I want to write a function golf(C, A) that takes the height (C = 2*c) and the width (A = 2*a) of an oblate (left image) or prolate (right image) spheroid or a sphere as parameters and returns the volume V and the surface area S of the shape as tuple. The output must be rounded to two decimal places.

image from wikipedia to clarify axis names

All input and output numbers are floating point decimals.
The input numbers (A and C) are guaranteed to be greater than 0 and lower than 100.

Here are some example calls of the function (golf(C, A)) in Python 3 and the expected outputs given as test cases:

golf(4, 2)  # expected output (8.38, 21.48)
golf(2, 2)  # expected output (4.19, 12.57)
golf(2, 4)  # expected output (16.76, 34.69)

The challenge requires my code to be smaller than 150 characters.

I could not manage to solve it myself yet, my best solution in Python 3 still takes 220 characters:

from math import * 
def golf(C,A):
 c,a,V=C/2,A/2,pi/6*A*A*C;F=c*c/a**2;E=sqrt(1-(F if a>c else 1/F));S=4*pi*a*a if a==c else 2*pi*a*a*(1+(((1-E**2)/E)*atanh(E)if a>c else(c/(a*E))*asin(E)))
 return round(V,2),round(S,2)

The necessary formulas are taken from Wikipedia: Spheroid, here's a summary:

surface area oblate spheroid
surface area prolate spheroid

Vall spheroids = 4 π/3 a²c = π/6 A²C as A=2a and C=2c.

This challenge was originally from checkio.org and got refactored into a code-golf challenge for empireofcode.com.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Rounded how? Reference \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 9:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Were comments purged? Why were all the comments purged? \$\endgroup\$
    – cat
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 18:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @cat Most of the comments became obsolete when this was turned into a tips question. The one that didn't didn't get deleted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


122 bytes

from cmath import*
def golf(C,A):e=sqrt(1-A*A/C/C);return round(pi/6*A*A*C,2),round(pi*A*abs(A+(e and C*asin(e)/e-A)/2),2)

The sphere can be special-cased by returning surface area πA² if e = 0.

While there are two different formulae for oblate and prolate spheroids, they are mathematically equivalent. If the involved operations support complex numbers, each formula can be used for both cases.

Since asin(e)/e will return a complex number of the form x+0j for prolate spheroids, abs can be used to turn it into the float x.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, that doesn't save any bytes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 16, 2016 at 14:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.