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Question
Can you help me understand this joke?
Infinitely many physicists walk into a bar. The first says, Ill have a beer. The second says, Ill have two beers. The third says, Ill have three beers. The bartender grabs a beer that one of them walked in with, pours out a twelfth of it, and returns the bottle.

Thank you in advance for your help,
Charlie

Answer
It's a little weird, and involved.  But the full details are worked out properly here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1_%2B_2_%2B_3_%2B_4_%2B_%E2%8B%AF  See the Ramanujan summation part.  The answer to the infinite series you're talking about is -1/12.  It takes a while to wrap your head around.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

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I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

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I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

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Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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