The King Under the Elevator

More of a TeX exercise

15 August 2014

In my first semester at IIT Bombay, I was put in Hostel 15. The building had 10 floors and my room was on the sixth. Within a week, the display for the floor number inside the lift stopped working. This meant that everytime the lift stopped, someone had to peek outside to check which floor we’re on. To tackle this minor inconvenience, we (me and Sandesh) came up with a jugaad.

Let me clarify a few questions that you might have at this point. First, the title is a reference to The Hobbit1. We had recently seen the movie based on it and we are both Tolkien fans. Second, we actually went to this length to write something that looks like a well-researched paper because we had recently learnt TeX and could not wait to use it in the first place we could.

Now, what we did is note the time it takes to travel between any two floors and fit a straight line to the time versus number of floors covered. We were not smart enough to label the graph. The x-axis represents the number of floors and the y-axis represents the time in seconds. Very approximately, the number of seconds minus eight, multiplied by four and divided by 10 will give you the number of floors covered. You can check out the details in our “paper”.

By the time we finished this analysis, however, the lift display had been repaired.

Thanks to Sandesh Kalantre for working with me on this project.

  1. A fantasy book set in the world of the Lord of the Rings series, both by Lord J.R.R. Tolkien.