Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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Dec 01

Wine/Water Problem Solution

I lost all the e-mailed responses to this problem I posted earlier. Anyhow, the answer is as follows:

The level of “contamination” would be exactly the same in both glasses. Because no water is lost during the transfers, by the simple principal of conservation, both glasses are equally diluted by their “contaminants”. The wine in the water, must be equally displaced by the water in the wine (otherwise, where else would the liquids go?). This can also be solved mathematically (Shish sent in a solution this way).

The common mistake is to say that because the water contaminates the wine first, that the tablespoon drawn out of the “diluted wine” does not contaminate the water as much (ie: wine contaminated more, which is wrong).