Some old quotes from Discrete Math

2 minute read


In the spirit of the discrete midterm today, here are some of my favorite Prof. Bernoff quotes from this past semester. Some are paraphrased, but most are verbatim. If there are any I missed, or you have a more accurate version of one of the quotes below, please leave a comments. Enjoy.

“Live with the ambiguity.”

“I now have 6 balls.”

“Do you know what an urn is? Well, it doesn’t really matter. The only important thing to know is that you can put balls in them. An urn is a container that can hold balls.”

“Moldy sets”

“…So it turns out I play a lot of scrabble.”

“If you want to prove this theorem for P,Q, and R, then well, uh, you can, uh, think about P, Q, and R.”

“I don’t know what it is about today–I just want to write unions, not intersections. Maybe I’m just tired of the world being such a divisive place.”

“Don’t sweat the details… cool?”

“I is a set.”

“…and, uh, by the way, this is kind of the bane of my existence.”

“There’s actually one fairly profound thing that you can count.”

“How do I say something is an integer? Well, I say it’s in the set of integers.”

“Excuse me… is, uh, less than or equal to… uh… um… uh… …what have I done?”

“Forgive me for this.”

“At various times, I might make what are called ‘throwaway comments.’”

“So the first example is… amoeba.”

“Let’s do an examples.”

“One thing I encourage, is you should always know who your friends are on the internet.”

“A long time ago, I was in a coffeehouse in Cleveland, Ohio. Is anyone here from Cleveland, Ohio?”

“I’m going to solve this problem not once, not twice, but three times.”

“A tribble is a mythical beast.”

“Today’s lecture is meant to seduce you as an analytic number theorist.”

“Catalan numbers are, well, Catalan numbers”

“I could use Taylor’s formula–that’s painful. I could use the binomial theorem, but that’s also painful. So, what I’m going to do is wave my hands throughout the rest of the proof.”

“My life is a misplaced parentheses.”

“B, ‘twiddle!’” (x10), and “B, ‘hat!!!’” (x10)

“Sometimes, this change of perspective gives us really insight into things.”

“Well, you could make up other rules.”

“So that’s actually a pretty difficult question. Do you know how I go about approaching difficult questions that I encounter? I’d encourage all of you to consider this as an option, by the way. Well, I ask Prof. Pippenger.”

“Oh god… Uh… Nick, help me. What have I done? Nick, what have I done? Help, help help help. Nick, save me.”