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Genuine maths working out

January 18, 2014

On the Wrong, but Useful podcast, Colin’s question this time was:
A circle with radius r has a square inscribed. A semi-circle with radius r also has a square inscribed. What is the ratio of smaller square to large square?

Fine. As co-host I always try to give them a go.
Here is my working:

20140118-083058.jpg

As you can see, not superbly structured but the answer is near the bottom left corner. Hopefully you can see that I consider whether trigonometry would help. Also, in the semi circle I considered using length of side 2a but decided that a might be easier.

Anyway, what are your thoughts about this ‘messy’ workout/thought process? How does this compare with what people think maths looks like ( or perhaps should like like)?

Is this simply poor mathematics?

Ps the envelope was junk mail. Please don’t phone them up 🙂

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