Are You One of the 2% Who Can Solve “Einstein’s Riddle”?

It’s some­times called “Ein­stein’s Rid­dle” because, accord­ing to leg­end, Ein­stein invent­ed it as a child. Oth­ers say that the puz­zle was actu­al­ly designed by Lewis Car­roll, best known as the author of Alice’s Adven­tures in Won­der­land. (Car­roll was also a logi­cian.) Where did this brain teas­er orig­i­nate? We’re not real­ly sure. Per­haps it was a 1962 issue of Life Inter­na­tion­al mag­a­zine.

In any event, “Ein­stein’s Rid­dle” is a good test of your men­tal agili­ty. They say that only 2% of the pop­u­la­tion can solve the prob­lem. The TED-Ed video above will walk you through one ver­sion of the rid­dle. If you don’t want any assis­tance, you can find oth­er ver­sions online.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Albert Ein­stein Impos­es on His First Wife a Cru­el List of Mar­i­tal Demands

Lis­ten as Albert Ein­stein Reads ‘The Com­mon Lan­guage of Sci­ence’ (1941)

Albert Ein­stein Express­es His Admi­ra­tion for Mahat­ma Gand­hi, in Let­ter and Audio

Hap­pi­ness is Los­ing Your­self in Cre­ativ­i­ty (or “Find­ing Flow”)

Free Online Physics Cours­es

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Comments (5)
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  • Carney says:

    Thanks for shar­ing Open Cul­ture!

    Okay Ted ;-) so I just solved this in 20 min­uets and I am no genius. There is no way only 2% of the pop­u­la­tion could solve this because there are only 5 hous­es and that means that auto­mat­i­cal­ly 20% of the pop­u­la­tion will be able to guess the answer.

    I loved that this video tricked me into solv­ing the prob­lem by claim­ing that Ein­stein had invent­ed the rid­dle, good video and I“ll share it so that I can too trick some­one into using their brain.

    The real answer here is that you can show the pop­u­la­tion that they too can use log­ic, and how do you do that? By mak­ing the argu­ment “who could resist tack­ling a brain teas­er by one of the smartest peo­ple in his­to­ry?”


  • FrostBurn says:

    Guess­ing is not the same as solv­ing (you won’t know if you’re cor­rect), and also, it would­n’t be 20% that guess it cor­rect­ly because there are two ques­tions 20% each, but some­one can guess the first right and the sec­ond wrong, 20/100 x 20/100 = 400/10000 which is 4%, so not quite 20% :P

  • Soumik says:

    I solved this ques­tion in 10 mins…woohoo

  • God says:

    I solved it in 12 min­utes.

  • Jesus says:

    I solved it in 10 min­utes. In my head.

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