Permalink Submitted by BarronGati on October 15, 2016

This is an oft used puzzle where the N of balls changes or you're asked to find the lighter or heavier ball.

In this case, the "easy" answer is 3 weighings. You're guaranteed to find it with 8 balls. 4v4. Then 2v2. Then 1v1.

But you can actually do it in 2 weighings. You do 3v3 and leave 2 balls unweighed.

If side a is heavier, weigh 2 of the balls. If the scale balances the third ball is heavier. If it doesn't balance the heavier side contains the heavier ball.

Same if side b is heavier.

If the scale balances then just weigh the two remaining balls against each other.

## Answer

This is an oft used puzzle where the N of balls changes or you're asked to find the lighter or heavier ball.

In this case, the "easy" answer is 3 weighings. You're guaranteed to find it with 8 balls. 4v4. Then 2v2. Then 1v1.

But you can actually do it in 2 weighings. You do 3v3 and leave 2 balls unweighed.

If side a is heavier, weigh 2 of the balls. If the scale balances the third ball is heavier. If it doesn't balance the heavier side contains the heavier ball.

Same if side b is heavier.

If the scale balances then just weigh the two remaining balls against each other.