Toss a coin


Q: “If you toss a coin a thousand times, how often will it
come up heads?”

A: “About fifty percent of the time.”

If you consider this as “truth”, check
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1697475.

Real problem is how to evaluate actual situations (force, friction, airflow, weight etc) and calculate, without error, using scientific rules to find out if coil will come head up or tail up. If one assumes that actual situation and calculation is possible then “50%” becomes absurd. I do not know if it is possible or impossible to know actual situation physically or in principle.

There are more subtle things to note.

  1. We are talking about throwing coin up then it comes back. We catch it or let it hit ground and get settled. We are NOT talking about throwing coin sideways. We are NOT talking about throwing coin straight into sandy ground in a way that it does not roll and will have head up.
  2. We are talking about throwing coin near a large body with enough gravitational force so that coin actually comes back with enough speed to hit the solid ground and roll. If you throw coin in outer space void of enough gravity, it will not come back.
  3. We are NOT talking about ground which is sandy (not solid), where coin can even stand submerged in sand.
  4. We are also assuming that we will decide when coin comes at rest within reasonable period of time. Once coin settles, we do not wait till next tsunami to arrive to change position of coin.
  5. We are talking about fair coin. Coin is designed in a way that no side is favored to drop up. Is it possible to manufacture such a coin? Not today.
  6. We think that GOD (I do not know what ‘GOD’ means) is fair and does not favor any side to drop up.


Put your comments if you can make this list longer…

Have fun.

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Comments 3

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    what if the coin falls in water??/

    Posted 02 Aug 2006 at 7:20 pm
  2. meera wrote:

    I am writing an article on Luck and came across your blog about tossing the coin. Interesting! If humans had access to so much scientific accuracy for every thing, life would perhaps lose the magic of the Probable-or Improbable, as the case may be!

    Posted 07 Nov 2006 at 6:43 pm
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    There is a third possible event. What if it lands on its edge?

    Posted 01 Feb 2007 at 5:12 am

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