How Many Drops Of Water Are In Lake Tahoe? -Mental Model 058

Fermi Problem

A question that seeks a fast, rough estimate of quantity which is either difficult or impossible to measure directly.


Example: Fermi problems are often known as back-of-the-envelope calculations, such as; How many drops of water are there in Lake Tahoe? Solving that problem requires an estimate of the volume of the drop, the volume of Lake Tahoe from its approximate dimensions and conversion of units to provide the answer.


Wisdom: “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli


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