# Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes, and Other Adventures in Applied Mathematics

Princeton University Press, 2002 - Mathematics - 328 pages

Although we seldom think of it, our lives are played out in a world of numbers. Such common activities as throwing baseballs, skipping rope, growing flowers, playing football, measuring savings accounts, and many others are inherently mathematical. So are more speculative problems that are simply fun to ponder in themselves--such as the best way to score Olympic events.

Here Robert Banks presents a wide range of musings, both practical and entertaining, that have intrigued him and others: How tall can one grow? Why do we get stuck in traffic? Which football player would have a better chance of breaking away--a small, speedy wide receiver or a huge, slow linebacker? Can California water shortages be alleviated by towing icebergs from Antarctica? What is the fastest the 100-meter dash will ever be run?

The book's twenty-four concise chapters, each centered on a real-world phenomenon, are presented in an informal and engaging manner. Banks shows how math and simple reasoning together may produce elegant models that explain everything from the federal debt to the proper technique for ski-jumping.

This book, which requires of its readers only a basic understanding of high school or college math, is for anyone fascinated by the workings of mathematics in our everyday lives, as well as its applications to what may be imagined. All will be rewarded with a myriad of interesting problems and the know-how to solve them.

### Contents

 Units and Dimensions and Mach Numbers 1 Alligator Eggs and the Federal Debt 13 Controlling Growth and Perceiving Spread 22 Little Things Falling from the Sky 29 Big Things Falling from the Sky 40 Towing and Melting Enormous Icebergs Part I 52 Towing and Melting Enormous Icebergs Part II 66 A Better Way to Score the Olympics 77
 The Crisis of the Deficit Gompertz to the Rescue 177 How to Reduce the Population with Differential Equations 187 Shot Puts Basketballs and Water Fountains 199 Balls and Strikes and Home Runs 217 Hooks and Slices and Holes in One 232 Happy Landings in the Snow 241 Water Waves and Falling Dominoes 252 Something Shocking about Highway Traffic 268

 How to Calculate the Economic Energy of a Nation 91 How to Start Football Games and Other Probably Good Ideas 107 Gigantic Numbers and Extreme Exponents 119 Ups and Downs of Professional Football 131 A Tower a Bridge and a Beautiful Arch 148 Jumping Ropes and Wind Turbines 166
 How Tall Will I Grow? 281 How Fast Can Runners Run? 298 References 319 Index 325 Copyright

### Popular passages

Page xi - In general, the friction factor is a function of the Reynolds number, Re, and the relative roughness of the pipe, e/D.
Page xii - R is the so-called universal gas constant, m is the molecular weight of the gas, and T is the absolute temperature.

### References to this book

 Ants, Bikes, and Clocks: Problem Solving for UndergraduatesWilliam BriggsNo preview available - 2005
 Ants, Bikes, and Clocks: Problem Solving for UndergraduatesWilliam BriggsNo preview available - 2005
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