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Mathematical Puzzles and Curiosities

Barry R. Clarke
Publisher: 
Dover Publications
Publication Date: 
2014
Number of Pages: 
173
Format: 
Paperback
Price: 
9.95
ISBN: 
9780486490915
Category: 
General
[Reviewed by
Tom Schulte
, on
08/15/2014
]

This Dover original publication is a collection of recreational puzzles and logical conundrums, many of which appeared in the author's Daily Telegraph column. Most of the riddles are visual, of the “move-one-matchstick” type, or deductive, of the “how many coins...” variety. Generally, these do not even require basic algebra skills. Indeed, truly mathematical puzzles, or at least ones with a mathematical presentation, are a slender minority here. (Reinterpreting the puzzles for algebra, topology, combinatorics, etc. can be an engaging exercise for the reader.)

The puzzles have two hint sections and answers in a random order, all of which is a good and practical way to assist the ardent solver. I find the author is at his best when his curating of a collection of familiar stumpers is interrupted by a sorbet of essay-length exploration. These explanations of classic and timely puzzles include The Monty Hall Problem, The Unexpected Hanging (a posteriori logic), the Shakespeare authorship mystery, Zeno (infinitesimals), Boolos’ “The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever”, wave and particle behaviors of light, and more.


Tom Schulte feels curiosity keeps him young and puzzles mathematics students at Oakland Community College.

The table of contents is not available.

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