The colour-box puzzles

by Andrea Gilbert
Gathering for Gardner IV
February 2000, Atlanta

Several puzzles and games revolve around the idea of a 'black box' containing objects (for example mirrors or atoms) at unknown locations. You send rays of light or energy into the black box, observe where the rays emerge, and use your powers of deduction to discover the locations of the hidden objects. In this variation however the contents of the box is clearly visible, the box is filled with colour-coded objects (red, green, yellow and blue). Each group of objects exhibits a specific behaviour, one group allows the ray to pass straight through (type S), one deflects the ray left (type L), one deflects the ray right (type R) and one reflects the ray back the way it came (type U). Your task to work out which colour represents which behaviour. This mapping may vary from puzzle to puzzle.

Use the following example to investigate the behaviour of a typical colour-box.

Here follows four more colour-boxes. Can you work out which colour maps to which behaviour in each case?



concept & maze designs – © Andrea Gilbert 2000