Math Mistakes in the Real World: 5 Striking Examples

Humanity often makes mistakes. When it comes to large buildings or complex equipment, even the slightest flaw can lead to disaster. There have been cases in history when great catastrophes arose as a result of seemingly small mistakes or someone’s lack of foresight. Sometimes these disasters were the fault of specific people responsible for safety. Sometimes the misfortune was the result of a series of unlikely coincidences.

Mistakes can include incorrect calculations, incorrect application of definitions, axioms, theorems, ignorance of formulas, rules. A number of math mistakes are made due to illegible handwriting, sloppy drawing, carelessness.

Therefore, mathematicians should always take a responsible approach to fulfill their obligations. Pay attention that today it is possible to contact the experts of the online service and have your assignment done at the highest level and at a cheap price. You will definitely get someone from assistants who will clearly fulfill all your requirements on time. Do not miss this opportunity.

Examples of Mathematical Mistakes in the Real World

Below we will consider some of the most striking math mistakes in the real world. If you are interested in this material, study it carefully.

Airplane with Square Portholes

Jet aircraft construction was just beginning in 1950. “Comet” (the brainchild of de Havilland) was the first liner. This unique passenger aircraft had a number of amazing technical characteristics for that time and a pressurized cabin. However, in 1954 “Comet” crashed right in flight. 56 people died. The reason was obvious: square portholes.

During the design process, this trifle did not receive sufficient attention. As it turned out, round portholes allow the pressure to be distributed throughout the fuselage and prevent the plane from being torn apart. This was very difficult to figure out. The experts had no idea why the aircraft structure was falling apart until they tested the structure by multiple modeling of the pressure on the cockpit. As a result, the fuselage burst, and the main gap started precisely from the notorious angles. After that, all aircraft have only round portholes.

Straight Runways on Aircraft Carriers

You don’t have to be a pilot to understand that it is extremely complicated to land a plane on an aircraft carrier. This miniature runway, crammed with other planes, also sways on the waves. But there was one more problem. The first aircraft carriers had straight take-off and landing lanes and were very dangerous for both aircraft approaching and those awaiting takeoff.

The fact is that pilots that did not catch the brake cable fell off the runway and often crashed into other planes. In order to somehow secure the aircraft carriers, it was decided to use intercepting networks, but they did not help either. Later it was decided to turn the landing strip 9 degrees to the left, and the number of accidents decreased significantly: pilots who did not have time to catch the brake cable could quickly provide “full throttle” and go around without threatening the rest of the aircraft.

Solid Bridge in the USA

The Tacoma-Narrows Bridge in the US state of Washington is one of the largest suspension bridges in the United States. It was opened on July 1, 1940, and was considered a real miracle. The total length of the bridge was 1.8 km, and at the same time, it was solid.

But on November 7, 1940, due to strong gusts of wind (wind speed reached 65 km / h), the central span of the bridge collapsed. At that time, there was one car on the bridge, the driver of which managed to get out of the passenger compartment in time and run away. So, the iron struts on modern bridges are not made for beauty or economy of metal, but to allow air to pass through.

Nightclub Door Hinges

The Cocoanut Grove Club was Boston’s trendiest venue in the 1930s. According to the documents, the institution could accommodate 460 people, but during the holidays it was crowded with much more people.

In 1942, the assistant waiter could not find an outlet and decided to light his way with a match. Before he had time to look back, the scenery flashed in a matter of seconds and the flames threw into the hall. In a few minutes, 492 people died in the fire. An investigation conducted by firefighters showed that such a number of casualties could have been avoided if the doors of the club were opened outward rather than inward.

Minor Design Change

The owners of the Hyatt Regency, a new hotel in Kansas City, dreamed of a unique hotel. The architecture firm responsible for the design of the building came up with a proposal for several galleries to be attached to the ceiling. The disadvantage of the project was that one long rod was replaced by two short ones. The original plan was to position the two galleries one above the other, both of which were to be supported by one long rod attached to the ceiling. The entire structure hangs on one long rod, which makes it as strong as it is difficult to assemble – the rod must pass through both galleries.

But it is difficult to manage the large details. The rod must have a thread along its entire length so that the nut can be tightened up to the upper gallery. The steel company responsible for making the rod made one small design change – replacing one long rod with two short ones.

The small change killed 114 people, crippled 216, and cost the company $ 140 million in lawsuits. After the design change, it turned out that the top nut had to carry the weight of two galleries. And so, one night during a dance competition, the load-bearing nut broke down and both galleries collapsed.

We have collected material on the significance of mathematical mistakes. The review shows that the consequences of even a small mathematical mistake can be unpredictable. Everyone should remember this and learn to find and correct math mistakes in a timely manner.


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