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新加坡小学生数学题难倒全球网友

更新时间:2015-4-15 19:47:44 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A Math Problem From Singapore Goes Viral: When Is Cheryl’s Birthday?
新加坡小学生数学题难倒全球网友

A couple of months ago, it was a color-changing dress that blew out the neural circuits of the Internet. Though it may not have quite the mass appeal, this week it is a math problem that is making bushels of brains hurt.

几个月前,一条颜色有争议的裙子引爆了网民的神经回路。本周则是一个数学问题损害了大量脑细胞,虽然它对大众的吸引力可能没那么强烈。

It started with a posting on Facebook, by Kenneth Kong, a television host in Singapore.

起因是新加坡电视主播江坚文(Kenneth Kong)发在Facebook上的一个帖子。

From there, people around the world have been trying to figure out Cheryl’s birthday, or at least wondering why she couldn’t just save everyone a lot of trouble and be more direct with Albert and Bernard.

帖子在世界各地疯传,大家试图弄清谢丽尔(Cheryl)的生日是哪天,至少想知道她为什么不直接把答案告诉阿尔伯特(Albert)和伯纳德(Bernard),帮大家省下许多麻烦。

The wording of the problem is terrible, so here is a clearer version, which makes some of the assumptions more obvious but which does not change any of the underlying logic of the problem:

原帖的措辞不太清楚,所以下面更清晰地描述一下问题,让一些假设变得更加明显,但是对相关的基本逻辑没有做任何改变:

Albert and Bernard just met Cheryl. “When’s your birthday?” Albert asked Cheryl.

阿尔伯特和伯纳德刚刚结识谢丽尔。“你的生日是什么时候呢?”阿尔伯特问谢丽尔。

Cheryl thought a second and said, “I’m not going to tell you, but I’ll give you some clues.” She wrote down a list of 10 dates:

谢丽尔想了一下之后说,“我不会告诉你们的,但我会提供一些线索给你们猜一猜,”她写下一张清单,上面有10个日期:

May 15 — May 16 — May 19

5月15日-5月16日-5月19日

June 17 — June 18

6月17日-6月18日

July 14 — July 16

7月14日-7月16日

August 14 — August 15 — August 17

8月14日-8月15日-8月17日

“My birthday is one of these,” she said.

“我的生日就是其中一天,”她说。

Then Cheryl whispered in Albert’s ear the month — and only the month — of her birthday. To Bernard, she whispered the day, and only the day.

然后谢丽尔凑到阿尔伯特的耳边,低声告知了自己生日的月份——但只有月份。之后又小声告诉了伯纳德自己生日是哪一天,但没有讲月份。

“Can you figure it out now?” she asked Albert.

“你们现在能猜出来了吗?”她问阿尔伯特。

Albert: I don’t know when your birthday is, but I know Bernard doesn’t know, either.

阿尔伯特:我不知道你的生日是几月几日,但我知道伯纳德也不知道。

Bernard: I didn’t know originally, but now I do.

伯纳德:本来我不知道,但是现在我知道了。

Albert: Well, now I know, too!

阿尔伯特:嗯,现在我也知道了!

When is Cheryl’s birthday?

那谢丽尔的生日是几月几日呢?

Originally, Mr. Kong said this was a problem inflicted on fifth-graders, leading to hand-wringing that Singapore children were way better at math than the everyone else in the world and worries that Singapore children were being mentally abused with convoluted logic at a young age.

江坚文在原帖里说,这是个扔给五年级学生的问题,因此一些人展开论战,觉得新加坡孩子在数学上远超世界上的其他人,并感到担心,新加坡儿童在童年阶段需要解答如此令人费解的逻辑题目,这是一种精神虐待。

It turned out the problem actually came from a math olympiad test for math-savvy high school-age students.

实际上,这个问题出自一个数学奥林匹克竞赛测试,针对的是对数学悟性高的高中生。

How would you fare in a room full of adolescent math competitors in Singapore?

如果你在新加坡,要和满屋子的青春期孩子开展数学竞赛,你的表现会如何?

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