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# Can you solve the alien probe riddle? - Dan Finkel

2,465,992 Views

2,077 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

## Let’s Begin…

Your team has developed a probe to study an alien monolith. It needs protective coatings — in red, purple and green — to cope with the environments it passes through. Can you figure out how to apply the colors so the probe survives the trip? Dan Finkel shows how.

## Additional Resources for you to Explore

A larger 4 by 4 by 4 probe were assembled from 64 smaller cubes. If you needed to paint this in 4 different colors instead of 3, could it be done?

To solve this, you’ll want to think about the solution for the 3-color cube. Paint the entire thing red, then look at how many cubes have 0, 1, 2, or 3 faces painted. Then think of how you could use symmetry to paint the other three colors in as well. Note: the 4-color version of this problem CAN be solved!

Looking for more math games? Check out the educator’s website.

## About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

## Meet The Creators

• Educator Daniel Finkel
• Animator Anton Trofimov
• Narrator Addison Anderson
• Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
• Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
• Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott

Mathematics

## The paradox at the heart of mathematics: Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem

Lesson duration 05:20

3,738,080 Views