If you follow my daily Quickies, you know that yesterday, instead of a simple question, I posted a puzzle.
Apart from a cheater (Googling the series does not mean that you found the answer, Trina! Mouahahahahahaha), nobody was able to give the correct following numbers. If you tried, don’t feel bad… Most people take a lot of time (and a couple of tips) before figuring it out.
Here is the beginning of the series, for those of you who didn’t read my previous post:
1, 11, 21, 1211…
I’ll always remember when I was presented that riddle.
I was in my early 20s, and Little Bro was finishing his University studies, to become an engineer. He was much smarter than me (still is to this day, LOL), and him and his friends had had the hardest time cracking the mystery of the series.
I think that he just wanted to get a good giggle out of watching me pulling my hair out, trying to figure what the answer was.
Unfortunately for him, even if my brain isn’t as awesome as his, it apparently saw things in a different way, because after just a couple of minutes, I asked him;
Would the next set of numbers be 111221?
Little Bro’s jaw fell, and I could feel how annoyed he was.
Conway’s Sequence (this very puzzle) is also called the ”look and say” sequence. Here’s how it works.
We start with 1.
You just have to describe what you see: One 1 (11)
Then describe what you see again: Two 1s (21)
Once more… One 2 and one 1 (1211)
Once you know the trick, you can easily complete the series: 111221, 312211, 13112221, 1113213211, 31131211131221… And so on.
I just wanted to share the solution, because when you know the trick, it is so easy to have fun watching friends or family calculating and playing with numbers to try to figure it out. Because when a puzzle involves digits, the usual reaction of the brain is to think that mathematics are the clue.
But with Conway’s Sequence, what you see is was you get, literally!
I hope you’ll have fun with it too!
P.S. I don’t have kids, but I bet a really fun thing would be to teach a child the trick, and have them challenge adults… LOL