O'Reilly logo

Impossible? by Julian Havil

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 8

image

GAMOW–STERN ELEVATORS

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple,neat, and wrong.

H. L. Mencken

Gamow and Stern at Work

If we work on the middle floor of a building with one elevator and assume that floor usage is uniform, symmetry dictates that, if the elevator is not stationary on our floor, it will arrive at our floor with a probability image of going up or down. Similar reasoning was used by George Gamow and Marvin Stern when, in 1956, they worked in a building of seven floors, with lowest floor numbered 1 and the highest ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required