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Contents of the January/February 1996 issue of Quantum

Feature articles

Who Owns Roman Numerals?

by Steven Schwartzman

After all these years, you’d think everyone would know how to write Roman numerals! What are the "rules"? Was there ever a time when they were followed strictly?

A Walk on the Sword’s Edge

by V. Meshcheryakov

Not only does the yogi walk along the blade of a sword, he "dismounts" with a somersault! How on earth does he do it?

The Orchard Problem

by Vladimir Jankovic

A classic problem: how does one plant as many trees as possible and still have a view through the trees? This article provides a solution to the general form of the problem.

The Wind in the Quicksilver

by Ivan Vorobyov

An explanation of a strange phenomenon: the backward flow of ions in mercury amalgams.


Kaleidoscope: Fluids and Gases on the Move

A grab-bag of questions, problems, and curious facts related to fluid dynamics.

At the Blackboard I: The Discriminant at Work

by Andrey Yegorov

How to extract information from the well-known conditions for the solvability of quadratic equations and inequalities in real numbers.

In the Lab: Behind the Mirror

by N. M. Rostovtsev

How to measure the thickness of a mirror’s reflective layer.

Mathematical Surprises: The Magic of 3 x 3

by Martin Gardner

Variations on the lo shu (magic square), including a special challenge to Quantum readers.

At the Blackboard II: Shall We Light a Fire in the Fireplace?

by Victor Lange

Even though the internal energy of the air in our house won’t change as a result?

Physics Contest: Focusing Fields

by Arthur Eisenkraft and Larry D. Kirkpatrick

Finding a magnetic field that can focus charged subatomic particles.

Math Investigations: Nonstandardly Continued Fractions

by George Berzsenyi

An infinite process that is worthy of at least a finite amount of attention.

Toy Store: Nesting Puzzles

by Vladimir Dubrovsky

From matryoshkas to the Tower of Hanoi and beyond.


by Paul Horwitz

A response to a recent Publisher’s Page editorial on the National Science Education Standards.

How Do You Figure?: Challenges in Physics and Math

Brainteasers: Just for the Fun of It!

Check out this sample!


Crisscross Science

Scientific crossword puzzle.

Answers, Hints & Solutions

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