Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Women Or Tigers? — Introduction

Over the next two weeks, I will post seven fun and increasingly complicated mathematical exercises. But hey, read on! I said they were fun! The seven exercises are part of the same story. Each other day I will give you one challenge to think about and solve, and each other day you will get the solution …except on the last day, as I actually no longer have the answer to that last and most complex challenge. So stay tuned! :)

You may know the short story ‘The Lady, Or The Tiger?’ by Frank R. Stockton. It tells how a prisoner is forced to choose between two doors — one room contains a lady, and the other one a tiger. If he chooses the former, he will marry the lady, but if he chooses the latter, he will probably end up as lunch.

A king had read the story, and it gave him an idea. ‘This is exactly how I should like to treat my own prisoners,’ he said to his minister, ‘but I will not leave things to blind chance. I will put a sign on each door, and in each case I will tell the prisoner something about these signs. If the prisoner is smart and knows how to think logically, he will save his life, and will even win himself a beautiful bride.’

‘What a brilliant idea, your highness,’ said the minister.

Does this intrigue you? If yes, check out my blog tomorrow for the first challenge. We will start very lightly and build up from there…

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