From the Common Sense Problem Page

Physical Reasoning

Cracking an Egg

Characterize the following:

A cook is cracking a raw egg against a glass bowl. Properly performed, the impact of the egg against the edge of the bowl will crack the eggshell in half. Holding the egg over the bowl, the cook will then separate the two halves of the shell with his fingers, enlarging the crack, and the contents of the egg will fall gently into the bowl. The end result is that the entire contents of the egg will be in the bowl, with the yolk unbroken, and that the two halves of the shell are held in the cook's fingers.

What happens if: The cook brings the egg to impact very quickly? Very slowly? The cook lays the egg in the bowl and exerts steady pressure with his hand? The cook, having cracked the egg, attempts to peel it off its contents like a hard-boiled egg? The bowl is made of looseleaf paper? of soft clay? The bowl is smaller than the egg? The bowl is upside down? The cook tries this procedure with a hard-boiled egg? With a coconut? With an M & M?

Contributed by Ernie Davis (, New York University, U.S.A. (18th September 1997)

Three solutions to the Egg-Cracking Problem:

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