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What Does Scrabble Have To Do with the Morphologi G3?

5 January 2012 No Comment

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On first blush, the answer to the above question would seem to be very little.  However, upon delving into it further, there is something interesting that comes into play.  To decode the question, we’ll start with Scrabble.

The power of the ‘S’

Playing Scrabble, one might come to wonder how the letter distribution was created.  It surely couldn’t be random, but what was the method to the final distribution?  The hypothesis one is most likely to arrive at is the letter distribution must match that of normal language usage.  In researching the topic, that hypothesis is actually correct with the exception of one letter, S.  But how did that come to be you might ask?

Scrabble’s creator, Alfred Mosher Butts, actually used the New York Times (among a few other sources) to establish the letter frequencies to use.  In using pages of the Times, Butts noted the frequency and then realized he needed to tweak only one letter to ensure the game had challenge.  That letter was the S.  Playing the game, one quickly realizes the inherent importance and power of the S.  Pluralizing words is a sure-fire way to open space, make longer words (7 letter BINGO’s for a 50 point bonus) and ultimately win games.  For this reason, there are only 4 S’s in a Scrabble game.  All other letters match the frequency of those New York Times pages.  As a FYI, other language games have equal letter distributions to the actual letter distributions in that specific language.

Gain points with G3

So how does this all relate to the G3 analytical imaging instrument designed for particle size and shape analysis? A G is only worth 2 points in scrabble – although you do at least get three of them!

The parallel between Scrabble and the Morphologi G3 relates to the ability to quickly sort and classify individual shapes (letters and particles respectively) in an accurate and consistent manner.  This capability is paramount in establishing quality limits and identifying particle process issues in a repeatable, robust and time efficient manner.

While the research Butts did with the New York Times took hours of painstaking tallying, the Morphologi G3 can do the same job in mere minutes.