Sunday, December 11, 2011

a math question

Some things never cross my mind.

There is no reason for me to consider them.

Reading my August copy of Scientific American, I came to the "last page" thingy. Actually this edition seems to have 2 of these "last page" thingys - y'know, where they write a page about something meant to be cute.

In this one the author Steve Mirsky was rambling on about little kids and how they must understand much more than credit is given.

He told a story of a math problem given to a kid - he calls it a legend about young Carl Friedrich Gauss. (never heard of him). His teacher gave him the problem of adding all numbers from 1 to 100. Within moments the kid announced the correct answer. He did not add 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 etc. to get the answer.

The author says to search WEB using the terms GAUSS and SERIES for how he did it.

This problem never crossed my mind till the moment of reading. So, knowing there was a simple solution, I worried for a couple of days and finally came up with a process - however it is not a formula AND some might argue it is not simple. I don't know how the kid did it. But, I have come up with my solution.

So the question: all you math geeks out there, did you know there was a simple way to do this? A formula? A process? A what?

My brain used a stairstep to calculate the answer. Bottom step is 1 - next step is 2 - all the way to the top step 100. I'll leave it there.





the correct answer is 5,050

Go Figure. I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment