The Ecphorizer

Issue #14 (October 1982)

Puzzling verse for math buffs

This chapter presents another mathematics problem in rhyme from my great-grandfather's work book:

I placed a bowl into the storm,
To catch the drops of rain --
A half a globe was just its form,
Two feet across the same;
The storm was o'er, the tempest past,
I to the bowl repaired --
Six inches deep the water stood,
It being measured fair;
Suppose a cylinder, whose base
Two feet across within,
Had stood exactly in that place,
What would the depth have been?

I have not attempted to analyze the solution, as I am not up on computing the cubic contents of globes. (I do remember that the area of a circle is πr2, so I could figure the cubic content of a cylinder. I see that he has taken the diameter squared times 1/4 of π, which produces the same result for the area of the cylinder.) His answer is 2.5 inches, which I am confident is correct.

While he was San Francisco Regional Mensa's Treasurer, Brad Mead plied the Budget Committee with fine liqueurs while he cut back everyone's requests for more money.  We never knew what hit us.