Category: Crazy Puzzles


A “potpourri” of mindbenders

A “potpourri” of mindbenders!

        These are various brainbenders that I happened to have crossed while reading. They consist of a panopli of questions from physics to mathematics, from simple to complex and from solved to “still being researched”. Some of the sources are from Mathematics Problem Books, others from the “Mad About Physics” series while the sources of the remaining are still a mystery!

       I will add new puzzles and the previous answers in due time. Again, some of the questions have yet to be answered fully(we’ve got a bunch of crazy looking mathematicians and physicists still scratching the heads over them!). So, the answer may not always be so clear. Take your time and enjoy the ride into the unknown world that surrounds you.

1.      Okay, for starters, I’ll just ask you a simple question-one that most are well-acquainted with. If you take one pound of feathers and one pound of iron(or gold or anything metallic), which one weighs the most? (They weigh the same is, of course, not acceptable!) [reference: Mad about Physics-the classical edition]

2.     Now, for a bit of math.To number the pages of a bulky volume, the printer used 1890 digits. What’s the number of pages in the book?(simple algebra does the job!)[reference:The Stanford Mathematicians Problem Book]

3.     This one requires a bit more abstract thinking. The Green-Eyed dragons. So, you happen to visit a remote desert island inhabited by one hundred very friendly dragons(they won’t eat you),all of whom have green eyes. They haven’t seen a human for centuries and are very excited about your visit. The courteous D.s show you around and even talk to you about stuffs(Let’s say they can talk).

     Everything’s fine till now until you find something very strange. If a dragon finds out that he/she has green eyes, then at precisely midnight on the day of this discovery, he/she turns into a parrot after abandoning all powers. But, the dragons never talk to each other about eye color and there are no mirror on the island. So, everything’s been just fine.

     As you prepare to leave, all dragons come to see you off and you thank them for being so kind. You then tell them something they all already know(since they can all see the eyes of other dragons). You tell them that atleast one of them has green eyes(you really shouldn’t have done that). Then you leave, not thinking about the consequences. Assuming that the dragons are infallibly logical, what happens? And, if something does happen, what is this new information that you gave the dragons?[reference:Harvard Physics]

4.     How about a physics classic? This one is known the Newton’s Cradle(the toy in the picture). So, this is a popular toy consisting of five steel balls of the same size and mass, hanging side by side in contact in a row on bifilar support. Pull one back at one end and release it, one ball moves off the other end,…If two are pulled back at the same end and dropped together, two move out together at the other end. Pull back three, release together, and three move out at the other end. Pull back four and…Five and…How do they do that?! The balls can count, right? How do they know?[reference:Mad about physics]

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               “I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Sir Issac Newton

                        Whenever he is alone at night, Henrich likes to watch the beautiful stars in the sky. It so happened that, one day, as Henrich was sitting at his usual spot, a seemingly innocuous thought flashes across his mind- “why is the sky dark at night?”- he asks. Being rather proficient with Science, Henrich is able to determine that if the Universe is uniformly filled with stars, the whole of the night sky should be blazing with lights from these stars, but that isn’t the case. “Why?”, he asks. Why, indeed?

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The answer to this question is perhaps one of the most famous paradoxes known in science!

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.” -Galileo

Here’s the answer!

 
 

“An Ancient Puzzle!”

I created this riddle while trying to sleep. And , I have decided to post it here, hoping that, unlike me, you could possibly get some sleep pondering over this.

An Ancient Puzzle
I am literally “the one that cannot be cut” ;
Yet so many times, people have tried to open me up ;
Aeons have I lived ;
But unbeknownst most have I been;
Everywhere and Everything I am ;
Yet, ye can see me only through a ‘cam’ ;
Mostly empty I am inside ;
Save for a dot that always hides;
Allow me to tell ye of my family ;
A Brother I hath ;
So much we hate each other that we should never touch ;
Though we love each other so much that nothing can prevent us from meeting as such ;
Three Sons have I ;
Two are opposites- they never see eye to eye ;
One is always neutral about them as am I ;
Change my attire many times I must ;
Losing my sons every time, only just ;
Yet, do so I always hath ;
For from the natural law, no one escapeth ;

Can ye, O stupefied reader ;
Find me in this Puzzler? ;

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THE ANSWER

I find it rather strange that no one could find the answer(I prefer not to consider that no one came on this post). Even stranger given that I wrote the answer almost times in “A Brief History… Of Everything”.

The ‘very’ simple answer is …THE ATOM! Allow me to clarify:

An Ancient Puzzle
I couldn’t think of a better name

I am literally the one that cannot be cut;
“ATOMOS”(that’s atom in Greek) literally means ‘indivisible’ or ‘not to cut’

Yet so many times people have tried to open me up;
This refers to the scores of curious little men who have tried countless times(and finally succeded) to probe the atom and its structure

Aeons have I lived;
The atom(of Hydrogen and Helium is) ‘only about 350000 years younger than the ‘Big Bang’- that makes the atom about 13.7 billion years old. Still in its teen years, right?

But unbeknownst to most have I been;
There are not many people out there who know what the atom is all about( this seems to include those who have read this puzzle as well!)

Everywhere and Everything I am ;
Cannot be clearer than this. I’ll just use Lord Kelvin’s sayying to enumerate one measure of the atom- the mole.
Kelvin said that if you decided to mix a glass of water in the Ocean and took another glass from this mixture, you would get a hundred of your original atoms everytime. This may sound confusing. A better explanation goes thus: “remember that everytime you drink a glass of water, you are drinking atleast one atom that went through Aristotle’s bladder!”(I stopped looking at a glass of water in the same way after I heard this explanation)

Yet, ye can see me only through a ‘cam’;
The only way to ‘see’ the atom nowadays is to use an STM(scanning tunnelling microscope) or an AFM(atomic force microscope). Fact is we cannot ‘see’ it in reality as the atom is way smaller than the smallest wavelength of light that we can really see(red, blue…). So, scientists use electrical impulses to ‘see’ it in a screen. Enough explanations now, moving on…

Mostly empty I am inside ;
Our dear friend Rutherford would have quite a lot to say about this. He was the first to put forth the idea.In his own words: shooting the atom with alpha particles(helium nuclei) is trying to stop a bullet with a tissue paper!

Save for a dot that always hides;
Yup, that’s the nucleus we’re talking about- the good old house for the neutron and the proton.

Allow me to tell ye of my family;
We’d love to hear about them!

A Brother I hath;
That’s the anti-atom(all the stuff about anti-matter). It contains the anti-particles of the atom.(positron for electrons, anti-proton for proton and anti-neutron for neutron).

So much we hate each other that we should never touch ;
Now for the most infamous equation in history. e=mc^2. All their masses become pure energy upon meeting(gamma rays and stuff). Old Einstein would be so happy!

 

Though we love each other so much that nothing can prevent us from meeting as such ;
Positive negative, action and attraction- that’s what this is all about.

Three Sons have I ;
And then were the neutron, the proton and the elecron.

Two are opposites- they never see eye to eye ;
Proton rhymes with positive and electron with negative charges. They are opposites( though there are quarks but that is not very relevant here)

One is always neutral about them as am I ;
Neutron rhymes with neutral. The atom is neutral as well- equal positive charges and negative charges cancel out. If that wasn’t the case, you would probably have been stuck(literally) to your laptop screen while reading this !

Change my attire many times I must ;
That’s the case of Radioactive Decay! An unstable atom changes to a more stable one.(google ‘fukushima’ and there’s nothing you wouldn’t know about it). There are many types of decays.

Losing my sons every time, only just ;
An example would clarify things up. In a Classic Decay type, Uranium(the stuff used nuclear) changes to Thorium by emitting helium nucleus( 2 protons and 2 neutrons). The process can be understood by simple addition of numbers.

Yet, do so I always hath ;
For from the natural law, no one escapeth ;
Could not be clearer. Decay always happens whenever it has to.

Can ye, O stupefied reader ;
Find me in this Puzzler? ;
I doubt that I have to explain this part!!

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We’ve got no money, so we’ve got to think.“Rutherford

 

 


 

A Classic!

Hey guys,

For the first “Crazy Puzzle”, I would  like to present a “classic“. For those who already have been through it, it is called the “Nine-Dot Puzzle”(if it really matters). Anyway, this one is for you who are seeing this puzzle for the first time.

Just a bit of advice, though, do not try to “google” the solution after several minutes,”just hang on”. Believe me, finding this solution on your own is a big “AHA” and will be well worth the time you took!

So, ready for a “braingasm”( One last advice: “Do NOT limit yourself to the box!)

Here it is:

The Nine Dots

Now the question: Using a pencil(or anything else), try to cover all the dots with 4 straight lines. The catch- you are not allowed to lift your pencil from the paper while making the lines.

I will give the answer in the next post and write some more interesting puzzles!

Till then:

“Logic can carry you from A to Z through 25 alphabets but imagination makes you fly all over them”- By Vasish(Plagiarized from Einstein!)

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Okay, now for the solution. I really hope that there have been atleast one person out there who tried to find it.  The answer is quite easy. Remember the hint that I gave above (“do not limit yourself to the box). There was no figurative meaning hidden there. Really, write outside the box, that’s the solution. Here it is:

That’s it then!

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p.s. check my “Ancient Puzzle”(I just Invented it!)