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Topic: Nickels in space
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Stan Wagon

Posts: 7
Registered: 12/6/04
Nickels in space
Posted: Oct 8, 1992 4:25 PM
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Can you place 5 nickels in space so that each touches the other 4. It
turns
out that there is a well known solution in the case of pennies, but it
fails in the case of nickels. The critical height-diameter ration turns
out (with the help of Mathematica) to be 12.47, and this ratio for
pennies is 13 and for nickels 11. But there are other ways of doing
nickels.

What about beer cans? Drinking straws? When is there a solution that does
not have a triple or quadruple point (a point at which >2 cylinders
meet)?





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