Who: Mathematician and engineer Eric Farmer
The idea: Eric Farmer calculated that it would take 400 to 500 packs to find two packs of Skittles with the same number of jelly beans of each flavor.
How: It was decided to sturdy in the following way:
- Take a pack from the box, open it, and empty and sort the contents onto a blank sheet of paper.
- Take a photo of the contents of the pack.
- Record, with pen and paper, the number of Skittles of each color in the pack (more on this later).
- Empty the Skittles into a bowl.
- Repeat steps 1-4; after six packs, save and review the photos, recording the color counts to file, verifying against the paper record from step 3, and checking for duplication of a previously recorded pack.
The mathematician had no doubts that he was right, so he immediately decided to test his calculations. For 82 days he bought Skittles by the box and each day he studied six packs (in total he bought 468 packs). He poured each packet of candy onto a white piece of paper, took pictures of the candy and wrote down the data. He posted all the pictures of the sweets on GitHub.
Eventually, after taking apart 27,740 candies, Farmer reached his desired goal in early April. The packs numbered 334 and 464 were identical – they appeared to contain an equal amount of jelly beans of each flavor.
He also found that the yellow and purple candies were the most common in Skittles.
Materials and technologies: Skittles packs
Similar projects: none