How To Balance A Yardstick On An Apple 1

How to Balance a Yardstick on an Apple
Author: Herbert R. Bailey

College Mathematics Journal, 17:3, 1986, 220-225.

The author presents the problem this way: Let’s say, hypothetically, that you are a member of SPECTRE and that you wanted to launch a missile from your mobile manifestation of malignance. How would you design your carriage of catastrophic calamity? Could you make it so that the missile always remained upright, or at a constant angle relative to your terrifyingly trenchant truck, regardless of the speed you were going? This article explores how to use Newtonian mechanics and differential equations to solve this problem. It also includes a discussion of how to use a numerical solver to determine your optimal set-up, with BASIC commands included. Summary by Lorcan McGonigle, Pomona College '13.

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