Problem 269//Grand math slam

Forced to play for the Sunfield Scratchers by his old man, Herman Snivel would rather be doing what he really loves — collecting bugs, watching Jeopardy, and doing multivariable calculus. Today the team is playing against the Hooterville Mud Hens, and the game has been especially painful. Balls have actually come close to his hiding place in the outfield, and several have physically injured him at bat. Now an especially menacing ball is coming his way, leaving only one thing to do: drop into the fetal position and quickly comfort one’s self with a trajectory problem: What will be the radii of the ball path curvature at maximum height and when it finally grounds at Herman’s head?

What’s the answer to Herman’s question if the ball starts out at a height of 0.9 m, a speed of 3 m/sec, and an angle of 20° above horizontal?

Solution to problem 268 Guzzlin’ grannies, May 2003:

Fun problem 267: Reverse engineering April 2003

Winners circle

Total entries: 52
Number correct: 21 (40%) Answers from 41 to 45 ft were accepted for the “extra-credit” portion.
Winner: Kevin Fiedler
Kevin’s prize: Inviting Disaster, Lessons from the Edge of Technology by James R. Chiles; Harper Business.

Combining riveting storytelling with eye-opening findings, Inviting Disaster shows what happens when our reach for new technology exceeds our grasp, and explains what we need to know to survive on the machine frontier.