Check out the eyeballing game. You're asked to "eyeball" various geometric constructions -- the perpendicular to a given segment, the center of a given circle, the bisector of a given angle, and so on.

I'm kind of curious which sort of mathematicians do best on this. I have very little reason to draw geometrically accurate pictures in my work. Although to be honest, even people who do geometry don't have to draw really accurate pictures; I suspect it's the engineers who would be best at this.

(via reddit.)

## 06 October 2008

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## 13 comments:

Hmm, that game is pretty tricky, especially finding the center of the inscribed circle on a triangle. My best score was 2.73 which put me in the top 3% of the last 500 games. As a geometer, I'm proud, or something.

4.16. Just below the median. Then again, I took geometry with a teacher for whom we named the "Collins-line", which has all the formal properties of a line, but doesn't look anywhere close to straight.

That's an interesting distribution it shows when you are done. I am talking about the last 10,000 games one. Looks like an exponential distribution.

Your observation might prove correct, if I am any measure (full-time mechanical engineer). At least, it shows correlation, if not causation :)

Computer engineer, 2.88 on my first try. Started out better, but my second and third samples were worse.

It would be a lot harder if the display were anti-aliased, in my opinion. I used the aliasing of the lines as a crutch.

Interesting. I didn't do so great (6.56).

But the guy who does this used to work about 10 meters from me.

My eyesight isn't as good as it once was. 3.78

4.58. I do software mostly. The parallelogram task was by far the hardest with my scores being 8.0ish-12.0ish. The angle bisection and center of the triangle were easiest for me.

In my humble opinion, this game is not about mathematics, but about how good is your eyesight and how steady is your hand. Probably the visual artists will be the best at it. Drawing accurate diagrams has to do with mathematics as much as calligraphy has to do with poetry.

Eventually this will morph into googles new mail goggles, where they ask you math questions before they allow you to send an email.

I can consistently get around 2.9 or less, without cheating by using a ruler or protracter. My problem is that my mouse pad on my laptop is so filthy that the cursor jumps about sometimes. It was interesting to see that I was consistently bad with the circles and parallelograms, but very, very good with converging lines and triangles - sometimes scoring a zero error.

Your conjecture that engineers might do best on this sort of task reminds me of the time when my friends and I took the GRE's back in the mid-1980's. My college room-mate was an outstanding math major, and became excited when the GRE group results (I think they were national results) were made available, broken down by major. He bet that the math majors would be the best in the Quantitative section. He was really rooting for Team Math! But he was disappointed -- it was the engineers who came out on top in that section!

My friend was mollified that the math majors placed first in the Analytic section. And examining the results, it was fairly obvious who did best over all. It was the physicists. They were very impressive!

Of course, this is just one data point from back in the mid-1980's, so it may not hold with today's GRE's or student body.

I'm not surprised that engineering and physics majors did better on the quantitative section of the GRE than math majors. There are a lot of numbers and graphs and made-up data in that section, and that's not the sort of thing one sees in junior and senior level math classes.

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