Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a by Lawrence Weinstein, John A. Adam

By Lawrence Weinstein, John A. Adam

Guesstimation is a booklet that unlocks the ability of approximation--it's renowned arithmetic rounded to the closest strength of ten! the power to estimate is a crucial ability in way of life. a growing number of best companies this day use estimation questions in interviews to check applicants' talents to imagine on their ft. Guesstimation permits somebody with simple math and technological know-how abilities to estimate almost anything--quickly--using believable assumptions and effortless arithmetic.

Lawrence Weinstein and John Adam current an eclectic array of estimation difficulties that diversity from devilishly uncomplicated to really subtle and from severe real-world issues to downright foolish ones. How lengthy wouldn't it take a operating tap to fill the inverted dome of the Capitol? what's the overall size of the entire pickles ate up within the US in a single 12 months? What are the relative benefits of internal-combustion and electrical autos, of coal and nuclear power? the issues are marvelously varied, but the abilities to resolve them are a similar. The authors convey how effortless it really is to derive worthwhile ballpark estimates via breaking advanced difficulties into less complicated, extra doable ones--and how there should be many paths to the suitable solution. The publication is written in a question-and-answer layout with plenty of tricks alongside the way in which. It contains a convenient appendix summarizing the few formulation and uncomplicated technology techniques wanted, and its small dimension and French-fold layout make it comfortably transportable. Illustrated with funny pen-and-ink sketches, Guesstimation will satisfaction popular-math fans and is perfect for the classroom.

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Extra resources for Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin

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Tex ANSWER: We will need to estimate the number of pickles the average American eats each year and the length of the average pickle. Our average pickle-in-thestreet is definitely more than 1 cm and less than 100 cm (a 1-m pickle? ) long. * Therefore, the total length of all the pickles consumed in one year is L = 3 × 108 people × = 6 × 1010 cm × 20 pickles 10 cm × person pickle 1m 102 cm = 6 × 108 m That is a distance of 6 × 105 kilometers or 4 × 105 miles. That is more than the distance from the Earth to the Moon!

How much domestic trash is collected each year in the US (in m3 or tons)? tex ANSWER: Before the era of recycling (and when the children lived at home), we used to empty our 13gallon trash can in the kitchen about every other day. ). On second thought, it’s easier to lump them all together for this problem. Since considering recycling changes the answer by less than a factor of two for our household, we will ignore it for this problem. OK, if we empty the trash three or four times a week, that’s about 50 gallons of trash for four people.

We will also use the standard prefixes giga or 109 (G), mega or 106 (M), kilo or 103 (k), centi or 10−2 (c), milli or 10−3 (m), micro or 10−6 (µ), and nano or 10−9 (n). These are tabulated in the appendix. If we need to use pico, tera, or yocto, we’ll warn you first. 4 Unit Conversion We will frequently need to convert a quantity from one unit to another. tex time from 1 year to some number of seconds. , 160min = 1. 15 × 107 s Note that 1 year ≈ π × 107 s. π appears in this because the Earth goes around the Sun in an almost perfect circle and the circumference of a circle c = 2π R*.

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