Question: There are four dogs each at the corner of a unit square. Each of the dogs starts chasing the dog in the clockwise direction. They all run at the same speed and continuously change their direction accordingly so that they are always heading straight towards the other dog. How long does it take for the dogs to catch each other and where?
Answer: Let the dogs be A, B, C and D where A is chasing B, B is chasing C, C is chasing D and D is chasing A.
All the dogs will eventually meet in the center of the square. Since all the dogs move in symmetry, the only logical answer to the location of their meeting is the center of the square.
At any point in time, dog A is perpendicular to dog B and B perpendicular to C and so on. Dog A moves towards dog B but dog B does not move towards or away from dog A since it is moving perpendicular to dog A. Therefore, the distance that dog A needs to cover to reach dog B is the same as the original distance between them, one unit.
The speed of each of the dog towards the dog it is chasing is given by (1 + cos(t)) where t is the angle on each corner of the square.
Speed of dog = 1 + cos(90) = 1 + 0 = 1
Time needed = Distance/Speed = 1 / 1 = 1 unit.
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