06 April 2009

James Stewart's house

James Stewart, author of calculus texts, has a $24 million house. It has lots of curved walls. Problem: find their areas or volumes, by integrating.

Simmons Hall, an MIT dorm opened in 2002, has a lot of oddly shaped rooms. (I found this silly, because the curved walls meant wasted space -- but I didn't live there, I just had friends who did, so it didn't bother me too much.) The story goes that the Cambridge fire department had trouble giving them a certificate of occupancy because they couldn't determine the volume of certain rooms and therefore couldn't determine whether they were adequately ventilated.

(Article from the Wall Street Journal; link from Casting Out Nines.)


plam said...

Stata has a bunch of non-vertical walls, which also would lead to "wasted" space. But I don't necessarily think that architecture is an issue of maximizing space. (The slanted walls did bother my officemate though).

Dan said...

I have to say, we used Stewart's textbooks for single variable and multivariable calculus at my university and I thought I felt ripped off when I bought the books.

Knowing that not only did I get gouged at school, but that Stewart amassed $24M really pisses me off :P

Anonymous said...

I tried not to write but could not help myself:

He had time to write the textbooks and make all those movies?

Ori Gurel-Gurevich said...

Instead of measuring the house's size by integrating, one could use Edison's method - fill it with water and then measure the water.

Anonymous said...

I was going to suggest the same thing as Ori. And also point out that this would be particularly easy for the fire department.