Skip to main content
Search IntMath

IntMath Newsletter: Fish, brain games

By Murray Bourne, 29 May 2012

29 May 2012

In this Newsletter:

1. Modeling fish stocks
2. National Geographic - memory game and brain interactive
3. Scope of the IntMath Newsletter
4. Math puzzles
5. Friday math movies
6. Final thought - Try!

1. Modeling fish stocks

Atlantic cod

How can we use math to save collapsing fish stocks? Mathematical modeling is the key. This is an important real-life application of math.

Modeling fish stocks

2. National Geographic - memory game and brain interactive

I came across these on the National Geographic site recently.

Memory game (this is an interesting twist on the normal memory games you've played before)

Brain interactive (this allows you to see what happens in the brain when we form memories)

3. Scope of the IntMath Newsletter

When people subscribe to the IntMath Newlsetter, they can indicate topics they would like me to cover.

I now have (literally) thousands of topic requests, and it would take several lifetimes to get through them all! Of course, I choose the topics which are most often requested.

The scope of topics in the Newsletter will generally follow the scope of the site. That is, basic number and algebra, through matrices, logarithms, trigonometry, to calculus (including Fourier Series and Laplace Transform).

That's already a very broad scope!

4. Math puzzles

The answer to the math puzzle in the last Newsletter was r. The best answers were by Sheldon, Guido and Tomas, because they showed reasons for their correct answers.

Latest puzzle: We are designing an East-West roadway which has a curve consisting of the arcs of 2 identical circles as shown. The straight portions are 900 m apart, and the width of the curved portion is 1200 m. The straight portions of road are tangent to the circles, and the arcs themselves have a common tangent where they meet.


What is the radius of the 2 circles?

You can reply here in the comments.

6. Friday math movie

Religions and babies

Hans Rosling on Religions and babies

Does religion have an impact on human fertility? Hans Rosling always gives an energetic and thought-provoking presentation.

Friday math movie: Hans Rosling on Religions and babies

7. Final thought - Try!

Many math students give up because they feel it's all too hard. This is a shame, because often it only takes a little bit of reading, or trying a few easier problems, or thinking about the big picture and then insight can occur. (I love those "ahhh - got it!" moments.)

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer and lecturer, influenced later ideals of freedom and individualization in the US. He could have been talking to math students when he wrote:

Neither you nor the world knows what you can do until you have tried. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Until next time, enjoy whatever you learn.

See the 19 Comments below.

19 Comments on “IntMath Newsletter: Fish, brain games”

  1. rajat says:

    answer is pythagores theorem

  2. Ruby says:

    For your math puzzles, is it possible to show the solution to the said puzzle?

    I enjoy reading the newsletters. Glad to have suscribed.

  3. Ehinomen1 says:

    This weeks newletter is very interesting. Keep up the good work

  4. Janine Schaub says:

    Math Text Best-seller

    Leonardo of Pisa in twelve-O-two

    did something grand

    few others could do.

    He wrote about math,

    from east and from west

    and made it quite clear to those who were stressed

    doing transactions on fingers and toes

    that methods in math could soon fix their woes.

    Buyers and sellers and children though small

    could finally use math to answer the call

    to buy and to sell; crunch numbers with ease

    think algebraically; calculate fees.

    Without Fibonacci, as he later was called,

    our world built on numbers would surely have stalled.

    Janine Schaub

    September 2011

    Hi Murray: I thought this poem might be appropriate for one of your newsletters. Please quote my blog if you use it.

  5. Dick says:

    Dear Murray Bourne -- I believe the radius of each circle is 900 m (miles)/ 2 = 450 m (miles). I prefer not to use the Napoleonic French metric system which was forced on the European countries at gun point, cannon point, or sword point against their will by Napoleon Boneparte, the fat little thug, and his army. Not only that, but the meter itself is in error. U.S. NASA satellite measurements have determined unequivically that the distance from the North Pole to the equator through a meridian through Paris, France as determined by the French scientists in the late 18th century was 2000 meters too many. The distance was supposed to have been 10,000,000 meters, but in fact is 10,002,000 meters. Therefore the current meter is to short! Check it out. President Thomas Jefferson rightfully rejected the metric system for the United States because for navigation purposes it was worthless -- the British Engineering System (aka U.S. Customery Units) contains intrinsically the unit of Mean Solar Time, and is by far the most superior system.

  6. Murray says:

    Hi Janine.

    What a great poem! Thanks a lot for sharing. I'll feature it in a future Newsletter.

  7. Yegor says:

    My solution to puzzle

    We have a circle of radius R and center at (0, 450 - R), with known point (600, 0)

    (x - a)^2 + (y - b)^2 = R^2
    x^2 + (y + R - 450)^2 = R^2
    600^2 + R^2 -900R + 202500 = R^2
    900R = 562500
    R = 625

    Radius of circles is 625 m


  8. Murray says:

    @Ruby: The solutions for the puzzles are provided by readers. In each following Newsletter, I point out the correct answer and the best solutions.

  9. Jegor says:

    I am also wondering what's the solution to CGTAOYFUDOORUTNOIRIUNALISUGETT puzzle, from this newsletter. You suspended puzzles after this one, so solution was never published.


  10. Richard Howell says:

    Dear Sir:

    I think the answer to the "two circle" problem is exceedingly and obviously simple. The answer is obvious: it is 900 m / 2. Please show me how that is incorrect if you believe my answer is incorrect.

  11. Murray says:

    @Jegor: The puzzles are there for readers to answer 🙂

    However, I'll give a hint for that puzzle - it involved matrices.

  12. Aravind says:

    I used your puzzle in our group, just to start a technical discussion. I got lot of answers, but one student gave me the solution as well as an image. Here it is (click to see full-size):



  13. sai krishna says:

    Dear sir,
    The answer for the math puzzle can be easily derived from the pythagorean theorem that radius is 625m.

  14. SammieboyC says:

    Thanx for the post ,it was realy helpful ,if only we culd get it every week.

  15. M.S. Anantha Murthy says:

    The answer to the problem MATHS PUZZLE of serial No. 4 is the radius is 750 units.because the perpendicular to the common tangent of the the two radii terminating at the two perpendiculars drawn from the end points of 1200 units line is equal to 2r. Forming a right angled triangle with 1200, 960 and the hypotenuse as 2r, we get from the pythogoras formula the following. (2r)^2= (900)^2+(1200)^2 from which, resolving for "r"we get r=750 units. Please correct if the answer is flawed.

  16. Tomas Garza says:

    By the way, the condemnation of the metric system has a strong ideological and nationalistic flavor (see Dick's comment in the newsletter). And of course it must be remarked that the meter is currently defined in terms of measurements taken from atomic clocks rather than from the earth's rotation (since 1968). The article in Wikipedia (metric system) offers a good description of the system, which doesn't rely on the actual length of the meter.
    Rejection of the metric system in favor of the one still used in the US and the UK reminds me of the Flat Earth Society, whose members stubbornly believe that he Earth is flat.

  17. Thomas A Buckley says:

    For those still interested in the roads problem, I have derived a SIMPLE and UNIVERSAL equation to find the radius

    = [(W/2)² + (A/2)²]/A . . W = Width, A = Apart

    = [(1200/2)² + (900/2)²]/900

    = 625m

  18. Thomas A Buckley says:

    My equation for the 'Roads' problem,
    further simplified

  19. Richard Howell says:

    Dear Murray Bourne --
    I messed up on my sulution to the parallel road joined by 2 radii proble. For some reason I had the fixation that the centerline of the two circles was parallel also to the roads -- God only knows why I thought that! Sorry about that. But comment about the Napoleonic French metric system still stands.

    I have a problem for all you learned and all-knowing mathematicians out there: Explain analytically and conceptually why a free falling body in a constant gravitational field ALWAYS yields a higher average velocity when computed in the spatial reference frame than in the time reference frame. That also holds in different constant velocity problems as well -- such as what are the average velocities [spatial reference frame vs. time reference frame]of a car that drives from LA to New York at 30 mph but returns from New York to LA at 40 mph?

Leave a comment

Comment Preview

HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
    `a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)`
    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.


Tips, tricks, lessons, and tutoring to help reduce test anxiety and move to the top of the class.