The Bridge Riddle By Alex Gendler - TED-ed

Author: Anonymous
7 years ago

Riddle: Taking that internship in a remote mountain lab might not have been the best idea. Pulling that lever with the skull symbol just to see what it did probably wasn't so smart either. But now is not the time for regrets because you need to get away from these mutant Can you use math to get you and your friends over the bridge before the zombies arrive? Alex Gendler shows how.
Answer: At first it might seem like no matter what you do, you're just a minute or two short of time, but there is a way.  The key is to minimize the time wasted by the two slowest people by having them cross together.  And because you'll need to make a couple of return trips with the lantern, you'll want to have the fastest people available to do so.  So, you and the lab assistant quickly run across with the lantern, though you have to slow down a bit to match her pace.  After two minutes, both of you are across, and you, as the quickest, run back with the lantern.  Only three minutes have passed.  So far, so good.  Now comes the hard part.  The professor and the janitor take the lantern and cross together.  This takes them ten minutes since the janitor has to slow down for the old professor who keeps muttering that he probably shouldn't have given the zombies night vision.  By the time they're across, there are only four minutes left, and you're still stuck on the wrong side of the bridge.  But remember, the lab assistant has been waiting on the other side, and she's the second fastest of the group.  So she grabs the lantern from the professor and runs back across to you.  Now with only two minutes left, the two of you make the final crossing.  As you step on the far side of the gorge, you cut the ropes and collapse the bridge behind you, just in the nick of time.