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Hexaflexagons, Probability and the Tower of Hanoi: Martin Gardner's First Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Games

Popular Science

Series: The New Martin Gardner Mathematical Library Volume: 1

By: Martin Gardner (Author)

240 pages, 1 halftone

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Nov 2008 | #176746 | ISBN-13: 9780521735254
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £11.99 $15/€14 approx
Hardback | Nov 2008 | #207239 | ISBN-13: 9780521756150
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $38/€36 approx

About this book

Hexaflexagons, Probability Paradoxes, and the Tower of Hanoi is the inaugural volume in The New Martin Gardner Mathematical Library series. Based off of Gardener's enormously popular Scientific American columns, his puzzles and challenges can now fascinate a whole new generation! Paradoxes and paper-folding, Moebius variations and mnemonics, fallacies, magic square, topological curiosities, parlor tricks, and games ancient and modern, from Polyminoes, Nim, Hex, and the Tower of Hanoi to four-dimensional ticktacktoe. These mathematical recreations, clearly and cleverly presented by Martin Gardner, delight and perplex while demonstrating principles of logic, probability, geometry, and other fields of mathematics. Now the author, in consultation with experts, has added updates to all the chapters, including new game variations, mathematical proofs, and other developments and discoveries.

"Martin Gardner's fifteen volumes about Mathematical Games are The Canon – timeless classics that are always worth reading and rereading."
- Don Knuth

"Gardner's monthly romp through recreational math and logic ran in Scientific American for 25 years, from the Sputnik splash to the Reagan reign, and nobody has been able to match it since. "Mathematical Games" was an orgy of right-brain tomfoolery that could be approached for superficial fun or deep insight, or both at the same time [...] I can't think of a better present for a clever 12-year old, bored undergraduate, restless retiree, or stay-at-home parent fearing intellectual stagnation."
- David Brooks, The Telegraph

"Gardner himself downplays his mathematical ability, arguing that he is "strictly a journalist." Which is about the only piece of unintentional nonsense he has ever written. Gardner will go down in history as one of the most significant mathematicians of all time and the combination of the gems in this collection is an airtight proof of that fact."
- Charles Aschbacher, Journal of Recreational Mathematics

"Gardner was a model teacher of mathematics, pushing others to take interesting side explorations, solve challenging problems, and enjoy the beauty of mathematics. Thus, this reviewer applauds the republication of his genius in The New Martin Gardner Mathematical Library series, complete with revised explanations, new insights, up-to-date reference links, and brief surveys of recent discoveries [...] it is worth getting the new editions and sharing these new gems!"
- J. Johnson, Choice Magazine

"Many articles may be of interest even to the (mathematically sophisticated) readers of my column since (1) they are so well written, (2) they are classic, and (3) there is often a kernel of knowledge that you didn't quite know."
- William Gasarch, SIGACT News

"While Martin Gardner has always called himself "strictly a journalist," he should really be honored as one of this country's greatest cultural treasures."
- The Washington Post

"Hexaflexagons, Probability Paradoxes, and the Tower of Hanoi and Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma Cube provide a taste of Gardner's prowess at devising quirky and fascinating mathematical conundrums. An excellent example is the 'generalised ham-sandwich theorem', which, among other things, explains how a doughnut can be sliced into 13 pieces by three simultaneous plane cuts."
- Physics World

"For libraries, these famous and important books are an essential acquisition: they can have a complete set, with a uniform look, including updates. It is hard to exaggerate the importance and influence of these books. [...] what makes it all work is Gardner's writing. He is simple and direct, his explanations are clear, and he always includes the reader, inviting us to build models, play games, try out methods, solve problems. The readers respond, participate, and contribute, often in creative and productive ways. [...] These books are fascinating, useful, fun, and historically significant. You must have them! Buy one for yourself, and buy many to give away. Have your students read them. Give a set to your local high school (they'll be published over five years, so it won't even be a financial burden). Time has passed, and a generation that knoweth not Gardner has arisen. Now we can fix that."
- Fernando Q. Gouvea, MAA Reviews

"I believe that many readers will enjoy the book with great pleasure."
- EMS Newsletter


1. Hexaflexagons
2. Magic with a matrix
3. Nine problems
4. Ticktacktoe
5. Probability paradoxes
6. The icosian game and the Tower of Hanoi
7. Curious topological models
8. The game of hex
9. Sam Loyd: America's greatest puzzlist
10. Mathematical card tricks
11. Memorizing numbers
12. Nine more problems
13. Polyominoes
14. Fallacies
15. Nim and tac tix
16. Left or right

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For 25 of his 90 years, Martin Gardner wrote "Mathematical Games and Recreations," a monthly column for Scientific American magazine. These columns have inspired hundreds of thousands of readers to delve more deeply into the large world of mathematics. He has also made significant contributions to magic, philosophy, debunking pseudoscience, and children's literature. He has produced more than 60 books, including many best sellers, most of which are still in print. His Annotated Alice has sold more than a million copies. He continues to write a regular column for the Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

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