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Einstein's 98% Riddle

  1. May 25, 2017 #1
    The original thread was closed << Mentor's Note -- the previous thread was closed because of age, not a rules issue >>, but I am really interested in hearing your opinions on a couple of theories I had.
    I am baffled at the idea that someone, with the ability to understand the math language to it's utmost capacity, could so royally be mistaken on the population numbers who could solve the riddle.
    It is said he claimed only 2% of the world would figure out the riddle. Some claim he didn't write the riddle. Some claim he was too young to understand the population percentage. Some claim it cannot be answered because of the way the question does not prove the information of fish. Some claim that the riddle was more of a guesstimate on the population portion.
    The original thread was posted at https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/albert-einsteins-riddle.149083

    I have two theories, but first I would like to add that even at a young age, it seems highly unlikely that a mathematician would fail so badly at an estimate. It is very likely that he didn't write it; however, I am going to err on the side that he did write it and follow the so-called rabbit hole.

    Important Note: I believe the answer is in the question. If you read the question carefully, even though it is simple, the question is not "what nationality" but "who." I believe this should be more identifying than the information provided in the riddle itself.

    First: Could he have been alluding to politics? Swedish, Norwegian, German, British, and Danish? Perhaps the houses and choices of drinks, cigars, and animals are merely a commentary on their culture.

    Second: Could he be alluding to himself? Is he the specific German that owns the fish? Is this a metaphorical fish or is it a literal fish? Did he actually have neighbors with these colors of houses?

    Perhaps it wasn't that the riddle was too difficult to get, but the information would only be available to specific people who knew these inside references.

    Please let me know your thoughts :)

    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2017 #2
    Well I think this riddle is more of a brainteaser than a view of European cultures or metaphorical fish. If the nationalities, cigars, et cetera, are replaced with letters , or symbols, let's say, then the riddle functions equally well. I think that this riddle is not really meant to be read into excesssively , or used as a metaphor. However, each to his own.
  4. Jun 29, 2017 #3


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    Science Advisor

    According to Wikipedia
    this riddle has only been attributed to Einstein, among other persons, but most probably isn't by him.
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