Topology Atlas Document # topc-64.htm | Production Editor: Thomas M. Zachariah

## Old Songs

Songs from Volume 3, #2, of TopCom

## There's A Delta For Every Epsilon (Calypso)

Words and Music by Tom Lehrer
American Mathematical Monthly, 81 (1974) 612:

There's a delta for every epsilon,
It's a fact that you can always count upon.
There's a delta for every epsilon
And now and again,
There's also an N.

But one condition I must give:
The epsilon must be positive
A lonely life all the others live,
In no theorem
A delta for them.

How sad, how cruel, how tragic,
Tives that I might mention.
The matter merits our attention.
If an epsilon is a hero,
Just because it is greater than zero,
It must be mighty discouragin'
To lie to the left of the origin.

This rank discrimination is not for us,
We must fight for an enlightened calculus,
Where epsilons all, both minus and plus,
Have deltas
To call their own.

## The Derivative Song

Words by Tom Lehrer - Tune: "There'll be Some Changes Made"
American Mathematical Monthly, 81 (1974) 490:

You take a function of x and you call it y,
Take any x-nought that you care to try,
You make a little change and call it delta x,
The corresponding change in y is what you find nex',
And then you take the quotient and now carefully
Send delta x to zero, and I think you'll see
That what the limit gives us, if our work all checks,
Is what we call dy/dx,
It's just dy/dx.

## The Professor's Song

Words by Tom Lehrer - Tune: "If You Give Me Your Attention" from Princess Ida(Gilbert and Sullivan)
American Mathematical Monthly, 81 (1974) 745:

If you give me your attention, I will tell you what I am.
I'm a brilliant math'matician - also something of a ham.
I have tried for numerous degrees, in fact I've one of each;
Of course that makes me eminently qualified to teach.
I understand the subject matter thoroughly, it's true,
And I can't see why it isn't all as obvious to you.
Each lecture is a masterpiece, meticulously planned,
Yet everybody tells me that I'm hard to understand,
And I can't think why.

My diagrams are models of true art, you must agree,
And my handwriting is famous for its legibility.
Take a word like "minimum" (to choose a random word),
{This was performed at a blackboard, and the professor wrote:
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/}
For anyone to say he cannot read that, is absurd.
The anecdotes I tell get more amusing every year,
Though frankly, what they go to prove is sometimes less than clear,
And all my explanations are quite lucid, I am sure,
Yet everybody tells me that my lectures are obscure,
And I can't think why.

Consider, for example, just the force of gravity:
It's inversely proportional to something - let me see -
It's r3 - no, r2 - no, it's just r, I'll bet -
The sign in front is plus - or is it minus, I forget -
Well, anyway, there is a force, of that there is no doubt.
All these formulas are trivial if you only think them out.
Yet students tell me, "I have memorized the whole year through
Ev'rything you've told us, but the problems I can't do."
And I can't think why!