Puzzles/Puzzles in science

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Puzzles | Puzzles in science

Science is about puzzles and often riddle like situations have given rise to entirely new fields in science, e.g. probability theory (c.f. Statistical puzzles). This page is to highlight the tight relationship of puzzles and science.

One first observation is that a lot of puzzles are listed in Wikipedia and are closely related to scientists and scientific problems (Spoiler warning: the solution is usually given on the page being referred, so look up the riddle on on of the Puzzle book pages first). We here define "puzzle" rather broadly including also paradoxes and puzzling thoughts.

Probability theory[edit | edit source]

Paradoxes[edit | edit source]

Paradoxes have been essential in making of the foundations of mathematics. All of these have striking semblence to the situation where a person says: "I'm lying". Does the person lie? This puzzle has its roots in the Liar Paradox but reappears in set theory (Russel's paradox), logic (Gödel's theorem) and informatics (Turing's halting problem).

Informatics[edit | edit source]

Physics[edit | edit source]

The Eleatics had some philosophical ideas about motion that they even put into puzzles. All these puzzles are meant to show the impossibility of motion and they can be considered to be an exercise of scientific model building. Many people in the world do believe that motion in fact exists, on the other hand modern quantum theory postulates a discrete space that would in fact bolster the ideas of the Eleatics. In fact their puzzles boil down to philosophical debates. Explore:

Geometry[edit | edit source]

Using only pencil, straight-edge and compass alone, is the quadrature of the circle a possibility? Can any angle be trisected? These questions led to Galois theory which finally gave the answer to the problems.