The Homicide Problem Revisited

The Homicide Problem Revisited
Author: Smith, David A.
College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 141-145, 1978.

Summary: This article discusses the application of Newton's law of cooling to a situation in which the cooling body is a recently deceased person. Mr. Smith notes that this application will hold a class's attention better than one of plunging a hot object into a cold liquid. Mr. Smith goes on to show how this problem can be used to teach students to choose the best coordinate system and to use numerical analysis when analytical analysis is impossible. He also elucidates the importance of separating intertwined equations to ease the students' conceptual understanding of the problem.

Summary by Katherine Taylor, Pomona College '11

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