Wake Up and Smell the Coffee
Rosalie Dance, James Sandefur
Algebra, Elementary Functions
Around the world, people enjoy caffeine in both food and drink.
Caffeine is an alkaloid compound that comes from plants, including
coffee, tea, kola nuts, maté, cacao, and guarano. Some people drink
caffeine drinks because they like the taste, and some drink them for
the physical effect they can have. Most people are aware of differences in the
way they feel as a result of drinking caffeine; it stimulates the central nervous
system, the heart, and the respiratory system. For many people, the effect is
pleasant and energizing, a “wake up” or a “pick-me-up,” and a way to delay
fatigue. But for others, the effects are unpleasant. Laboratory tests indicate that
one to three cups of coffee can increase a person’s capacity for sustained
intellectual effort and decrease reaction time (that’s good) but may adversely
affect the ability to perform tasks involving delicate muscular coordination and
accurate timing (that’s bad).
In this article, we explore the dynamics of caffeine in the body through the use
of exponential functions.