Fermi Estimation

In physics or engineering education, a Fermi problem (or Fermi quiz, Fermi question, Fermi estimate), also known as a order-of-magnitude problem (or order-of-magnitude estimate, order estimation), is an estimation problem designed to teach dimensional analysis or approximation of extreme scientific calculations, and such a problem is usually a back-of-the-envelope calculation. The estimation technique is named after physicist Enrico Fermi as he was known for his ability to make good approximate calculations with little or no actual data. Fermi problems typically involve making justified guesses about quantities and their variance or lower and upper bounds. In some cases, order-of-magnitude estimates can also be derived using dimensional analysis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_problem

Just before the Trinity test, Enrico Fermi decided he wanted a rough estimate of the blast's power before the diagnostic data came in. So he dropped some pieces of paper from his hand as the blast wave passed him, and used this to estimate that the blast was equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT. His guess was remarkably accurate for having so little data: the true answer turned out to be 20 kilotons of TNT. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/PsEppdvgRisz5xAHG/fermi-estimates

aka SWAG


HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality has a reference

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