I have discovered, once again, that my mathematics abilities aren’t adequate. I mean I can do simple calculations and try to stay ahead of the cashiers in the supermarket by adding in my head what they add up with the cash register, and I have on occasion found myself adding arbitrary telephone numbers (don’t ask, I don’t know either), but I utterly fail at even slightly more complex tasks.
Case in point. I wanted to find out what radius and speed a Ringworld would need if I want to simulate a 24 hour day and want the “centrifugal” force to amount to an acceleration of 9.78 meters per second – in other words, simulates Earth gravity on the inner surface of the ring.
I consulted the (German) Wikipedia on the issue, but I had a hard time understanding the formula provided. Okay, didn’t help that it was quite late at night and I was tired, but still, makes me feel stupid. I did find an example which cleared things up quite considerably.
I wonder though, if maybe I ought to take some math courses. I guess I’ll never get around to it anyway – you know how it is with those things “I really should do some day”.
Oh, the answer to my problem, by the way, is 1.85 million kilometers and 134.5 km/s. Works out to an even 24 hours and exactly 9.78 m/s centrifugal force.