June 5, 2023


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The mathematical way to make better decisions. Fermi problem

Hannah Fry is a British Professor of Mathematics and Lecturer at University College London. Willingly participates in the media, promotes learning and effective use of the knowledge gained in everyday life. She is also the author of books.

As we read on CNBC Make It, Fry claims that There is a “mathematical way of looking” at almost everything around us. The scientist draws attention to a specific mathematical concept known as the Fermi problem (otherwise referred to as Fermi estimation or Fermi exercise). It makes it quite clear How a little math can change the way you make decisions says Fry.

The method is named after the 20th century physicist Enrico Fermi, who had the extraordinary ability to make accurate estimates from very little data.

The rest of the article is under the video

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The Fermi problem in job interviews

Estimating unknown values ​​based on available data and estimates is one of the tasks that sometimes arise in employment tests. A question based on the Fermi problem might be, for example, how many pianists are there in Chicago? Hannah Fry says that learning how to answer these types of questions means developing a skill essential to success: making quick, logical estimates.

So how do you estimate the number of piano tuners in Chicago? Fry suggests, as Fermi did, approach your task analytically and Divide them into smaller items.

“How many pianists are there in Chicago?”

You can check out Chicagoans, find stats on the average number of pianos per household, and see how often a typical piano needs to be tuned.

Frey says the method applies to all kinds of decisions, from the professional to the personal. Thanks to estimates, you can, for example, determine how long you can live on your savings – we read in the “Make It” article on CNBC.

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