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Math Horizons - February 2007

Content Teasers for February 2007

Math Bends it like Beckham
Tim Chartier

Research in computational fluid dynamics has far reaching effects in sports---from soccer to Formula 1 racing. Beautiful images courtesy of Fluent, Inc.

Why are Games Exciting and Stimulating?
Aviezri S. Fraenkel

Games have a natural appeal that entices both amateurs and professionals to become addicted to the subject. What separates a hard game like chess from an easy  game like NIM?

Mixing a Night out with Probability… & Making a Fortune
Kari Lock

Did the New York State Lottery choose poorly when it decided to double the payoff for its 4 Spot Quick Draw game?

An ESPeriment with Cards
Colm Mulcahy

A mathematical card trick based on an Erdos-Szekeres result and the Gilbreath Principle where you appear to have extra sensory perception.

Sudoku: Just for Fun or Is It Mathematics?
Sam Cook, Cory Fujimoto, Leigh Mingle and Cami Sawyer

Sudoku is the fastest growing puzzle in the world and has earned the title as "the Rubik's cube of the 21st century."  What are some of the mathematical questions arising from this latest craze?

Who Wants to Be a Half-Millionaire?
Patrick Headley

How mathematician Patrick Headley made a small fortune on the game show "Super Millionaire."

The Taxman Game
Robert K. Moniot

In the Taxman Game, you start with all numbers between 1 and N. For every number you select, the taxman takes all of its divisors remaining in the pot---and the taxman must collect something on every selection.  When no valid moves remain, the taxman collects the remaining numbers. Can you arrange your choices so that the total of the numbers you select is greater than the taxman's?

The Solutions to Elmsley’s Problem
Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham

The solution to a 50-year-old unsolved problem in recreational mathematics. The argument illustrates elementary group theory and shows how a simple card trick can lead to the edge of what is known.

Book Reviews
Steven Byrnes and Jacob McMillen

Student review Calculated Bets by Steven Skiena and Connection Games by Cameron Browne.

REU Profile: The Duluth REU Program
Joseph A. Gallian

Mathematical Survivor
Steven Kahan

A mathematical twist on the popular TV show. This numerical survivor is predictable and totally independent of the selection process throughout the procedure.

SET, Affine Planes and Latin Squares
Anna Bickel and Zsuzsanna Szaniszlo

Underlying this simple game is a set of interesting mathematical questions.

Problem Section
Andy Liu
The Game of SET
Anna Bickel

A quick review of the game of SET and its rules.