math jokes 4 mathy folks
live. laugh. learn.
You have two identical glass balls. When dropped from the window of a certain floor (or above) in a 100‑story building, each ball will break when it hits the ground. If dropped from a lower height, however, it will not break.
What is the optimal strategy for determining the lowest floor from which these balls will break?
In How to Solve It, mathematician George Polya outlined several heuristics for solving problems. One of them is called "Variation of the Problem," in which the solver should try to solve a variation of the problem, which will hopefully shed light on the solution of the original problem.
If the problem on this page is too tough, consider a simpler version:
What is the strategy if you have two balls that will break from a certain height (or above) in a 10‑story building?
Does solving that simpler problem give you any insight as to how to solve the original problem?