My Favorite One Liners: Part 2

In this series, I’m compiling some of the quips and one-liners that I’ll use with my students to hopefully make my lessons more memorable for them.

When doing a large computation, I’ll often leave plenty of blank space on the board to fill it later. For example, when proving by mathematical induction that

1 + 3 + 5 + \dots + (2n-1) = n^2,

the inductive step looks something like

1 + 3 + 5 \dots + (2k-1) + (2[k+1]-1) =







= (k+1)^2

So I explained that, to complete the proof by induction, all we had to do was convert the top line into the bottom line.

As my class swallowed hard as they thought about how to perform this task, I told them, “Yes, this looks really intimidating. Indeed, to quote the great philosopher, ‘You might think that I’m insane. But I’ve got a blank space, baby… so let’s write what remains.’ “

And, just in case you’ve been buried under a rock, here’s the source material for the one-liner (which, at the time of this writing, is the fifth-most watched video on YouTube):

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