How Tall Is That Hotel?
An Engineering Student, a Physics Student, and a Mathematics student were each given $150 dollars and were told to use that money to find out exactly how tall a particular hotel was. All three ran off, extremely keen on how to do this.
The physics student went out, purchased some stopwatches, a number of ball bearings, a calculator, and some friends. He had them all time the drop of ball bearings from the roof, and he then figured out the height from the time it took for the bearings to accelerate from rest until they impacted with the sidewalk.
The math student waited until the sun was going down, then she took out her protractor, plumb line, measuring tape,and scratch pad, measured the length of the shadow, found the angle the buildings roof made from the ground, and used trigonometry to figure out the height of the building.
Of course, with all that was involved in getting this experiment done, they were up plenty late studying for other courses' exams. These two students bumped into the engineering student the next day, who looked quite refreshed. When asked what he did to find the height of the building he replied:
"Well, I walked up to the bell hop, gave him 10 bucks, asked him how tall the hotel was, and went inside for happy hour!"