Fermi Problems Essay Paper

Fermi Problems
Fermi Problems

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Fermi Problems

Fermi problems are an estimated problem that is used to dimensional analysis and approximation and is often a back-of-the-envelope calculation. This type of estimation technique was named after the physicist Enrico Fermi, who was widely known for his approximation calculation prowess and at times, with little or no data. Fermi problems are used to justify guesses about their quantities and variance. Enrico has received worldwide recognition for most of his accomplishments, but the major one is his contribution to the development of the atomic bomb.

The talk by Lawrence is significant for physicians primarily to understand Fermi problems. Lawrence gives his viewers a physicist’s perspective of the world. He does so with the help of experiments, for example, he drops a book and a paper and asks which fall first while giving the explanation why the book fell first.

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The first of Fermi problems revolves around counting the number of equipment that is in a particular region for example piano tuners (Krauss, 2008). The first question is the number of people in the population, how many use keyboards and the number of families that own pianos. The second issue revolves around the number of substances that can fill another subject, for instance, the number of water balloons that can fill a room. One thing is to note the quantity of water that a single balloon can hold and the amount of water required to fill the room. Form there a simple calculation is exerted to find the number of approximated balloons and water.

There is a good chance that every time an individual breathes he/she takes in one molecule that was inhaled by Julius Caesar before his assassination. This was achieved using  Avogadro’s number (6.02×10²³) and which multiplies the number of molecules in a single breathe and the atmosphere. The next step is finding out the volume of the atmosphere and through calculation arrives at the number of molecules that are consumed by each person.

The number of piano tuners in London varies from 50 to 125. This can be arrived by viewing the whole population in London and estimating the number of households that own one and calculating the number of houses that regularly tune a piano and how many times a piano can tune in a day.


Krauss, L. (2008). Commentary: World Lines by Lawrence Krauss. New Scientist, 198(2653), 50.

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