The Power of the Pigeonhole
- Martin Gardner
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Can you prove that a large number of people in the U.S. have exactly the same number of hairs on their head? And what does this question have in common with the following problem? In a bureau drawer there are 60 socks, all identical except for their color: 10 pairs are red, 10 are blue, and 10 are green. The socks are all mixed up in the drawer, and the room the bureau is in is totally dark. What is the smallest number of socks you must remove to be sure you have one matching pair?
Supplementary Material (0)
- The Pigeonhole Principle: “Three into Two Won’t Go.” Richard Walker in The Mathematical Gazette. Vol. 61, No. 415, pages 25–31; March 1977. CrossRef
- Existence out of Chaos. Sherman K. Stein in Mathematical Plums: The Dolciani Mathematical Expositions. No. 4, edited by Ross Honsberger. The Mathematical Association of America, 1979.
- The Pigeonhole Principle. Kenneth R. Rebman in The Two-Year-College Mathematics Journal ,mock issue, pages 4–12; January 1979.
- Pigeons in Every Pigeonhole. Alexander Soifer and Edward Lozansky in Quantum ,pages 25–26, 32; January 1990.
- No Vacancy. Dominic Olivastro in The Sciences ,pages 53–55; September/ October 1990.
- Applications of the Pigeon-hole Principle. Kiril Bankov in The Mathemati cal Gazette ,Vol. 79, pages 286–292; May 1995. CrossRef
About this Chapter
- The Power of the Pigeonhole
- Book Title
- The Last Recreations
- Book Subtitle
- Hydras, Eggs, and Other Mathematical Mystifications
- pp 177-190
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