You have been invited to an important fundraising gala at your old college and decided that this black-tie event demands a short collar super white Italian shirt, like the one you bought years ago for your wedding. When you bravely tried the wedding shirt on (size 16), your wife noted that the collar suffocates you and you need about 1/4″ more space everywhere in-between your neck and the collar all around your neck. What size shirt do you need to buy? In case you don’t know the shirt size 16 means that a tape wrapped around your neck and two fingers positioned flat upfront will measure 16 inches.
(Puzzle answer is below. Please try to solve it before checking out the answer!)
Maria Lando (aka TheMathMom) illuminates and demystifies mathematics for adults, describing its fun use in everyday life. TheMathMom has been featured in the Boston Globe, The Jewish Advocate, and Redbook Magazine. Her weekly newsletter contains stories and puzzles for the whole family, and tips on perceiving math and presenting it to kids as a toy, a tool, and a friend. Learn more at www.TheMathMom.com.
Yes, surprising use of math in the dressing room to refresh our geometry. Shirt collar is almost circular, and circle circumference = 2 x Pi x Radius. The shirt size 16 means that a tape wrapped around your neck and two fingers positioned flat upfront will measure 16 inches.
At the time of your wedding: 2 x Pi x Radius of your neck = 16.
Now: 2 x Pi x new Radius of your neck = 2 x Pi x (wedding Radius of your neck + 1/4) = 2 x Pi x wedding Radius of your neck + 2 x Pi x 1/4 = 16 + Pi/2 = 16 + 3.14/2 = 17.57 (approx). So, you are more around size 17.5 now.
Related Brain Teasers for Kids and Adults:
John Stamm says
Great use of math in everyday life. Keep posting, I like it.
Alvaro Fernandez says
Glad you liked it!