The more you know

Why is it called “Columbus’s egg”?

The term ‘Egg of Columbus’ is used when describing an incredibly trivial way of solving a problem that seemed to have no solution. In fact, it is said that Christopher Columbus was invited to a dinner on his return from America and that during this banquet some Spanish gentlemen tried to belittle his exploits, saying that anyone would succeed.

Well Columbus challenged them to put an egg straight on the table, without it falling. Failing this, the gentlemen challenged Columbus, asking him to do it too: the navigator lightly tapped the egg on the plane and there he left it, straight and still. The Spaniards complained that they too could do something like this and Columbus replied that they could do it, but he had done it.

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