Thank you to those of you who stopped by the Malvern booth at Pittcon and took part in our ‘guess the number of “particles” contest.’ The correct answer was 10,159.

Particle Contest PittconWe received 413 guesses and the closest to the correct answer was Tom McKamey, who amazingly was only 5 off with his guess of 10,164. Well done Tom, your $500 AMEX gift card is in the mail.

We asked Tom if he would share how he came up with a guess. His response:

My method was to treat the problem like the volume of a cylinder, since the particles were similar in size, and the container had a regular cylindrical shape, counting the individual gumballs as the measuring units. I counted the gumballs in a vertical column, and also in a single layer around the circumference dividing by Pi to get the diameter and then by 2 to get the radius. Then height in gumballs * (Pi * r) squared = gumballs.

I later discovered a problem with my calculations, however, so I think it was more luck than anything. 🙂

Tale of the tape

In case you were interested, we also wanted to share some more information about the guesses.

–          Lowest guess: 350; Highest guess: 250,490,072 (!!!!!)

–          Percentage of guesses within 5% of the correct answer: 6.8%

–          Below is a scatter plot of all of the guesses under 75,000 (85% of all guesses)

 Scatter Plot Pittcon Contest Guesses

We hope you enjoyed participating in our contest. Should you have any particle characterization needs – including counting them – please let us know. We’ll help you take all of the guesswork out of your particle characterization needs.

To see our favorite social media highlights of Pittcon 2014, take a look at our Storify here.  You can also read our particle size expert Alan Rawle’s diary of this year’s event:

The Pittcon Diaries: Part 1

The Pittcon Diaries: Part 2

The Pittcon Diaries: Part 3