Consider An Spherical Cow Pdf Free


If you hang around physicists for a significant amount of time, someone is going to bring up the spherical cow. What is this thing? This came up recently in class since it is mentioned in the. Jan 04, 2015  (Consider a Spherical Cow: A Course in Environmental Problem Solving) Author: John Harte published on (December, 1988) by John Harte Free PDF d0wnl0ad, audio books, books to read, good books to read, cheap books, good books, online books, books online, book reviews epub, read books online, books to read online, online library, greatbooks to. Consider a Spherical Cow: A Course in Environmental Problem Solving, John Harte. A physicist by training, Harte has taught environmental science and OOM estimation at Berkeley to high acclaim for many years. Consider a Cylindrical Cow: More Adventures in Environmental Problem Solving, John Harte. An even better set of problems.

Spherical cow as illustrated by a 1996 meeting of the American Astronomical Association, in reference to astronomy modeling.
Cow as a homeomorphism of a sphere, leading to a related mathematical joke that topologists can't tell the difference between a coffee mug and a donut.[1]

A spherical cow is a humorous metaphor for highly simplified scientific models of complex real life phenomena.[2][3] The implication is that theoretical physicists will often reduce a problem to the simplest form they can imagine in order to make calculations more feasible, even though such simplification may hinder the model's application to reality.

The phrase comes from a joke that spoofs the simplifying assumptions that are sometimes used in theoretical physics.[4]


Milk production at a dairy farm was low, so the farmer wrote to the local university, asking for help from academia. A multidisciplinary team of professors was assembled, headed by a theoretical physicist, and two weeks of intensive on-site investigation took place. The scholars then returned to the university, notebooks crammed with data, where the task of writing the report was left to the team leader. Shortly thereafter the physicist returned to the farm, saying to the farmer, 'I have the solution, but it works only in the case of spherical cows in a vacuum'.

Consider An Spherical Cow Pdf Free

Consider An Spherical Cow Pdf Free Pdf

It is told in many variants,[5] including a joke about a physicist who said he could predict the winner of any race provided it involved spherical horses moving through a vacuum[6][7] or a physicist whose solution to a poultry farm's egg-production problems began with 'Postulate a spherical chicken ..', as presented in a 1973 letter to the editor of the journal Science titled A Spherical Chicken.[8]Paragon ntfs for mac 15 preview has expired how do i.

References in science[edit]

Alan Turing, in his 1952 paper 'The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis' asserted that: 'a system which has spherical symmetry, and whose state is changing because of chemical reactions and diffusion .. cannot result in an organism such as a horse, which is not spherically symmetrical.'[9]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Consider a Spherical Cow is the title of a 1988 book about problem solving using simplified models.[10]
  • 'Spherical Cow' was chosen as the codename for the Fedora 18Linux distribution.[11]
  • In an episode of the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, a joke is told by Dr. Leonard Hofstadter with the punchline mentioning 'spherical chickens in a vacuum'.[12]
  • In one episode of the spoof British current affairs programme Brass Eye, which was themed around animal rights, presenter Chris Morris attempted to engage guest Oliver Skeete in a debate on the ethics of using spherical cows in meat production.[13]
  • In the Overwatch 2020 Anniversary event, the playable character Sigma has a Voiceline where he remarks 'Ah, so like a Spherical Cow?'.

Spherical Cows In A Vacuum

See also[edit]

  • Assume a can opener – A catchphrase used to mock theorists who base their conclusions on impractical or unlikely assumptions
  • Unobtainium – Rare or fictional material


  1. ^Hubbard, John H.; West, Beverly H. (1995). Differential Equations: A Dynamical Systems Approach. Part II: Higher-Dimensional Systems. Texts in Applied Mathematics. 18. Springer. p. 204. ISBN978-0-387-94377-0.
  2. ^Shelton, Robin; Cliffe, J. Allie. 'Spherical Cows'. Archived from the original on 9 October 1999.
  3. ^'The Sacred Spherical Cows of Physics'
  4. ^Washington Post: 'The Coase Theorem'
  5. ^Kirkman, T. W. (1996). 'Spherical Cow: A Simple Model'. Statistics to Use. Retrieved 2007-02-19.
  6. ^Hefley, Bill; Hefley, William E.; Murphy, Wendy (1 February 2008). Service science, management and engineering: education for the 21st century. Springer. p. 80. ISBN978-0-387-76577-8. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  7. ^Birattari, Mauro (15 April 2009). Tuning Metaheuristics: A Machine Learning Perspective. Springer. pp. 183–184. ISBN978-3-642-00482-7. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  8. ^Stellman, Steven (1973). 'A Spherical Chicken'. Science. 182 (4119): 1296. doi:10.1126/science.182.4119.1296-b. PMID17733092. Retrieved 18 Feb 2017.
  9. ^Turing, A. M. (1952). 'The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis'(PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B. 237 (641): 37–72. Bibcode:1952RSPTB.237..37T. doi:10.1098/rstb.1952.0012. JSTOR92463. S2CID120437796.
  10. ^'Consider a Spherical Cow' University Science Books
  11. ^'Fedora 18 Is Codenamed The Spherical Cow'. 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
  12. ^Huva, Amy. 'When Nerds go Viral'. Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  13. ^'Kris' Brass Eye Page'. Retrieved 22 Jan 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Hubble Heritage Gallery Page: related history from Space Telescope Institute

Consider A Spherical Cow Solutions

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