Let be the home of Farmer Gray, let be the proposition “ is a birthday party,” let be the proposition “ is the perfect ending of a perfect day,” let be the proposition “ is a fireplace,” let be the proposition “ sings that songs that knows without a single stop,” and let be the proposition “ watches the chestnuts pop.” Translate the logical statement

,

where the domain for and are all places and the domain for is all people.

I won’t spoil the fun of attempting a direct English translation, but this is one of the closing verses to “Sleigh Ride.”

And while I’m on the topic, I can’t resist also sharing The Three Tenors singing “Sleigh Ride” in perhaps the most delightful waste of immense talent in recorded human history… though the closing note is incredible.

Context: This semester, I taught discrete mathematics for the first time. Part of the discrete mathematics course includes an introduction to predicate and propositional logic for our math majors. As you can probably guess from their names, students tend to think these concepts are dry and uninteresting even though they’re very important for their development as math majors.

In an effort to making these topics more appealing, I spent a few days mining the depths of popular culture in a (likely futile) attempt to make these ideas more interesting to my students. In this series, I’d like to share what I found. Naturally, the sources that I found have varying levels of complexity, which is appropriate for students who are first learning prepositional and predicate logic.

When I actually presented these in class, I either presented the logical statement and had my class guess the statement in actual English, or I gave my students the famous quote and them translate it into predicate logic. However, for the purposes of this series, I’ll just present the statement in predicate logic first.

I'm a Professor of Mathematics and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of North Texas. For eight years, I was co-director of Teach North Texas, UNT's program for preparing secondary teachers of mathematics and science.
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