Tag Archives: Wolfram|Alpha

On Fermi Calculations

Big Falling Fermi Confetti

Take a piece of standard paper. Rip it up, roughly, into an 8 by 8 grid, which will net you 64 pieces of over-sized confetti. Hold them in your cupped hands at chest height, and let them fall to the ground.

What can you learn from doing this? Well, for one thing, it can help you estimate the strength of Trinity, the first atom bomb test explosion.

No, really, it can.

But I’ve left out two things. You have to have been at the observing site at the time when Trinity was actually detonated. And you have to be Enrico Fermi.

Enrico Fermi 311x300

Enrico Fermi in front of a machine he invented for toasting bread.

Continue reading