Building a snowman? Online snowman calculator can help create mathematically perfect proportions

Click to play video: 'Building the perfect snowman using math' Building the perfect snowman using math
A Polish mathematician has created an online calculator to help you build no matter how little or how much snow you have available. Sydney Morton tested out the theory. – Jan 2, 2021

It’s a wonderful winter tradition that untold numbers of Canadians do every year: build a snowman.

And with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, odds are building a snowman will soon become a popular trend, akin to spikes seen in cooking and decorating homes for Christmas.

But before heading outside to build your own version of Frosty, check out this website, which offers mathematical tips on creating a perfect snowman.

Read more: Saskatoon family builds giant ‘Frosty the Snowman’ to spread Christmas cheer

Yes, you read that correctly: math.

Anna Szczepanek of Krakow, Poland, has created an online snowman calculator following a snowfall that blanketed the city at the end of November.

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“I tried building my first snowman for this winter, but ended up with a creepy looking snowman,” Szczepanek said in an email to Global News.

Szczepanek says she recently graduated with a PhD in applied mathematics from Jagiellonian University. Bios and examples of her work can be found here and here.

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Pierrefonds man creates giant snowman – Feb 20, 2019

“I wondered if it were possible to use math in this case — after all, I just needed the right proportions,” continued Szczepanek.

“So I thought about a formula I could use, and ended up using the Fibonacci sequence as we often consider the golden ratio as one of the most mathematically beautiful proportions.”

Szczepanek says it took around two weeks to finish the calculator, which is simple to use.

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The calculator allows users to personalize the snowman’s size and shape, while also notifying how much snow it will take and roughly how long it should survive.

Users punch in snow data numbers, such as yard size and snow depth, and the calculator then spits out sizes for each sphere and the snowman’s height.

Click to play video: 'Snowman gets last laugh after would-be vandal tries to run it over – only to learn it’s build on large stump' Snowman gets last laugh after would-be vandal tries to run it over – only to learn it’s build on large stump
Snowman gets last laugh after would-be vandal tries to run it over – only to learn it’s build on large stump – Jan 17, 2019

The calculator also answers the age-old question of why snowmen are round.

Apart from being the easiest shape to roll, spheres also have “the minimal surface area to volume ratio of any shape. As a consequence, the spherical shape increases the snowman’s longevity: the smaller the surface area, the slower the melting process, and so your snowy friend will stick around longer.”

The calculator also shows how to proportionally build a mathematically perfect snowman.

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“This year may have been far from perfect, but at least your frosty friend can be,” said Szczepanek. “I believe my tool helps you use math to save you from creating a creepy snowman this Christmas.”

Of course, the only question is: with Canada being a vast country, does your region have enough winter weather to build a snowman?

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NASA releases new images of snowman-shaped rock – Jan 3, 2019

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