How not to Die Hard with Math | Summary and Q&A

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May 30, 2015
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Mathologer
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How not to Die Hard with Math

TL;DR

A mathematician explains how to solve a water jug problem, as shown in the movie Die Hard, using a billiards table analogy.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do you solve the water jug problem in Die Hard using the 5-gallon and 3-gallon jugs?

The solution involves filling the 5-gallon jug first, pouring from it to fill the 3-gallon jug, emptying the 3-gallon jug, and transferring the remaining water from the 5-gallon jug to the 3-gallon jug to reach a measurement of exactly four gallons.

Q: What is the significance of the billiards table analogy in solving the water jug problem?

The billiards table analogy helps in understanding the relationship between the jug volumes and the dimensions of the table. By shooting a billiards ball at certain angles, it reflects off different sides of the table, indicating the steps to follow in the jug problem solution.

Q: Can the solution be applied to other measurement goals, such as one gallon or two gallons?

Yes, the solution can be adjusted for different measurements. By following the same pouring and transfer steps, the solution can be tailored to achieve different gallon measurements.

Q: Are there any alternative solutions to the water jug problem?

Yes, the content also explores a second solution to the water jug problem, which involves starting the pouring process differently. This solution works in a similar manner but takes a bit longer to achieve the desired measurement.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The content discusses the water jug problem posed in the movie Die Hard, where the goal is to measure exactly four gallons of water using a 5-gallon and a 3-gallon jug.

  • The mathematician explains a step-by-step solution to the problem, starting with filling the 5-gallon jug, transferring water between the jugs, and pouring to achieve the desired measurement.

  • Additionally, the mathematician explains a mathematical billiards approach to solve the problem and how it relates to the volumes of the jugs.

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