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A Problem Squared

Matt Parker (comedian and mathematician) and Bec Hill (comedian and not mathematician) have problems. They also have solutions. Not always in the correct ratio.

Oct 31, 2020

To celebrate 12 episodes we're collecting some data! If you can, fill in the listener survey:

Does this cheese look like it has 41% less packaging?

Here's the wikipedia page we used to make sense of shark teeth:

The Weaire-Phelan structure:

What a truncated octahedron looks like:

And a spinning one!

A 140mm × 60mm × 46mm block of cheese has a volume of 386.4 cm^3 and a surface area of 352 cm^2. To give a 41% reduction the original needs to have the same volume of cheese but an area of 596.6 cm^2.

Matt assumed there are 4,200,000 current infections and each person has 400,000 virus particles per mL across 2L of fluid. If the SARS-CoV-2 particle has a diameter of 150nm and stacks like spheres with 74% efficiency: those 3,360,000,000,000,000 current virus particles would fill only 8mL, aka "about a teaspoon".