Fire-fighting: A mathematical solution!

An Engineering, a Physicist, and a Mathematician are staying in a hotel.

In the middle of the night, the fire alarm goes off. The Engineer is the first to wake. He runs out to the hall, sees a fire off in the distance, and gets to work. He runs back to his room, grabs his ice bucket, fills it with water, and runs quickly back to the hall to douse the flames.

Later, the alarm goes off again, this time waking the Physicist. The Physicist sees another fire in the hallway, runs back to retrieve the ice bucket, patiently fills it with just enough water put out the fire (keeping in mind the rate at which the fire spreads while he’s filling the bucket), walks carefully to just the right distance from the fire, and gently tosses the water from the bucket, forming a perfect arc and putting out the fire without a drop of excess water.

The fire alarm goes off a third time, and the Mathematician wakes up. He runs outside of his room, sees the fire in the hall, remembers the ice bucket in his room, thinks “Aha! A solution exists!” and goes back to sleep.