# Fun with Fermi Problems (PowerPoint)

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```					Fun with Fermi
Problems

Joe Premus
EDUC 570
March 2010
So what are Fermi Problems…?
• Named after the Italian-
American University of
Chicago professor and
noted 20th century
physicist and Nobel
Prize-winner
• Fermi problems are
math word problems
A really smart guy!   that require making
educated guesses using
estimation skills and
prior knowledge
• Break big problems into
smaller problems and     …and a US stamp in
solve the pieces                his honor…
…has his own prize
Fermi problems
require imagination      Fermi problems make
you think differently

Fermi problems
are good exercise
for your
brain

Fermi problems will make
you rich and popular     You can create your
own and stump
Let’s take a look at some examples of Fermi
Problems…
How many piano tuners
are there in the city of
Chicago?

How many
How many hot dogs
would fill this
will be sold at Yankee
classroom?

some might even
call it a..

lay-up
Easy Question…

How many
this room?
Easy Question…

How many
this room?
Easy Question…
How many basketballs can fill this room?

what information do we need to
solve the problem…?

Talk it over for a minute….
Easy Question…
How many basketballs can fill this room?

what information do we need to
solve the problem…?
- Volume of this room?
Let’s get to
work people!
Volume of this room
X       X
Length
Height
Width

Volume =
Volume of this room
(in inches)
Length X Width X Height = Volume
240      180     120     5,184,000
Well, a
basketball is a   And the volume of a sphere
sphere….        = 4/3 πr3 where r is the
radius of the ball of course!

Hey old guys - use
the circumference
to calculate the
Hey, don’t forget if the
circumference = 2πr, then
you can find r by dividing
the circumference by 2π!
Circumference = 29.5 in = 2πr
Radius r = 29.5/(2π) = 4.69 in
Volume = (4/3) π   r3

= (4/3) π (4.69)3
= 432 cubic in.
So back to the easy question…
How many basketballs can fill this room?

Divide the volume of the room
by the volume of the basketball
= 5,132,000 cu.in. / 432 cu.in.
Pictures & Music Sources:
Enrico Fermi pictures – American Institute of Physics, University of Chicago

scatterbrained.jpg
Piano keys - http://www.paulhahn.com/images/pianos.jpg
Sweet Georgia Brown (Harlem Globetrotters)
by Bobby Morganstein Productions
From the Album Sports & Novelty Themes
Larry Bird & Kevin McHale http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/PHO/AAFC033~Larry-Bird-Kevin-McHale-1-
Posters.jpg
Kevin Garnett http://www.thesunblog.com/gourmetgal/kevin-garnett22.jpg
Paul Pierce & Ray Allen - http://artfiles.art.com/5/p/LRG/27/2731/D3VND00Z/paul-pierce--ray-allen-game-4-of-the-2008-
nba-finals.jpg

```
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 views: 19 posted: 2/12/2012 language: pages: 17