Looking for Interesting Math Related Questions

  • Thread starter chingkui
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  • #1
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Hi,
I am looking for some interesting (multiple choices type) quiz questions that are related to mathematics. The quiz participants include mostly recent college graduates of diverse background from mathematics to engineering to bio-med. The audience also come from diverse background. In general, they are almost all layperson. So, the quiz questions cannot be very difficult mathematics like "how many subgroup does S_8 have?"
I have no idea what kind of question I can ask, does anyone have any interesting questions related to mathematics that even layperson could understand (and interesting to most people)? It seems so difficult to come up one.
What I am looking for are questions that are simple enough yet not stupid, and can be anything related to mathematics (history of math, mathematicians, simple puzzle, etc.)
As an example of what I am looking, I have a science question that (most) people could understand and find interesting:

Someone in Australia pulls the plug from a washing basin. The water drains from the basin, causing a whirl or eddy. In which direction does the water turn ?

a. Always clockwise, because of the Coriolis force.
b. Always counterclockwise, because of the Coriolis force.
c. Sometimes clockwise, sometimes counterclockwise.

Anyone who can point to online resource is also very much appreciated. Thank you.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
The corilois effect is far too weak to affect the water in a bathtub or a sink.

If one drained Lake Erie, perhaps it would come into play, but not any small container because it is simply not large enough.

http://geography.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fmath.ucr.edu%2Fhome%2Fbaez%2Fphysics%2FGeneral%2Fbathtub.html [Broken]
 
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  • #3
mathwonk
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what percentage of the suns light is received by the earth. this was a question on a high school physics test which can be done by elementary geometry and some insight.
 
  • #4
Alkatran
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mathwonk said:
what percentage of the suns light is received by the earth. this was a question on a high school physics test which can be done by elementary geometry and some insight.
You'd need to know the distance to the sun, though. Which is not geometry. And are we talking about the surface of the earth, or just the sun light that 'hits' the planet (and then bounces off or penetrates the atmosphere)?
 
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Perhaps presenting the 1=0 proof and asking them to find the fallacy?
 
  • #6
mathwonk
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i forgot that in todays world there are people who do not know the distance from earth to sun.
 
  • #7
Alkatran
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mathwonk said:
i forgot that in todays world there are people who do not know the distance from earth to sun.
That's right, I don't know the distance. But, I don't use it on a day to day basis so who can blame me?


I could figure it out using the speed of light and the time it takes light to reach the earth (which keeps getting quoted on that sports centre commercial :rofl: )
 
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