This latest volume gathers together the top experts in recreational math and presents a compelling look at board games, card games, dice, toys, computer games, and much more. The book is divided into five parts: puzzles and brainteasers, geometry and topology, graph theory, games of chance, and computational complexity. Readers will discover what origami, roulette wheels, and even the game of Trouble can teach about math. Essays contain new results, and the contributors include short expositions on their topic’s background, providing a framework for understanding the relationship between serious mathematics and recreational games. Mathematical areas explored include combinatorics, logic, graph theory, linear algebra, geometry, topology, computer science, operations research, probability, game theory, and music theory.
Investigating an eclectic mix of games and puzzles, The Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects is sure to entertain, challenge, and inspire academic mathematicians and avid math enthusiasts alike.
Math is boring, says the mathematician and comedian Matt Parker. Part of the problem may be the way the subject is taught, but it's also true that we all, to a greater or lesser extent, find math difficult and counterintuitive. This counterintuitiveness is actually part of the point, argues Parker: the extraordinary thing about math is that it allows us to access logic and ideas beyond what our brains can instinctively do—through its logical tools we are able to reach beyond our innate abilities and grasp more and more abstract concepts.
In the absorbing and exhilarating Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, Parker sets out to convince his readers to revisit the very math that put them off the subject as fourteen-year-olds. Starting with the foundations of math familiar from school (numbers, geometry, and algebra), he reveals how it is possible to climb all the way up to the topology and to four-dimensional shapes, and from there to infinity—and slightly beyond.
Both playful and sophisticated, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension is filled with captivating games and puzzles, a buffet of optional hands-on activities that entices us to take pleasure in math that is normally only available to those studying at a university level. Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension invites us to re-learn much of what we missed in school and, this time, to be utterly enthralled by it.
Contributors to the book show how sophisticated mathematics can help construct mazes that look like famous people, how the analysis of crossword puzzles has much in common with understanding epidemics, and how the theory of electrical circuits is useful in understanding the classic Towers of Hanoi puzzle. The card game SET is related to the theory of error-correcting codes, and simple tic-tac-toe takes on a new life when played on an affine plane. Inspirations for the book's wealth of problems include board games, card tricks, fake coins, flexagons, pencil puzzles, poker, and so much more.
Looking at a plethora of eclectic games and puzzles, The Mathematics of Various Entertaining Subjects is sure to entertain, challenge, and inspire academic mathematicians and avid math enthusiasts alike.