Saturday, January 15, 2005

Lenny conundrum

This so-called "Lenny conundrum #100" is one of the most troubling puzzles that Strominger needs to solve. Please be aware that your most straightforward completion of the first names and the last names in the previous sentence may be incorrect. ;-) The problem is the following:



What is the missing value in the following sequence?

  • 2616, 3, 11, 10850, ________, 25, 2038

Is anyone able to solve it? I suspect that the task is not purely mathematical, and the solution may be 42, 15, or anything else. ;-) If you want to fit a 6th order polynomial, you will get something like 14157, but I want other answers.

Update:

I have solved it! :-) You should try to solve it, too. I am probably the first person in the world besides the inventor and his close neighborhood who has figured it out, and it feels almost like discovering the Standard Model! As of today, you will not find this problem solved anywhere on the internet, even though all necessary pieces of data are on the internet. Let me give you some hints that should be enough for you to solve it, too:

  • All the "answers" to this question available on the internet as of today - namely all numbers below one billion - are incorrect
  • You need to know how to find the squares of the numbers smaller than ten
  • You need to be able to use an internet search engine and figure out roughly who invented this problem and what kind of work he's doing - and investigate into his or her life a little bit, especially into the role of the numbers "x^2" for small "x" or e.g. 2038 etc. in his or her life
  • I assure you that you won't need to know anything about his girlfriends or boyfriends; you should not make any assumption about the death of that person in 2038 because such things are not known yet
  • The "new physics" that you're looking for does not have to be as simple as the "old physics" that you already see; also, the ideas about discreteness of spacetime will be useless for you
  • You will need the same number of keystrokes to type the "missing value" as the n-th element of the sequence where n is the second element of the sequence :-) - well, let me admit that the number of keystrokes also equals the critical spacetime dimension of M-theory
  • If you find an explanation of the sequence that fits the available data, but your predictions of new physics will look more like an incantation rather than a meaningful answer, don't get discouraged and boldly insist on your prediction! :-)




By looking at these hints, the creator of the puzzle will know very well that I've solved it. :-) I am also sure that the solution is right. It's much like M-theory: when you see it and understand it, you know that it must be the correct and the unique solution - simply because too many things work - even though some people who did not get it may complain that the solution to this puzzle (or M-theory) has too many keystrokes (too many particle species), a wrong kind of keystrokes (extended fundamental objects), and they may even claim that the solution looks like a "hocus pocus" which they don't like. But you simply know that it has to be correct once you master the logic behind it. :-)

I ask everyone who finds the answer, following the hints above, to remain silent and avoid publication of the answer on my blog or other public forums.

28 comments:

  1. What makes this an interesting problem?

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  2. Lubos,

    is this about Lenny Conundrum from neopets.com ?

    You are the greatest,
    Wolfgang Beirl

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  3. The problem with fill-in-the-blank problems of these kind is there isn't likely to be a unique solution, if you know what I mean. These kinds of problem involve reading the mind of the problem creator as much as anything else.

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  4. Dear Anonymous, the solution is as unique as M-theory - once you know the solution and its explanation, you will know for sure that there can't be any other solution. Try harder and use my hints in the upgraded article. ;-)

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  5. Lubos,

    but the experimental evidence might still be against
    your unique solution:
    An 11-digit number to collect avatars on a webpage for kids ?
    As unique as M-theory ???
    So it might as well be a random number 8-)

    There is some evidence on the Net that neopets.com accepted
    indeed any number for this one ...
    http://www.blogontheweb.com/watericesage/archive/2005/01/06/35979.aspx#36463

    Best,
    Wolfgang

    PS: How did you find the author of this sequence ?

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  6. Dear Wolfgang,

    there are some things in between us (or at least you) and the Heaven! :-)

    On Thursday or so, when the LHC is started, more precisely when the solution to the puzzle will be publicized, :-) you will return to this web page and see how much wrong you were and how exactly correct I was - and how easy it would be for you to get the whole truth just if you were a little bit less stubborn! :-)

    Not only that M-theory is unique, but also this particular puzzle has such a unique answer that your sentence "So it might as well be a random number 8-)" is not just wrong, it is DOUBLY WRONG. ;-)

    It means that even if you remove the most incorrect word, it will be still wrong! :-) Although the solution may look like a kind of "hocus pocus" to you, you will see how incredibly unique it is! :-)

    Otherwise it seems that you know more than enough to determine all the necessary information about the creator of this puzzle. :-)

    Best
    Lubos

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  7. Lubos,

    I hope it is the coming thursday and not in 2008,
    since I can hardly wait for the heavenly revelation ...

    you ARE the greatest,
    Wolfgang

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. I erased a comment that included link to much more obvious hints - kind of a solution.

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  10. Lubos,

    my daughter Diana hopes to collect a lot of neopoints
    with this and she is now a fan of your weblog.
    She is 11Yr old and by the time she will go to college (?)
    the LHC experiments will be history ...

    Best,
    Wolfgang

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  11. Hi Wolfgang,

    greetings to Diana! Incidentally, her age is very relevant for M-theory (and for the "missing value"). :-)

    Because of the much more explicit hints that you linked before, I'm afraid that there will be too many people who will share the neodollars. I've created an account over there, too (although today in the morning I had no idea what neopets meant). It's a cool kids' web. Several years ago, they created http://www.majaky.cz/ which I also found cute.

    OK, at least we will be able to buy some neohamburgers and McDonald Happy Meal for our neopets! :-)

    I hope that before she's in college, we will have exciting answers from LHC.

    All the best
    Lubos

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  12. Lubos,

    OT: Perhaps she (and I ?) should join the LMFO, since
    we like to hear great songs interpreted by great singers 8-)

    Wolfgang

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  13. Wolfgang said about Lumo: You are the greatest.....

    No doubt. Though I did hear a rumor that Smolin solved the problem in 5 minutes and that Rovelli solved it at sight while playing two simultaneous games of blindfold chess!

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  14. Good jokes, CIP! :-)

    Incidentally, Lee Smolin is now preparing an answer that will attempt to debunk my criticism of the recent paper. I will post it as a main article on my blog.

    All the best
    Lubos

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  15. No need for any one to waste more time on this problem further. I have solved the puzzle. Took me less than 5 seconds. The solution is indeed as claimed by Lubos. But per his request I will not post it here or any where.

    Quantoken

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  16. Another hint for those who look for the solution: all the people who say that one needs 5 seconds to solve it are liars. You can't solve this puzzle in 5 seconds - for example, you will have to open more than 6 web pages to check that your solution is correct.

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  17. You don't need six pages, the right two pages suffice, because what is on six - many more than six - pages is also available in condensed form on two. Of course, I would not have recognized the two pages out of the billion on the web, but for Lubos' hints.

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  18. Lubos, you made it too easy! This took all the fun out of solving it. Really, the 3^2, 4^2, ... was going a bit too far, if you ask me.

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  19. Searching "Lenny conundrum" on google, one of the
    first few links points to a solution.

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  20. the answer is 11.

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  21. Whee, finally. It was the combination of your hints and this other webpage that I found that gave me the answer... Mostly because i didn't understand Dutch.

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  22. what a pile of crap! The answer is not math, it is a word which is on neopets.

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  23. Actually, you only need ONE website, to figure this out! You don't need to do any research (except on the one site) And all the answers are there, right in front of you. You're trying to make it sound way more complicated than it is. This is after all a question posted on a site for kids. I know because I play the game with my kids. :) I didn't use your hints and I think I've probably got the right answer!

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  24. I did get it right LOL And I didn't need to know the inventor, or any of that nonsense... All of the answers WERE in ONE site, just like I said.. the neopets site! Those numbers were nothing more than the answers to past conundrums... if you followed the pattern, it led you right to the answer, just like 'magic'!

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  25. The author of this topic is ridiculous! He puts himself on a pedestal ("I'm probably the only person in the world") for solving this problem that over 1000 people found within 1 hour. For a more interesting challenge, go see Lenny Conundrum #102, and no one to this point has solved it yet.

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  26. 1000 users of neopets.com may have solved it in 100 hours, but I don't believe that too many people who did not know that neopets.com existed found it in less than 2 hours. If you know another counterexample, let me know. ;-)

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  27. I have solved Lenny Conundrum #102 (i think)
    Something to do with pixels and (x,y) co-oridnates

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