The King’s Elephant Problem
Once upon a time the King of Siam asked his warriors to
measure the weight of an elephant. However the weight of the
elephant was too heavy to be measured by the biggest
weighing machine available. Your task is to help the warriors
to solve the problem.
1. Put the elephant onto a boat.
2. Measure the displacement by looking at the water-line,
and record this mark.
3. Remove the elephant.
4. Add known weights to the boat (i.e 1kg weights) until the
water level reaches that of the elephant.
5. Then, count and calculate the weight.
Abu Nawas’ Problem
In one of the stories in ‘One Thousand and One Night’, Abu
Nawas would only allow any traveller to fetch water from the
only well in the desert after solving the following problem:
The traveller were given a 3-litre container and a 5-litre
container. They have to measure exactly four and seven litres
of water using the containers above. Your are required to help
the travellers to solve the problem.
1. Fill the 5-litre container and pour water from it into the 3-
litre container until it is full.
2. This leaves 2 litres in the 5-litre container.
3. Empty the 3-litre container and pour the 2 litres of water
from the 5-litre container into the 3-litre container.
4. Fill the 5-litre container again.
5. Fill the 3-litre container from the 5-litre container.
6. Since the 3-litre bottle had 2 litres of water, only one litre is
transferred leaving exactly 4 litres of water in the 5-liter
7. The fill the 3-litre container, so the sum of the water in the
both container will be exactly 7 litres.