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Can You Solve This Clever Counterfeit Coin Conundrum?

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJun 4 2021, 17:44 UTC
gold coins on a scale. Image Credit: focal point/shutterstock.com

gold coins on a scale. Image Credit: focal point/shutterstock.com

When it comes to probability puzzles, a classic of the genre is a single counterfeit coin within a bunch of real ones. Educator Jennifer Lu for TED-Ed has crafted a particularly brainy one. You are the greatest mathematician in an Empire and you’ve been imprisoned for criticizing the despotic ruler’s tax laws.

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Your chance at freedom comes when one of the 12 governors is accused of paying taxes with a counterfeit coin. Your job is to find which one is the fake one, which might be lighter or heavier than the others.

Unfortunately, the Emperor is not a patient person and quite a cheap one. So you only got a scale, a marker, and three attempts at weighing the coins to work out which one is the fake one. Can you do it?

We don’t want to give you any spoilers but just a little hint. The marker is more important than you might think at first!

Good luck!

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