The Weisenheimer

My youngest brother, Thomas, is something of a genius. I find this odd.

Thomas is practically a generation younger than me (a generation being the average interval between the birth of an individual and the birth of its offspring of 20 or 25 years). He was born in 1970, and I . . . wasn’t. 
My most vivid memories of Thomas are of changing his diapers and watching him prepare for his first day of kindergarten. 
After high school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Wyoming after boot camp. On one of his visits home, I remember wondering where the years had gone. I knew that I had grown older, and by then had three daughters, but since Thomas was not in Ohio at the time, he was surely in a state of suspended animation wherein he never grew older, or taller.
Now he towers over me and somewhere along the line, has developed an intellect that stretches mine beyond its limits, and I ain’t no dummy.
Case in point: Thomas posted a conversation between him and and his absolutely beautiful, and obviously long-suffering wife, Mona. It went like this:
Mona: I read that the planetarium says that you can fit over 100 earths inside Jupiter!

Thomas: Uh…Don’t think so. If you just mean “how many times larger, by volume” is Jupiter, the answer is straightforward. You simple take the ratio of the radii of Jupiter and the Earth and cube it (i.e., multiply it by itself three times).
Radius of Jupiter = 69911 km
Radius of Earth = 6371 km
—– = 10.97
10.97^3 = ~1320
So, the volume of the Earth would fit inside the volume of Jupiter
about 1320 times.
However, if you wanted to “pack Earth-sized spheres inside” the volume of Jupiter, you need to account for the “empty space” between the spheres. It has been mathematically shown that the densest possible packing of smaller spheres within a larger sphere only “wastes” about 25% of the space.
So, this means that you could fit about 990 (1320*.75) Earth-size
spheres within Jupiter.
Mona: Shut up. You’re never going to the planetarium with me.
See what I mean.  Kinda makes you want it give him a noogie, doesn’t it?

Published in: on October 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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