APS News

Zero Gravity

Brain Teaser Limericks

(Answers can be found below)

Editor's Note: Given the past popularity of physics limericks, APS News announces a new contest: brain teaser puzzles, presented in limerick form. Some examples, using rudimentary mathematical concepts, are below. We are looking for original brain teaser limericks on more advanced physical and mathematical concepts, as a challenge to readers and would-be limerickists alike. Winning entries will receive the usual fabulous prizes, plus publication in a future issue of APS News. The deadline for receipt of submissions is November 30, 1998.

1. Kindly old Grandfather Lunn
Is twice as old as his son
Twenty-five years ago
Their age ratio
Strange enough was three to one
When does Grandfather celebrate his centenary?

2. Said a certain young lady named Gwen
Of her tally of smitten young men
"one less and three more
Divided by four
Together give one more than ten"
How many boyfriends had she?

3. There was a young fellow named Clive
Whose bees number ten power five
The daughters to each son
Were as nineteen to one,
A truly remarkable hive.
How many sons (drones) were in the hive?

4. A team's opening batter named Nero
Squared his number of hits, the big hero!
After subtracting his score
He took off ten and two more
And the final result was a "zero".
How many hits did Nero make:

5. Some freshman from Trinity Hall
Played hockey with a wonderful ball;
Two times its weight
Plus weight squared, minus eight,
Gave "nothing" in ounces at all.
What was the weight of the ball?

APS Centurions

We would like to identify the oldest living APS member, those born in 1899 (Centennial Centurions), and members belonging to the APS the longest. Let us know if you can help.


Answers to Zero Gravity Brain Teasers

  1. This year. He is 100; his son is 50.
  2. Gwen had forty-two boyfriends. 42-1=41. 41+3=44. 44/4=11. 11-1=10
  3. Five thousand. Ten power five=100,000. Divide that out (it was a 19:1 ratio) and you get a ratio of 95,000:5,000 (daughter:sons).
  4. Four. If you square it, you get 16. Subtract his number of hits and you get 12. Subtract 10 and then 2 more and you get 0.
  5. Two ounces. (Beach ball, or ping-pong ball?) 2x2=4. 4+22=8. 8-8=0.

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Editor: Barrett H. Ripin