Talk:Back-of-the-envelope calculation

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Why would an envelope so often be at hand? Shouldn't it be called something like napkin-face? Or did this term originate in offices? [not that they don't have notepads.] lysdexia 17:22, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It's a valid term, that's often used (at least it is where I am). You can't dispute an article because you just don't like the phrase it's describing. jguk 22:28, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It's because of all the junk mail you get, you always have a useless envelope around.

If it's really due to Enrico Fermi, then it presumably originated in a university environment.--Runcorn 19:13, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Back of the Napkin[edit]

There's an article (stub) talking about back of the napkin calculations. I think these should be put into one article somehow. 14:44, 18 December 2006 (UTC) Chris

Most paper napkins I've seen have symmetric faces. What's the back of a napkin? Perhaps whoever wrote that article was thinking of "back-of-the-envelope". (talk) 20:53, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


Clearly, this should be merged with Back-of-the-envelope-calculations as it deals with the same subject. I favour turning this article into the redirect, as people usually use the longer phrase. --Runcorn 19:19, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't have a strong opinion either way, but maybe Back-of-the-envelope calculation would be a better title (removing the hyphen between "envelope" and "calculation", and dropping the plural "s" in accordance with the MOS). Wmahan. 19:41, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the above comment regarding "s" and hyphens, but otherwise it's catch-as-catch-can. - DavidWBrooks 22:58, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Wmahan too. --Runcorn 19:34, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Nearest and nearest available[edit]

I restored "available". The nearest piece of paper may not be available. It may be an important document, not to be scribbled on.--Runcorn 19:47, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Well, it still strikes me as an unnecessary word - there's no need to cover every possibility in a sentence lik that; we wouldn't say "nearest available piece of paper, parchment or other material capable of holding ink or other writing substance" - but I'm sure we both agree it's not worth an edit war, so I won't re-revert. - DavidWBrooks 22:15, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Reference link 404[edit]

The reference link for Fermi Questions is 404. PseudoEdit 22:48, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I removed it. - DavidWBrooks 23:00, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


Does anybody really use the abbreviation BotEC? I've never heard it, and it's incredibly clumsy. Unless it's regularly used, it shouldn't be in the article, and especially not in the lead. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 19:28, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Laffer Curve?[edit]

What does this entry have to do with the Laffer Curve and why is it referenced from here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:00, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Delete the picture[edit]

Although interesting,I don't see how it is relevant to the article.


None of the three examples actually seem like back of the envelope calculations. A sketch of a building or tool you want to invent is not a calculation. (talk) 04:17, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed... bote-calculations mean approximations, not everything you figure out on the back of a envelope or napkin. If that was teh case i could add Steven Weinberg figured out the beginning of his work in QFT on a napkin, and I can source that too. However, It's not a bote-calculation. Gillis (talk) 23:39, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Gettysburg Address[edit]

Lincoln wrote his famous speech on the back of an envelople while on a train en route to give the address. M199.197.135.217 (talk) 13:35, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Calculation is a key part of the term, however. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:25, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Back-of-the-envelope design?[edit]

What about back-of-envelope/napkin designs? To design something on the back of an envelope also seems like a common engineering term...and there are some nice real-world examples of designs done on table napkins. (eg SteveBaker (talk) 14:18, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

That would be a separate article, if it's deserving. This BOTE is very much an engineering/science concept and term - "calculation" is the key more than the napkin. - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:36, 22 November 2010 (UTC)