Can You Solve The Poison Wine Challenge? | Infinite Series | PBS Digital

You’re about to throw a party with a thousand bottles of wine, but you just discovered that one bottle is poisoned! Can you determine exactly which one it is?

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The answer to this puzzle comes from an unexpected place.

Comments answered by Kelsey:

Mike Guitar

David de Kloet

Written and Hosted by Kelsey Houston-Edwards

Produced by Rusty Ward

Graphics by Ray Lux

Made by Kornhaber Brown (

For the 1000 bottle question, you want to conserve as much wine as possible, so don’t test one of the bottles, don’t use 9 or 10 rats on any bottle, and use 8 rats on only 32 bottles. This saves the most wine possible.

Easiest riddle ever!

10 Rats and 1000 Bottles, 2^10=1024 Coincidence? Probably not

For 100 bottles you’d need 7 rats and for 1,000,000 you’d need 20 rats.

Yea… there’s always another solution. If you have 1000 bottles just dump all of them out mixing them together to create a delicious red wine blend and in the process you dilute the poison enough to where it’s harmless.

nah fr?

But, labeling all bottle in binary already take 1 hour!

I’m from Poland. In our country 1000 bottles is not enough so someone buys 24 more. Now you can start playing. With 1024 bottles you can safely drink as well. 1024 divided into 2 sets of equivocal. 2 rats are checking these bottles which one is always killed. Set witch the poisoned bottle again divide for 2 sets and repeat that there will be 1 poisoned bottle

“Hmpf. These bottles have all been opened. Can we get some fresh ones?”

I feel like this channel, like Numberphile, has no idea what its target audience is. One week, it’s Shor’s Algorithm, covering (very confusing) probabilistic computing, and the next it’s binary numbers.

I still enjoy the content, at least what I can understand.

I tried this at my own party and all the rats died. But I don’t have a bottle number 1023.

Help?

log base 2 of number of bottles = number rats needed to test. Basic binary.

1 rat u just let it drink till it dies

Well I thought I was doing pretty decent by getting it down to no more than 28 bottles. Rat 1 gets a drop from 1 to 166; 2 gets 167 to 333; 3 gets 334-499; 4 gets 500 to 665; and 5 gets 666 to 831 (no rat gets 832 to 1000). Then rat 6 gets a drop from 1, 7, 13,…; rat 7 gets 2, 8, 14…; rat 8 gets 3, 9, 15…; rat 9 gets 4, 10, 16… rat 10 gets 5, 11, 17 (no rat gets 6, 12, 18…).

Based on which one or two rats die (up to one from each group), you can break it down to 28 poisoned bottles.

I think I completely forgot she said anything about binary numbers when i paused it to go get a piece of paper to scribble on.

Regardless, by the time you fed all these rats their wine, all your guests would have arrived…

You could do it the traditional way and continue narrowing it down using the remaining 9 rats as it would take longer than an hour for people to drink 900 bottles of wine. =)

Using binary is more elegant though.

tried it out, all the rats died of alcohol poisoning, party was ruined

Or you could just have a sober party.

you seem to have a circle tattoo on your right shoulder. nice

for 100, rat=7, as 2^7=128. for 1,000,000 , use 20 rats because 2^20 = 1,048,576.

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