Physics 3333 / CFB 3333 Homework 3

Critical (deductive) thinking is one of the goals of this course; creative (inductive) thinking is the other. Test your creative thinking ability with the following puzzles, all of which involve "thinking outside the box" and not making unnecessary assumptions. Invent a hypothesis that fits the given information and is not too strained.

Inductive reasoning in the sciences is very much like solving puzzles and looking for patterns based on limited information.

Example: Four men, three alive and one dead, are in a room surrounded by fifty-three bicycles. What happened?

Click here for the answer.

Example: A black cat sits on the hood of a black car under a broken street light during a new moon, but the cat is perfectly visible. Why?

Click here for the answer.

  1. A person was born in 1875 and died in 1895 at the age of 27. How can this be?
  2. My friend Bob went back to his hometown for Thanksgiving last year and while he was at his parents house sleeping on the couch, an old high school friend stopped by to visit.

    "Hey Bob, good to see you. Boy I bet it's been almost twenty years."

    "You look great," Bob said. "Tell me what have you been doing? I hear you've been running your father's gas station?"

    "Yeah, but more important than that, I'm married. In fact, I married someone who was a year behind us in high school and I'm pretty sure you didn't know. By the way, this is my daughter," the friend said.

    Bob looked down at the little girl who was five or six years old and extended his hand and asked the little girl her name.

    "My mother and I have the same name," she said.

    "Oh that's nice," said Bob. "Then I guess your name must be Annie."

    How did he know?

  3. An ordinary American citizen, with no passport, walks to and sets foot in over thirty foreign countries in one day. He is welcomed in each country, and leaves each one of his own accord. Who is he?
  4. A woman walks one mile due south, then one mile due east, then one mile due north. After this three mile trip, she is back where she started. How can this be?
  5. What comes next in this sequence and why?
  6. This is a substitution cipher in which one letter stands for another throughout. For example, all the X's might stand for Z's. Your task is to decipher the following:
    Djk rypxd rdzokgd sjc mpg xkpo djbr mvkekx mcoko ykrrpik sbvv txclplvw scgokx sjw djk vprd scxo br ybrtkvvko.
    (Hint: etaoin shrdlu)
  7. What is the secret message in this block of text? (Hint: two eyes are better than one.)
  1. A woman returns home from work, turns on the lights in her apartment, looks at her dead husband, sets the dining table for two, sits down to read the mail, and waits for her husband to come home from work. What is going on?

  2. What do these symbols mean?

  3. A woman and her husband hosted a party for four other couples. The hostess asked everyone to shake hands and introduce themselves to each other. Of course, no one shook hands with his or her own spouse. At some point, the hostess stopped them and asked each person how many hands he or she had shaken. Each person gave a different response. What was the response of her husband? Explain.
  4. See if you can figure out the code using only these data.

    752750175 = ||...|.|.|...|.||...|.|.|.||......|||...|.|.|....|||

    168026300 = |...||.||..|..|.||.....|.|.||....||.||...||....|..||

    856217314 = ||..|..|.|..||....|.|...|||...|..||....||.|..|..||.|

    What is the pattern? What are the rules? Explain how you learned this.

    What is the code for each digit, especially 9 which does not appear in the data set?

  5. Imagine that you are a scientist on the distant planet Fr$#7Hy and you received this message from outer space. What does each part mean?
  6. Solve this Sudoku puzzle and print the solution.
  7. Solve this puzzle and print the solution.
  8. Play this game. What is the purpose? What happens on the last level? If you like this kind of game, here are more.
  9. OK, here's a really tough one. The middle section has not yet been cracked by anyone.

Hand in the assignment on paper, send it to, or turn in a disk or CD.