The 50-Year Old Ever-Winning Ticket Lottery Mystery Solved

The 50-Year Old Ever-Winning Ticket Lottery Mystery Solved

Are you into riddles? We have an interesting one for you, and while it has been resolved, it’s been getting mathematicians curious for five decades. Here’s the story of the ever-winning lottery ticket and how its mystery was finally uncovered.

The Ever-Winning Lottery Ticket

The theoretical riddle was set up in 1969 by the English mathematician Adrian RD Mathias.

Is there a lottery ticket that will always win? Theorists tried to answer the question all through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Research eventually subsided at the end of the 1990s, and the riddle remained without an answer till the present day.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the concept without getting too technical or science-y.

Mathias focused on order and structure and on things that occur sporadically in mathematical systems. His research suggested that a correlation exists between spontaneous occurrences and the so-called MAD families.

A MAD family can be perceived as a lottery ticket that is bound to win every single time in an infinite lottery game. In this specific game, the lottery ticket has an endless number of rows and columns. Each row itself has infinitely many numbers.

In his question, Mathias asked the mathematical community whether the order and structure we know exist prevent the existence of a MAD family (a lottery ticket that will always win).

As you can see, this is far from a practical question. It doesn’t help with the selection of lottery ticket numbers, and it doesn’t do anything for the identification of the winning lottery ticket. Academics often pose such theoretical questions when they have a specific hunch about a possibility. Whether this possibility has an actual application in the real world is an entirely different issue.

Mathias was unable to prove the relationship that he was interested in researching. Unfortunately, no other mathematician was capable of solving the riddle until Asger Dag Törnquist started working on it.

The Proof Is in the Pudding

Törnquist, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen mathematical department, came across the Mathias riddle in 2002. At the time, he was working on his doctorate dissertation at the University of California.

He was curious about the problem, but he didn’t focus that hard on finding the solution for several years. Once he went back to Copenhagen, he concentrated all of his brainpower on discovering the relationship that Mathias suspected to exist.

In 2014, Törnquist decided to rethink the riddle from the very beginning. Eventually, he came up with a completely new way to tackle the problem.

In 1969, Mathias had formulated his ever-winning lottery ticket concept, as well as a baby version of the theory. The baby version of the riddle was the one that Törnquist attacked first. He managed to find a solution.

This article was the one that caused the rebirth of mathematician interest in the Mathias riddle.

A few weeks later, Törnquist and his associate were working on another article that was supposed to address another aspect of the Mathias riddle. While organizing their research, the math geniuses found out they were much closer to the solution; then they believed to be. From that point forward, the process got accelerated and streamlined.

Törnquist and his team worked on the Mathias problem over five years! Eventually, their research and the solution got published in the very prestigious journal of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the US.

According to Törnquist, lottery ticket numbers clump up in a way that precludes the certainty of a winner every single time. This is precisely what Mathias guessed as the outcome of the riddle. As a result of his work, Törnquist was capable of proving that one cannot assemble a lottery ticket without the emergence of specific patterns and regularities in ticket numbers.

This means that an ever-winning lottery ticket does not exist and it is impossible to come on top of the Mathias infinite lottery game.

Does an Ever-Winning Lottery Ticket Exist?

Great, you may be thinking, but what does all of this mathematical stuff have to do with me? That’s a great question!

While we’re not that good at math and we certainly don’t understand MAD families and all of the principles used to approach the Mathias puzzle, we know one thing. The brightest minds in the world have managed to prove one thing – an ever-winning lottery ticket does not exist.

Through the years, there have been numerous attempts by mathematicians and statisticians to come up with logic, a pattern or a calculation predictive of lottery success every single time.

Some have managed to improve the odds significantly. Some used their research to identify loopholes in lottery games and to address these issues instead of profiting themselves. All of the work, however, has never resulted in one clearly-formulated approach that results in a lottery ticket every single time.

The Mathias riddle is much more of a theoretical question that doesn’t apply to the real world of lottery playing. Once again, however, mathematicians have taken a specific scenario (even if it happens to be an impossible one) and they have managed to prove after many decades of work that it’s simply impossible for an ever winning lottery ticket to exist.

If you’re interested in math and you do understand the Mathias lottery mystery, you can learn a bit more about the solution in the

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