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Mathematician finds answer to timeless question

Mathematician finds answer to timeless question  
Filed

on 07/22/2006



As the nation sets off this week on its summer holidays, the back seats of family cars will ring to the sound of one of life’s great questions - ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ However, a mathematician has answered parents’ prayers and put a stop to the question for good.


Professor Dwight Barkley, Department of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, has formulated an equation to calculate the exact time into a journey it takes for a child to ask ‘Are we nearly there yet?’

The equation takes the following form:

The time it takes for a child to ask the question equals: one, plus the number of activities to do, divided by the number of children in the car squared. That figure is then added to the time the family left the house to give the answer.


T is the exact time at which a child first asks "Are we nearly there yet?"

to is the time you left the house

C is the number of children in the car

A is the number of activities to do


The equation, which was commissioned by Škoda to help its customers better prepare for long summer car journeys, works by taking into account the length of time since leaving the house, the number of activities available and the number of children in the car. It illustrates how the length of time until a child asks the question will increase with the number of activities on offer and the number of children in the car.

Commenting on the triumph, Professor Dwight Barkley explained, "Mathematics can help answer many of life’s questions and this equation can be a fun way to think about the problem of keeping children entertained on a family car journey."

Catherine Bell, Head of Press and PR for Škoda UK, comments, "We assisted the research to better understand the relevant factors to consider before embarking on a long holiday trip. We are always thinking about how the family car can improve the lives of our customers, which can be seen in the new Roomster, which launches in September."

The equation has been devised to coincide with the launch of Škoda’s brand new Roomster model which has been fitted with numerous useful and clever creature comforts which help to entertain children.

The ideal family car for long journeys, the space inside is second to none. Following along the lines of a compact MPV, the Roomster will appeal to purchasers of small family hatches, and caters for both the driver and passengers to ensure maximum levels of comfort. With large windows throughout for an airy, spacious feel and raised seats, children have the best possible view outside to help in playing I-Spy or car bingo!

The Roomster’s contemporary design allows four or five seater configurations meaning you can invite that extra playmate for your child, while the vast amount of space extends to the boot which, with a volume of between 450 and 530 litres - amongst the largest in its class - you can pack in every single activity to follow the equation!

However, if you can’t wait until September, Škoda’s current range of models - the Fabia, Octavia and Superb – are all available now and will transport you and your family to your holiday destination comfortably and safely, with bags of space for your luggage.



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