Enigmatic Code

Programming Enigma Puzzles

Enigma 1717: On the beach

From New Scientist #2884, 29th September 2012 [link]

Clearing my attic, I found my old 8mm cine-projector and films of our children. It still worked. The film moves through the projecting gate at an essentially constant speed from the stock spool to an identical take-up spool. The empty spool has a 4-centimetre diameter and the spool when full has a diameter (to the outside of the film) of 12 cm. The playing time is 17 minutes. Each spool has five spokes, so it is easy to compare speeds of rotation. A scene of children playing on the beach started when the ratio of the speed of rotation of the take-up spool to that of the stock spool was 5:3 and ended when it was 3:5.

How long did the scene last?



One response to “Enigma 1717: On the beach

  1. Jim Randell 26 September 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Another fairly straightforward puzzle, once you’ve worked out the algebra involved.

    from fractions import Fraction
    from enigma import printf
    # the fraction of film on a spool with film of radius x is:
    # f = (x^2 - 2^2) / (6^2 - 2^2) = (x^2 - 4) / 32
    # so the radius of a spool with the fraction f of film on it is:
    # x = sqrt(32.f + 4) = 2.sqrt(8.f + 1)
    # at a rotational speed of r, and radius x a spool is taking up film at
    # a rate of:
    # v = krx
    # r = v/kx
    # so if the rotational speeds are in a ratio of r1 : r2 it follows:
    # r1 : r2 = v/k.x1 : v/k.x2 = x2 : x1
    # and the frational amount of film on the spools will be f and 1-f
    # r1 / r2 = 2.sqrt(8.(1-f) + 1) / 2.sqrt(8.f + 1)
    # r1^2 / r2^2 = (9 - 8.f) / (8.f + 1)
    # 8.r1^2.f + r1^2 = 9.r2^2 - 8.r2^2.f
    # (8.r1^2 + 8.r2^2).f = 9.r2^2 - r1^2
    # f = (9.r2^2 - r1^2) / 8.(r1^2 + r2^2)
    def f(a, b):
      (a2, b2) = (a * a, b * b)
      return Fraction(9 * b2 - a2, 8 * (a2 + b2))
    # what fraction of the film has played at the start and end of the scene?
    f1 = f(5, 3)
    f2 = f(3, 5)
    # a full reel runs to 17 minutes so the scene length is...
    s = 17 * (f2 - f1)
    printf("scene length is {s} minutes [f1={f1} f2={f2}]")

    Solution: The scene was 10 minutes long.

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