Lab Mice

A scientist has 9 bottles, exactly one of which contains poison. The poison kills any creature which drinks it within 24 hours. If the scientist has 2 lab mice at his disposal, how can he find which is the poisonous bottle within 2 days only?


Solution

Label the bottles B1, B2, B3, ... , B9.
The first day he lets the first mouse drink B1, B2, B3, and let the second mouse drink B1, B4, and B5. If after 24 hours both mice die, then the poisounous bottle is B1. If only one mouse dies, say the first one, then he lets the second mouse drink B2. If it dies, then the poisounous bottle is B2, otherwise it is B3. Finally, if neither mouse dies, then he lets the first mouse drink B6 and B7, and lets the second mouse drink B6 and B8. If both mice die after 24 hours, then the poisonous bottle is B6. If only one mouse dies, say the first one, then the poisonous bottle is B7. If neither mouse dies, then the poisonous bottle is B9.