We’ve all come to this world with certain common sense. However, not everyone possesses exceptional intelligence and a deep understanding of science. Are you one of the few extremely intelligent individuals on earth? Let’s find out with these 5 science riddles designed to test your intelligence but also give your brain a workout.
5. The Ice Diamond Riddle
For your first science riddle, you’ve got a glass of water and an ice cube. Now, the ice cube contains a diamond inside, but you don’t know that because it’s looking clear and shiny. Then you drop the ice cube in the glass of water and wait for it to melt.
Here comes the interesting part….
When the ice cube melts, and the diamond falls to the bottom of the glass, does the water level go up? Or down? Or does it stay the same? What’s your first instinct telling you about this? Let me know in the comments section down below. Give yourself some time to think about what the answer might be.
The answer to this science riddle is – the water level goes DOWN. That was a tricky one, so if you got it wrong, pay close attention to the solution. Let’s start answering this by using Archimedes’ principle, and using water as our fluid of choice. Any floating object displaces its own weight of fluid – in this case, water. So, the weight of the ice cube on its own is equal to the weight of the water displaced by the object. Imagine it’s the weight of water fitting into this shaded area here.
So, when the ice cube melts, it melts to fill the shaded area. I know it sounds strange because the cube is larger in volume than its same weight of water, but it’s because ice is strange in that it’s more dense when it melts. Water expands when it freezes, so a gram of ice has a larger volume than a gram of water. Now, that proves to us that if you put an ice cube in the water by itself, when it melts, the water level will stay the same, and not level up as you first thought of.
So, what about the diamond? When the diamond is frozen into the cube, it displaces its own weight in water, in line with Archimedes’ principle. However, when the ice cube melts, it falls to the bottom since it’s more dense than water. But in the water by itself, it’s only displacing its volume worth of water, and not its actual weight.
Its actual weight inside the ice cube displaces more water than the weight of its volume worth of water when it’s at the bottom of the glass. That means the water level goes down when it melts.
4. Which Switch Controls the Bulb?
Imagine yourself in a basement. You’re looking at 3 light switches in the “off” position.
Each one controls 1 of 3 filament light bulbs on the floor above. You’re allowed to turn on any of the switches. But you can ONLY go upstairs one time. How can you tell which switch controls which light bulb?
Pause here and figure out the answer yourself and share it with me in the comments section down below.
The solution is you flip any of the switches “on” for 5 minutes. Afterward, turn off that switch and quickly flip another switch “on” and go upstairs.
Touch the two lights that are off. One will remain hot because it was “on” for 5 minutes. Notice, I said ‘ filament’ light bulbs. Additional energy is released as heat when lit up, so you can use that to your advantage.
So, obviously, the hot bulb is controlled by the first switch you turned on. Easy, right? The light that’s currently “on” is under the control of the switch you last flipped “on”. And the cold bulb that’s off is controlled by the switch you left untouched.
3. The Virus Riddle
Imagine yourself with a research group discovering a prehistoric virus and isolating it for further research and examination. After working all night long, you’re closing the lab, when suddenly, an earthquake hits and knocks out the power.
The emergency generator kicks into action and the alarm confirms an emergency. All your fears are about to come true. The deadly airborne virus you have found is contained for now, but it’s about to get released into the world through vents that will soon open unless you can destroy it.
Imagine the lab as a 4×4 grid, with 16 rooms. Now, imagine that the entrance room is at the northwest corner and the exit room sits at the southeast corner. The virus is released in each room, except in the entrance room.
To destroy the virus, you have to enter each room and pull a self-destructive switch that will destroy the virus along with the room itself.
But there’s a catch. You can’t re-enter a contaminated room after exiting it since to exit it, you’ve activated the self-destruct switch putting the room in a lockdown mode.
Here’s the challenge: You have to enter the entrance room, exit through the exit room, and destroy the ancient virus you’ve found.
How would you do it? Let me know in the comment section down below. Here’s a brief summary of the rules explained.
You’ve got a few seconds to think of a solution yourself.
Now for the explanation: The truth is, You can’t get to the exit and enter every room without backtracking at all. You may have started graphing your route in every possible way, and this is the correct way to solve it. But without thinking outside the box, it’s impossible, since it’s related to the Hamiltonian path problem. Basically, no Hamiltonian path – a path that visits every single point, exists for this problem.
But if you looked at the rules carefully, you would have noticed an important exception that will enable you to solve this puzzle. There is a room you can enter two times. And that’s the entrance since it doesn’t have a self-destruction switch. It’s not locked down like the rest of the rooms. So, you can leave and come back, and enter the other door. This is how you visit all of the rooms and get to the exit.
Is this the solution you’ve came up with too? There are 8 different options for a successful route, 4 for each of the 2 different starting rooms.
So if you figured it out, you did a great job.
2. The Bowl Riddle
Let’s warm up with a simple bowl science riddle before a harder one. Take two coins identical in weight and two buckets filled with the same amount of water. The water in the first bucket of water is 25 degrees Celsius. And in the other one, the water is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine tossing each coin in each bucket at the same time.
When dropped, which coin will hit the bottom first? Pause now if you want to figure out the answer for yourself.
The answer is the coin in the 25 degree Celsius bucket will hit the bottom first, because the other bucket of water is frozen! 25 degrees Fahrenheit is below freezing, which for water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so that bucket is filled with ice. Now let’s continue with something more complex than this. Brace yourself.
So, imagine holding a bowl of water. You put a ball with a sensor inside in the middle of the water in the bowl. At the bottom of the bowl, there’s a sensor too.
Your challenge is, you need to get the sensor at the bottom of the ball and the one at the bottom of the bowl to touch. The ball floats and for some unimportant reason, you cannot remove the water from the bowl. You also cannot touch the ball – with your hands or with any other object.
Easy task, you think?
How will you push the ball to the bottom without touching it or removing the water from the bowl? Confused already? You’ve got a few seconds to think about the solution.
Here’s how it’s done: Take an empty glass and put it on top of the ball without touching it with the glass. The air inside the glass will push down the ball to the very bottom.
So, when you push the glass down, the water level beneath it goes down because the air trapped in the glass cannot escape. So the ball floats on the water at the bottom of the glass, until it reaches the bottom of the bowl. Pretty amazing, right?
1. The Boat Riddle
Imagine you’re in a boat. The boat is floating in a lake with a rock in it. You toss the rock off the boat, into the lake.
What will happen to the water level? Will it go down? Or up? Or stay the same? Armed with previous knowledge, you should be able to solve this one. Take your time to solve this riddle.
Here’s the answer: the water level will fall. You again turn to Archimedes’ principle which states that the buoyant force on an object submerged in the water is equal to the weight of the volume of water that object displaces. This is one way to solve this science riddle. Another way is to consider an extreme case. Imagine an extreme case where a rock is very heavy but also very small, like a black hole rock. Imagine putting that rock in a boat.
The boat will sink very low in the water to compensate. Meaning, it pushes the water level up. If you take the rock off the boat, the boat will displace much less water, and the water level will go back down.
So if you drop the rock into the water, because of its small size, the water level won’t rise but go down.
Easy as that. While in the boat, the rock was displacing its own weight. However, in the water, it was displacing its own volume. If the rock is denser than water, the amount of water it displaces when it floats is higher than the amount of water in place of its volume when it sinks. So it displaces less water when it’s actually in the water. And the level goes down.
So, how many of these science riddles did you answer successfully? Let me know in the comments section down below.
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