Friday Quiz!

The inauguration is fast upon us -- and any reader of our newspaper has been well briefed on the logistics! In keeping with our close coverage of the event, I bring you this quiz from MATHCOUNTS, a national math competition and club program for middle school students.


1. When January 20th falls on a Sunday the public ceremony is moved to Monday, January 21. In what year, will the next January 21st inauguration be held?

2. The 2009 inauguration is expected to see record levels of attendance. Lyndon B Johnson’s inauguration currently holds the record for attendance at 1.2 million people. Originally, attendance for the 2009 inauguration was projected to be as high as 5 million. Now, based on more accurate data, the projected attendance is around 2 million. What is the positive difference between the originally estimated percent increase over the current record attendance and the newly estimated percent increase over the current record attendance? Express your answer to the nearest whole number.

3. The National Mall is 300 acres. It stretches 1.9 miles from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. This will be the first time in history that the entire mall will be open for an inauguration. If attendance is the estimated 2 million people and all of the people spread out evenly over the mall, how many square feet will each person get? Note that 1 acre is equal to 43,560 square feet. Express your answer as a decimal to the nearest tenth.

Remember to send your submissions for future Friday quiz entries to Let me know where you are from, what your math background is, and why you like this problem.

Have a good weekend!

By Michael Alison Chandler  |  January 9, 2009; 10:23 AM ET  | Category:  Friday Quiz
Previous: Who Wants to Be a Mathematician? | Next: What's Your Advice For The Next Administration?


After a bit of long division to figure out that there was one extra day of the week in each regular year, combined with knowing the 20th was on a Tuesday this year, I counted forward, deftly accounting for a leap year, until I confidently declared that Jan 20, 2013 will be on a Sunday.

Then I panicked for a moment, realizing that they don't have an inauguration every year. I was saved by the coincidence that 2013 is 4 years from now, and did not suffer the embarrassment of retracting my answer.

Of course, all this played out in my head. :-)

Not sure I follow #2, the language is a little funny. But I interpret it as abs(5M/1.2M * 100% - 2M/1.2M * 100%), which simplifies to 250%. Counting 1% as a whole number (rather than as 0.01), the answer is 250%.

For #3, I get 6.5 sq ft, which happens to be a box about 2.5 ft on a side. That's more room than on Metro!

Posted by: tomsing | January 9, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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