It was a simple brainteaser, but its solution made everyone go crazy. And when Marliyn vos Savant — a woman known for having the highest IQ recorded in the Guinness Book of Records — solved it, people weren't satisfied.
We're talking about "The Monty Hall Problem," made famous by the game show Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Monty Hall. Here's how it works: There are three doors. Behind one door is a car, and behind the other two, are goats. The player chooses a door, and then before being told what's behind it, Hall opens one of the doors to reveal a goal, leaving the door the player chose, and a door they haven't seen yet.
Should the player switch their choice to increase chances of finding the car?
When a reader submitted that question to Savant's newspaper column Ask Marilyn, she replied "Yes, you should switch." But her answer caused a firestorm.
She received thousands of letters claiming she was wrong, Some of the mail was even laced with sexist comments like "There is such a thing as female logic." All of this was shocking to Savant and others, mostly because the problem had actually been solved many times before. The first variation of the problem was solved as far back as 1889, by French mathematician Joseph Bertrand.
Regardless, Savant ended up convincing many of her readers that she was right.