A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer
are all given identical rubber balls and told to find the volume. They are
given anything they want to measure it, and have all the time they need.
The mathematician pulls out a measuring tape and records the circumference.
He then divides by two times pi to get the radius, cubes that, multiplies
by pi again, and then multiplies by four-thirds and thereby calculates the
volume. The physicist gets a bucket of water, places 1.00000 gallons of
water in the bucket, drops in the ball, and measures the displacement to
six significant figures. And the engineer? He writes down the serial number
of the ball, and looks it up.
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