no-one in the house!"

*A big thanks to Paul Dickman for this subtle piece of humor that many of my friends just don't understand.

Why did the statistician become a statistician? He found accountancy too exciting.

*Thanks to Ian Story for this offering from Australia.

PREAMBLE:It may help those who are unaware of what "epidemiologists" do to know that they are researchers who collect data about people and diseases and try to find patterns. This involves lots of data collection and statistical analysis usually. A simple (and early) example of what an epidemiologist does would be the first study to show that those who smoked were more likely to develope lung cancer etc. NOW FOR THE JOKE.....

There is a group of five statisticians on a train. At the next stop, five epidemiologists get on. They all seem to know each other and start chatting. It transpires that all the epidemiologists have bought a ticket, but the statisticians have only bought one between the five of them. "Why did you do that?" asks one of the epidemiologists. "Surely you're going to get caught and thrown off the train?" "Just wait and see!", smiles one of the statisticians.

As the ticket inspector is approaching to check everyone's tickets, the statisticians all go off to the nearest toilet - the inspector passes the epidemiologists and inspects all their tickets then moves on and notices that the toilet is locked. "Tickets please!", shouts the inspector. One of the statisticians pushes their ticket under the toilet door, which the inspector checks and returns under the door. Once the inspector has gone, all the statisticians return to their seats to the awe and amazement of the epidemiologists. "That's incredibly clever!" says one of the epidemiologists.

A few weeks later they all find themselves on the same train again. They sit together and start chatting once more. "We've done what you suggested", says one of the epidemiologists. "And just bought one ticket between the five of us!" "Oh really", says one of the statisticians. "we haven't bought ANY tickets this time!" The epidemiologists look at each other in amazement. "OK, one ticket between you is fine but not buying any at all is ludicrous!"

As the ticket inspector approaches the epidemiologists hurry off to the toilet. Once they're inside, the statisticians follow them. "Tickets please!" shouts one of the statisticians. The ticket appears under the door and they take it away and all bundle into a different toilet. The inspector gets to the toilet with the epidemiologists in it. "Tickets please!" he shouts. No reply. "Tickets please!" The epidemiologists admit defeat and come out of the toilet only to be thrown off the train at the next station.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: Epidemiologists should not attempt to use statistical methods without fully understanding the theory behind them!

*Kudos to Dave Ewart from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Oxford UK for this clever story.


Mathmatician -- 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, the rest follows by induction.

Statistician -- 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is expermental error so throw it out, 11 is prime, 13 is prime, the rest follows by induction.

Computer Scientist -- 3 is prime, 5 is prime, 7 is prime, 9 is prime, ....

*Thanks Beth Clarkson from Boeing. I still think it is a good joke!

There were a physicist, a circus strong man, and a statistician marooned on a desert island. A box of canned food washes ashore, and the question is how to open the cans. The physicist suggests dropping them from the trees so that they break open. The strong man says that's too messy. Instead, he will rip the cans open with his bare hands. The statistician says that's still too messy, but he knows how to open the cans without making a mess. "First," he says "assume we have a can opener."

*Electric or manual? Thanks Robert Frick for your contribution.

What's the difference between a physicist, a mathematician, and a statistician?

The physicist calculates until he gets a correct result and concludes that he has proven a fact.

The mathematician calculates until he gets a wrong result and concludes that he has proven the contrary of a fact.

The statistician calculates until he gets a correct result about an obviously wrong proposition and concludes NOTHING, because the explanation is the task of the scientist who consulted the statistician.

*Thanks to Robert Hacker from Austria for this one. I hope I have not done damage to the underlying humor in the translation.

Why is a physician held in much higher esteem than a statistician?

A physician makes an analysis of a complex illness whereas a statistician makes you ill with a complex analysis!

*This is my explanation of the vast pay differential between the two professions.

A beautiful young woman was dating a mathematician and a statistician, and she knew she had to make a decision. The two young fellows knew of each other, and were all the time trying to impress her with their intelligence. The woman decided that she would put the two young men to a test, and the winner would be her husband. She brought them into a small room and explained to them, "I have decided to end this battle between you, and pick one of you for my life-long partner. You must pass a simple test which I have devised. In turn, I want each of you to stand on that side of the room, and I will stand on this side of the room. Every 10 seconds, I want you to walk half the distance between us towards me until you get to me. Once you get to me, I want you to give me a kiss."

The mathematician quickly thinks he has the answer to the test, and wants to be the first to proclaim it. "I refuse to do such a thing!" the mathematician said. "If I always walk half the distance toward you, I will never get to you. There will always be some distance left, no matter how small, and it can always be split in half!" The mathematician knows he has won, and smirks quietly to himself.

The statistician thinks for a second, and says, "I'll give it a whirl." So, he stands on the other side of the room from the young woman, and then walks half way to her. After 10 seconds, he walks half way to her again. Then again. Then again. After about 2 minutes, the statistician is face to face with the young woman, their noses almost touching. Suddenly, he grabs her and gives her a big kiss!

The mathematician shouts, "Hey! You can't do that! You weren't all the way there! You CAN'T ever get all the way there by going half way each time!"

The statistician replies, "Well, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, I was there!!!"

The young woman and the statistician were wed that next spring.

*This illustrates the inflexibilty of mathematicians and the pragmatism of statisticians. Charles Cwiek from the University of Tennessee sent me this cute little story. Many thanks Volunteer!

An engineer, consultant and statistician were driving down a steep mountain road in County Donegal one evening. All of a sudden the brakes failed and the car careened down the road out of control. But half way down, the driver somehow managed to stop the car by running it against the embankment narrowly avoiding going over a very steep cliff. They all got out, shaken by their narrow escape from death, but otherwise unharmed.

The consultant said: "To fix this problem we need to organise a committee, have meetings, write several interim reports and through a process of continuous improvement, develop a solution."

The engineer said: "No! That would take far too long, and besides that method never worked before. I have my trusty penknife here and will take apart the brake system, isolate the problem and correct it."

The statistician said: "No - you're both wrong! Let's all push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again. We only have an N of 1 here!!"

*Ah, replication is the life blood of a statistician. My daughter Vicki who works at Corporate McDonalds relayed me this cute joke.

What is the difference between a statistician and a mortician?

Nobody's dying to see the statistician!

*Thanks to Tom Mortino from Nichols College for this morbid piece of humor.

There were four technicians travelling in a car, until it broke down.

The statistician was the first to react and proclaimed to his colleagues that there was no problem. "Let me explain. The car works fine. It is 6 years old, has run up 200,000 miles, and the engine has run perfectly for 5000 hours. The problem is experimental error and should be forgotten about!"

The second technician, being a mechanical engineer, and not so easily fooled decided the alternator was malfunctioning. Unable to fix it, he turned to his colleague the electrical engineer for help.

This guy decided that the ignition was the problem, but after some tinkering was also unable to fix the problem.

Finally, the computer scientist smugly looked at the other technicians and calmly suggested that everyone should get out of the car, then get back inside again!!

*Is this like erasing a corrupted hard drive and reinstalling a corrupted operating system? Many thanks to Patrick DuBoucher from Cork Ireland who sent me this joke and signed my guestbook as "student." Hmm, I wonder if a t-test would have fixed the car??

As a biologist, a physicist, and a statistician are riding on a train through Wisconsin, they pass a herd of cows, one of which is completely white. "Oh look, there are white cows in Wisconsin," says the biologist. "You mean," says the physicist with an air of superiority, "there is at least one white cow in Wisconsin." "No," says the statistician, "there is at least one cow in Wisconsin that's white on at least one side!"

*This is a new slant on an older stat joke! Thanks to Steve George of Amherst College who was told this by the late Julian Gibbs a chemist and former president of Amherst.

Five statisticians were selected by the World Unified Statistical Society (WUSS) to participate in a four-week televised reality program. The stakes were high with the survivor receiving a million dollar check and a Cray Super Computer. These statisticians represented the very best minds in their subfields and were picked on the basis of their uncanny abilities to utilize divergent thinking. The five were a Biometrician, a Psychometrician, an Actuary, a Pollster, and a Professor of Statistics. Each was given a pocket calculator and a box of Ritz crackers and airlifted to a small uninhabited atoll in the South Pacific. Each week for three weeks one statistician was voted off the island and at the end of the fourth week the entire membership of WUSS voted on the winner from the remaining twosome. Can you pick the survivor and ultimate champion?

THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!! After the third day all had perished and the program was cancelled. The million dollars was given to Statisticians Anonymous (SA) and the Cray Computer was donated to Good Will Industries.

* What a sad ending to such a valiant effort by this prestigious organization to publicize the statistical profession!!! Oh, I just remembered I let my membership in WUSS lapse last year.

A statistician always HAS SOMETHING TO SAY with numbers while a politician always HAS TO SAY SOMETHING with numbers!

*The late Dr. James B. Stroud of the University of Iowa and the 2000 presidential election inspired me to write this truism. Maybe I should hide behind a BUSH so I won't get GORED!!

A man was in a hot-air balloon. Soon he found himself lost with nothing but green fields for as far as the eye could see. Eventually, he happened to float over a man who was walking his dog.

He leaned over the basket and yelled out, "Hello! Where am I?"

The man on the ground replied, "You're about 20 feet above the ground in a hot- air balloon."

The balloonist cursed him and shouted back, "You must be a statistician."

"Why do you say that?" asked the man on the ground.

"Well," shouted the balloonist, "You're absolutely correct but your answer was completely useless."

"Oh I see," replied the walker, "And you must be a manager."

"Actually, you're right," said the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the walker, "First you were lost. Then, after working out what information you needed to sort yourself out, you asked someone else to get it for you. Now, that you have the information, you're still lost, but it's someone else's fault."

*This clever little twist on an earlier joke was sent to me by Gareth Jones of the University of Manchester in the UK. Three cheers for the statistician's quick retort.


Albert Einstein died, and found himself on the train to heaven. In his car, there were four men sitting on separate benches. He walked up to the first who said, "Hello! My name is Bob, and I have an IQ of 186." Einstein smiled brilliantly, and said "Ah-hah! We shall discuss quantum physics together!"

The second man greeted him with "Hello, sir. My name is Edward, and my IQ is 150." Einstein smiled, replying "Excellent! We shall discuss mathematics together."

Moving on, Einstein shook hands with the third man, who said, "Hello; my name is William, and my IQ is 119." Smiling again, Einstein replied "Very good! We shall talk together about European history."

The last man looked up glumly as Einstein approached, and said "Hi, my name's Chuck, and my IQ's only 87." Einstein replied sadly "I see-- we shall have to discuss statistics."

* Hmmh! I wonder if Einstein was really dissing the statistical profession or intent on giving Chuck a lesson on the Gaussian curve and telling him gently why he could never become a Gauss? Many thanks to John Schafer for including this joke when he signed my Guestbook.

A physicist, a geologist, and a statistician are talking about whose field is the most fundamental. The geologist says his is because it starts with the creation of the Earth. The physicist says his is the most fundamental because his field starts with the chaos in the universe even before the Earth was formed. The statistician smugly says, "And who do you think caused the chaos?"

*Gee, I spent my entire career teaching students a tool that breeds chaos. I would much prefer to think that I taught them something that created well organized mayhem!! (Only kidding). Anyway, thanks to Arnie Diamond for sending me this joke.

Why did the Statisticians trounce the Accountants by a score of 56-0 in their annual football game?

The Statisticians employed a BALANCED DESIGN in their offense and effectively used risk in their playbook whereas the Accountants ran only one play ENDRUN and kept risk entirely OFF their playBOOK!!!

*I just had to get this dig in at the Accountants. Statisticians may look down at their shoes a lot but they are only verifying they are on a good foundation.

Why were so many CEOs who held doctorates in accounting fired in 2002 from their companies?

They used "COOKBOOK" texts in their stat courses and decided to practice their "DOCTORING" skills!!

*I really do not want to blame the collegiate accounting programs for all the corporate woes of America. The indiscretions are probably due to simple red-green color blindness or maybe the failure to recognize the existence of a negative number. On second thought, could it just be old-fashioned greed?

A cannibal goes shopping for dinner. His wife wants to prepare brains that day. At the butcher's shop he is told that there are three prices: First, there is statistician's brain at 1 dollar per pound. Secondly, they have lawyer's brain at 2 dollars a pound. And finally, he can buy politician's brain at 4 dollars a pound.

The cannibal is bewildered at this price range and asks the butcher, "Why on earth should a pound of politician brain cost that much more than statistician brain? Do you really think that the quality is so much better?"

The butcher replies, "No, but if you count how many politicians it takes to get a pound..."

*I wonder if the cannibal should agree to a plea bargain and buy the lawyer brain? This ghoulish joke was forwarded to me by a reader of the Gallery who wished to remain anonymous because this was not his creation. Many thanks to the sender anyway.


A Professional Runner views the glass as half empty since the water is from the tap and not from a natural spring.

An Attorney views the glass as half empty since he believes his compensation is never enough.

A Mathematician can just not decide since the glass can never be EXACTLY half full or half empty.

An Accountant views the glass as half full but with tiny red asterisk chips floating on the surface.

A Statistician views the glass as half full but with bubbly foam all the way up to the brim.

*So just what is the point of stating these philosophical differences? It proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Statisticians are the most OPTIMISTIC professionals in the world because they view one-half a glass of water as essentially a FULL glass when one accounts for the ingenious inferences and extrapolations that produce this top layer of froth!! Go ahead and douse me with a BUCKET of water if you think this is lame.

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