How Much is Inside The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt?

Three teams participating in the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt have asked to host their Scavenger-hunt-related guest episodes of How Much is Inside.

Team Snell-Hitchcock - Regenstein Library

The Regenstein Library is a very large, imposing building. At first, quaking before its edifice, we didn't even know what we would investigate inside.

At first, we figured we would just count the number of books. After about 20 books, we got bored. We realized that this was not a feasible goal. Plus, we realized that a quick trip to the University of Chicago Library website would give us more information than we could have hoped to achieve through painstaking, manual search.

As we wandered, dejected, looking for something a little more unorthodox to investigate, an arresting feature of the library struck us - from above, many of the study cubicles in the Regenstein bear uncanny resemblance to swastikas. Here is a view looking down from the third floor onto the second floor.

This phenomenon is truly striking, and a bit unnerving.

We decided to count the number of swastika cubicles in the Reg.

We split up. Ramya counted on the second and third floors. I counted the fourth and fifth floors (there are no swastika cubicles on the first floor).

The verdict: 24 on the second floor, 20 on the third floor, 10 on the fourth floor, and 12 on the fifth floor. Later, we realized that we had forgotten to include the A and B levels on our search. I returned to count 8 on the A level and none on the B level (this was also my first trip to the B level, which was exciting).

So, in all, the Reg contains 74 swastika cubicles.

Later, after a bit of research, we discovered that most swastikas with vertical and horizontal mainlines (i.e. the kind in the kind in the Reg) are in fact holy symbols of various Eastern religions. Generally, the mainlines of their more notorious counterparts, the Nazi swastikas, lie at 45 degree angles. The moral of the story: all 74 swastika cubicles in the Reg are most likely innocuous.