Let's say you just bought a 6-foot Christmas tree and want to decorate it just so. According to a quick treegonometric calculation, you should use approximately 30 feet of tinsel. (I got that number, incidentally, by multiplying pi by 13, dividing that number by 8, and then multiplying that figure by the tree's height in centimeters.)
Didn't study treegonometry in high school? That's because it just got invented by members of the University of Sheffield's SUMS math society. Two students at the U.K. school set out to calculate the amount of baubles, tinsel, and lights needed to give a tree just the right amount of decorative zing.
Their math might not add up to anything worthy of complex analysis, but it's a festive and amusing idea. "The formulas took us about two hours to complete," 20-year-old student Nicole Wrightham said in a release. "We hope the formulas will play a part in making Christmas that little bit easier for everyone." … Read more