## Fermi was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. ## Fermi was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century. ## He is best known for his leading contributions in the Manhattan Project but his work spanned every field of physics.
## In 1901, Enrico was born in Rome to Alberto Fermi, a Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Communications, and Ida de Gattis, an elementary school teacher.
## While in Pisa, Fermi and his friends had a well-earned reputation as pranksters. ## While in Pisa, Fermi and his friends had a well-earned reputation as pranksters. ## One afternoon, while patiently trapping geckos (used to scare girls at the university), Fermi came up with the fundamental theory for electrons in solids. ## Fermi’s theory later became the foundation of the entire semiconductor industry.
## Fermi was famous for being able to avoid long, tedious calculations or difficult experimental measurements by devising ingenious ways of finding approximate answers. ## Fermi was famous for being able to avoid long, tedious calculations or difficult experimental measurements by devising ingenious ways of finding approximate answers.
## “What is the length of the equator?” ## “What is the length of the equator?”
## Solving a problem in 60 seconds (individually) ## Solving a problem in 60 seconds (individually) ## Look around the room you are sitting in. Take just 60 seconds to answer the following questions: **How many ping-pong balls could you fit into the room?**
## Solving a problem in 60 seconds (individually) ## Solving a problem in 60 seconds (individually) ## Look around the room you are sitting in. Take just 60 seconds to answer the following questions: **How many ping-pong balls could you fit into the room?**
**What was your model of a ping-pong ball? What was your model of the room?**
## Solving a problem in 60 seconds (individually) ## Solving a problem in 60 seconds (individually) ## Look around the room you are sitting in. Take just 60 seconds to answer the following questions: **How many ping-pong balls could you fit into the room?**
**What was your model of a ping-pong ball? What was your model of the room?**
**What other simplifications or assumptions did you make?**
## Open ended problem solving. ## Open ended problem solving. ## Thought process is more important than calculating exact answer. ## Steps in solving Fermi problems
## What do Fermi Problems have to do with engineering - Engineers have to solve open ended problems that might not have a single right solution
- Engineers have to estimate a solution to a complicated problem
- Engineers have to think creatively
## The extreme age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggest that if the Earth is typical, extraterrestrial life should be common. ## The extreme age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggest that if the Earth is typical, extraterrestrial life should be common. ## Discussing this proposition with colleagues over lunch in 1950, Fermi asked: "Where is everybody?” ## We still don’t have a ## good answer to Enrico’s ## question.
## The physicist Enrico Fermi enjoyed posing questions like these to his students and colleagues. ## The physicist Enrico Fermi enjoyed posing questions like these to his students and colleagues. ## Pick one part (either **a** or **b**) from each of the following two questions, and make the best possible estimate for the situation. Your answer will be a combination of several quantities. Be sure to specify what assumptions you have made in arriving at your estimate.
**1.** **a. **How long do you think it would take you to eat your weight in food? **1.** **a. **How long do you think it would take you to eat your weight in food?
**2. a. **How many hot dogs do you think are sold in a baseball season at Oriole Park? **2. a. **How many hot dogs do you think are sold in a baseball season at Oriole Park?
**or**
**b.** How many times does a person's heart beat in a lifetime?
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