Cynthia Lanius

            A Mathematics Fantasy -

            The Rich Get Rich


          You're sitting in math class, minding your own business, when in walks a Bill Gates kind of guy - the real success story of your school. He's made it big, and now he has a job offer for you.

          He doesn't give too many details, mumbles something about the possibility of danger. He's going to need you for 30 days, and you'll have to miss school. (Won't that just be too awful?) And you've got to make sure your passport's current. (Get real, Bill, this ain't Paris). But do you ever sit up at the next thing he says.

          You'll have your choice of two payment options:

          1. One cent on the first day, two cents on the second day, and double your salary every day thereafter for the thirty days; or

          2. Exactly $1,000,000. (That's one million dollars!)

          I jump up out of my seat at that. You've got your man, Bill, right here. I'll take that million. I'm out of here. And off you go on this dangerous million-dollar mission.

          Break in Story

          So how smart was this guy? Did he make the best choice? Sounds like it at first, but before we decide for sure, let's investigate the first payment option. Complete a table like this for the first week's work.

          Pay with First Option - Week 1
          Day No.
          Pay for that Day
          Total Pay (In Dollars)
          1
           
           
          2
           
           
          3
           
           
          4
           
           
          5
           
           
          6
           
           
          7
           
           

          Check your answer and proceed with the story.

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          URL http://math.rice.edu/~lanius/pro/rich1.html