# Chases and Escapes: The Mathematics of Pursuit and Evasion

By Paul J. Nahin | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Seven Classic
Evasion Problems

This is a clever pursuit-and-evasion problem with the emphasis on evasion. At its most elementary level it became famous decades ago when, like the four-bug cyclic pursuit problem in the previous chapter, it appeared in Martin Gardner’s “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American (November and December 1965). As Gardner presented the problem then to his readers,

A young lady was vacationing on Circle Lake, a large artificial
body of water named for its precisely circular shape. To escape
from a man who was pursuing her, she got into a rowboat and
rowed to the center of the lake, where a raft was anchored. The
man decided to wait it out on shore. He knew she would have
to come ashore eventually; since he could run four times faster
than she could row, he assumed that it would be a simple matter
to catch her as soon as her boat touched the lake’s edge. But the
girl — a mathematics major at Radcliffe — gave some thought to
her predicament. She knew that on foot she could outrun the man

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