Date: Dec 27, 2012 6:45 AM
Subject: Re: Probability Pill
>>>William Elliot wrote:
>>>>Each day I take 1/2 an aspirin tablet. I bought a bottle of
>>>>100 tablets; each day I take out one, if it's whole I break
>>>>it half and eat a half and put the other half back: if I pull
>>>>out a half tablet I eat it. I was wondering after I break the
>>>>last whole one what the expected number of halves are in the
>>>>bottle? I assume that any piece I pull out has uniform
>>>I suspect that the above question is not actually yours.
>>>If that's the case, what is the actual source?
>>>Is it from a poster in another forum? If so, why do you omit
>>>mention of the poster and the forum?
>>>Is it from a book or math contest?
>>>Why do you repeatedly post questions that are not your own
>>>without giving credit to the source?
>>>In any case, the expected number of halves left when the last
>>>whole pill is split is
>>> (199!) / ((4^99)*((99!)^2))
>>Which is slightly more than 11 half pills.
>Oops -- ignore my answer -- it's blatantly wrong.
>I'll rethink it.
>In the meantime, can you identify the source of the
Ok, the correct answer is x/y where x,y are given by
x = 14466636279520351160221518043104131447711
y = 2788815009188499086581352357412492142272
As a decimal, x/y is approximately 5.18737751763962
Thus, on average, about 5 half pills.