Showing posts with label Lewis Carroll. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lewis Carroll. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lewis Carroll's Fifth Pillow Problem

   Lewis Carroll is the pen name of Charles Dodgson (1832-1898). Dodgson was a mathematician, logician, and church deacon. He is most remembered as the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
   He also wrote a book of problems called Pillow Problems. This project looks at one of those problems, a particularly tricky probability problem. Here it is.
The Fifth Pillow Problem
   A bag contains one counter, known to be either white or black. A white counter is put in, the bag shaken, and a counter drawn out, which proves to be white. What is now the chance of drawing a white counter?
   Most problem solvers quickly decide that the probability of drawing the white counter is one-half. This is wrong.
   You could of course Google Lewis Carroll’s Fifth Pillow Problem to find a derivation of the theoretical probability. Instead, examine the data from several runs of this project and form your conjecture as to the chances for drawing a white counter and then look at the theoretical solution.

   The project can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on this link.