The legend of the tower of Benares

Edouard Anatole Lucas, a french mathematician told in 1883 this story:

In a temple in the city of Benares, India are 64 discs of precious diamants piled up to a tower. Each of these round discs is just a little smaller than the disc below.
Some holy men, monks, have the god given task to move this tower to a new place inside the temple. By doing this they have to obey some holy rules. The discs are just allowed to be placed at three marked places inside the temple. The first place is the one where the tower was before they started to move it, the second place is the place of the destination, the third place is right between start and destination. The discs are so heavy and precious thats the holy rules allow just a movement of one disc at a time. The last rule says that it is at no time allowed to place a disc on top of a smaller disc, while it is always allowed to place a disc on any disc with a greater diameter.
At the time when the monks have finished their work and the whole tower is moved from its starting place to its destination, at that very time, the tower will collapse and turn to dust and with this tower the whole earth will cease to exist.

If you believe in this story you might think about one thing before you buy the drinks for your next party or before you invest some money in stock-options. You should consider "How long will it take until the monks have moved this tower?"

I will state the task of the monks again:
64 discs, all different in size, are piled up to a tower. This tower is located on one of three marked areas. The task is to move the tower to the third marked area.
These rules have to be obeyed:
1. Every disc may just be placed on the marked areas.
2. It is just allowed to move one disc at a time.
3. A disc may be placed above a bigger disc, but never above a smaller disc.

Even if you don`t believe in this story, despite it was not published by the "Weekly world news", you might be interested in the question "Can this tower be moved without acting agains these rules?". This is the question concering the existence of a solution, and this question can be answered in an extremly simple way. We will find a strategy how to move the tower. If you are in hurry and need a quick answer (in order to call your Wall-Street broker) you will find a answer concering the end of the world here.

......
[ seite in deutsch ]

[ Startpage ] --- [ guestbook ] --- [ sitemap ] --- up to date: 14-10-2003