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Taking Seats on a Plane

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by crasic, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. crasic

    crasic Guest

    This is a neat little problem that I was discussing today with my lab group out at lunch. Not particularly difficult but interesting implications nonetheless

    Imagine there are a 100 people in line to board a plane that seats 100. The first person in line realizes he lost his boarding pass so when he boards he decides to take a random seat instead. Every person that boards the plane after him will either take their "proper" seat, or if that seat is taken, a random seat instead.

    Question: What is the probability that the last person that boards will end up in his/her proper seat.

    Moreover, and this is the part I'm still pondering about. Can you think of a physical system that would follow this combinatorial statistics? Maybe a spin wave function in a crystal etc...

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