University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Godfrey, Kneeland, Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 59, Number 2 (November 1954)

So you think you're smart!,   pp. 46-53

Page 46

_ A                     - a         m   l
     5o You MhAnit Yo!
                                by Sneedly, bs'59
  At R.O.T.C. camnp during the last summer, the fol-
lowing prolbleim was given to a number of cadets,
aln0ng whoim w9as an engineer: Two columns of in-
,'&        _ .>. c. If --- ---m1_. - f , - d 0 4 M1)H/ - 1
ta1itrvluicn  Imfla l ICIII,  L  UlililUl 111  1 dtL- 'J1   -   - -  \
timni A) an rd 4  I/l II (column 1 ) were approaching
each other on a straight road. When they were exactly  The x's represent
numbers too i
teln miles apart, a messenger started from the head of  tunately this person,
who, incid
columni A and ran at a rate of 8 MPH to meet column  been an engineer, was
able to
1B. Upon reachling column 13 he turned and ran back to  read. The x's can
represent ai
the head of column A; he continued to run back and  you to determine them.
forth between the columns until the two met. When                       
      * * *
asked how far the messenger had run, assuming he lost  On a recent trip I
no speed in making the turns, the engineer turned to  vidual who presented
his slide-rule and algebraic ingenuity and solved the  young mechanical engineer
problem in two minutes. However, a few intelligent from college, but had
not yet f
non-technical cadets reported the correct answer in less  unlikely story,
even during thi
than five seconds, without the aid of calculations. of engineers). He had
no monc
Therefore, I ask, which are you-an engineer or an in-  a room; however, he
telligent person? I'll give the answer next month for the  solid gold key
chain which had
other readers.                                         purpose of hanging
  WVhile correcting some test-papers, a math instructor
encountered one that was extremely illegible. He
passed the following problem along to me, and I, lazy
as I ami, aim passing the buck to vou:
                      ' xxxxxx
illegible to be read. For-
ently, could hardly have
write 3's which could be
ay numbers-it is up to
!r next month, I hope.
ed a seedy-looking indi-
to a motel-keeper as a
'ho had just graduated
found a position (not an
s era of great shortages
ey with which to pay for
in return for a room, a
l been given hinm for the
keys (I noted that the
chain was noticeably devoid ot keys).
  After appraising the chain, which contained twenty-
three links, the clerk offered the M.E. lodging for
twenty-three nights. After asking for the entire chain
in advance, the motel-keeper was presented with the
following proposition: The distrustful engineer offered
to pay for the room by breaking up the chain and pay-
ing each day. He wanted to redeem the key chain at a
later date, but he did not want the keeper to have
more than he was entitled to at any one time, nor did
the equally distrustful motel-keeper want to be cheated
by allowing any payments to be missed. Thus, the
M.E. came to me, a Ch.E., to determine the fewest
number of cuts necessary to divide the chain into por-
tions of various lengths to be exchanged under the
terms of the agreement. (i.e., he might pay on the
twelfth night by exchanging a twelve-link portion for
one of eleven links-this is obviously impossible, hut it
serves as an example.) On the first day he cut the chain
according to my instructions, and was thus able to meet
his obligations for the full twenty-three days.
  Can you determine the fewest number of cuts neces-
sary to meet the terms set forth? It is, of course, neces-
sary to determine also the links which were cut. [Very
helpful hint: he gave the motel-keeper a single link on
the first dav.2

Go up to Top of Page