Mathematics can be successfully applied to any field of day to day life and improve the experience or at least make it hilarious. Here is A Contribution to the Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting.
Like many other branches of knowledge to which mathematical techniques have been applied in recent years, the Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting has a singularly happy unifying effect on the most diverse branches of the exact sciences.
For the sake of simplicity of statement, we shall cofine our attention to Lions (Felis leo) whose habitat is the Sahara Desert. The methods which we shall enumerate will easily be seen to be applicable, with obvious formal modifications, to other carnivores and to other portions of the globe. The paper is divided into three parts, which draw their material respectively from mathematics, theoretical physics, and experimental physics.
The author desires to acknowledge his indebtness to the Trivial Club of St. John’s College, Cambridge, England; to the M.I.T. chapter of the Society for Useless Research, to the F. o. P., of Princeton University; and to numerous individual contributors, known and unknown, conscious and unconscious.
THE HILBERT, OR AXIOMATIC, METHOD. We place a locked cage at a given point of the desert. We then introduce the following logical system.
AXIOM I. The class of lions in the Sahara Desert is non-void.
AXIOM II. If there is a lion in the Sahara Desert, there is a lion in the cage.
RULE OF PROCEDURE. If p is a theorem, and “p implies q” is a theorem, then q is a theorem.
THEOREM I. There is a lion in the cage.
THE METHOD OF INVERSE GEOMETRY. We place a spherical cage in the desert, enter it, and lock it. We perform an inversion with respect to the cage. The lion is then in the interior of the cage, and we are outside.
THE METHOD OF PROJECTIVE GEOMETRY. Without loss of generality, we may regard the Sahara Desert as a plane. Project the plane into a line, and then project the line into an interior point of the cage. The lion is projected into the same point.
THE BOLZANO-WEIERSTRASS METHOD. Bisect the desert by a line running N-S. The lion is either in the E portion or in the W portion; let us suppose him to be in the W portion. Bisect the portion by a line running E-W. The lion is either in the N portion or in the S portion; let us suppose him to be in the N portion. We continue this process indefinitely, constructing a sufficiently strong fence about the chosen portion at each step. The diameter of the chosen portions approaches zero, so that the lion is ultimately surrounded by a fence of arbitrarily small perimeter.
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