10 Best Jokes Heard at Conferences

Academic conferences are serious professional events, but that doesn't mean that they have to be totally devoid of fun! In fact, one of the great things about conferences is getting to know your fellow researchers face to face, and this is often easier when you're in a more informal environment. Between conferences dinners, parties, and other social events, there should be some time for fun as well as for work at a conference.

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funniest jokes heard at conferences

Here are ten of the finest and nerdiest academic jokes that you might hear at a conference.

1. “They have just found the gene for shyness. They would have found it earlier, but it was hiding behind two other genes.”

 - Stuart Peirson, senior research scientist, Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology

2. “How many graduate students does it take to change a lightbulb?”
“One, but it takes him eight years.”

 - user hegemony at Chronicle

3. “How many academics does it take to change a lightbulb?”
“None. That's what their students are for.”

 - Philip Clarke in the New Scientist

4. “The PhD student did his research on the origin of curly braces "{" and "}". I guess he was just doing a Parent-thesis.”

 - Amit Kumar Saxena

5. “Before coming here tonight I was discussing my talk with my wife and she said to me: ‘Don’t try to be too charming, too witty or too intellectual. Just be yourself.'”

 - Ryan at Public Speaking Power

6. “Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip? To get to the other… eh? Hang on…”

 - David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology, University College London

7. “After sex, one behaviourist turned to another behaviourist and said, “That was great for you, but how was it for me?”

 - Charles Fernyhough, professor of psychology at the University of Durham

8. “How many Oxbridge dons does it take to change a lightbulb?”

 - Charles Fox

9. An electron and a positron go into a bar.
    Positron: "You're round."
    Electron: "Are you sure?"
    Positron: "I'm positive."

 - as heard on BBC Radio 4

10. “Three researchers - an engineer, a physicist and a mathematician are in a hotel for an international conference. Towards midnight the engineer wakes up and smells smoke. He walks down the hall and sees a fire. Runs up to his room, fills the garbage can with water and puts out the fire. Then he goes back to bed.

An hour after the physicist wakes up and smells smoke. He opens the door of his room and sees a fire in the lobby. He takes the anti-fire emergency pump and, after calculating the speed of the flames, the distance, water pressure, trajectory, etc.., extinguishes the fire with the least expenditure of energy and water. Then he goes back to bed. An hour after the mathematician wakes up and smells smoke. He walks down the hall, sees a fire and the fire extinguisher. He reflects a moment and then exclaims: "Ah, a solution exists!". Then he goes back to sleep.”

 - Andrea Libbi

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