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Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles Paperback – October 1, 1986


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Playing with mathematical riddles can be an intriguing and fun-filled pastime — as popular science writer Martin Gardner proves in this entertaining collection. Puzzlists need only an elementary knowledge of math and a will to resist looking up the answer before trying to solve a problem.
Written in a light and witty style, Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles is a mixture of old and new riddles, grouped into sections that cover a variety of mathematical topics: money, speed, plane and solid geometry, probability, topology, tricky puzzles, and more. The probability section, for example, points out that everything we do, everything that happens around us, obeys the laws of probability; geometry puzzles test our ability to think pictorially and often, in more than one dimension; while topology, among the "youngest and rowdiest branches of modern geometry," offers a glimpse into a strange dimension where properties remain unchanged, no matter how a figure is twisted, stretched, or compressed.
Clear and concise comments at the beginning of each section explain the nature and importance of the math needed to solve each puzzle. A carefully explained solution follows each problem. In many cases, all that is needed to solve a puzzle is the ability to think logically and clearly, to be "on the alert for surprising, off-beat angles...that strange hidden factor that everyone else had overlooked."
Fully illustrated, this engaging collection will appeal to parents and children, amateur mathematicians, scientists, and students alike, and may, as the author writes, make the reader "want to study the subject in earnest" and explains "some of the inviting paths that wind away from the problems into lusher areas of the mathematical jungle."
65 black-and-white illustrations.

About the Author

Martin Gardner was a renowned author who published over 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion. He also had a lifelong passion for magic tricks and puzzles. Well known for his mathematical games column in Scientific American and his "Trick of the Month" in Physics Teacher magazine, Gardner attracted a loyal following with his intelligence, wit, and imagination.

Martin Gardner: A Remembrance
The worldwide mathematical community was saddened by the death of Martin Gardner on May 22, 2010. Martin was 95 years old when he died, and had written 70 or 80 books during his long lifetime as an author. Martin's first Dover books were published in 1956 and 1957: Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, one of the first popular books on the intellectual excitement of mathematics to reach a wide audience, and Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, certainly one of the first popular books to cast a devastatingly skeptical eye on the claims of pseudoscience and the many guises in which the modern world has given rise to it. Both of these pioneering books are still in print with Dover today along with more than a dozen other titles of Martin's books. They run the gamut from his elementary Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing, which has been enjoyed by generations of younger readers since the 1980s, to the more demanding The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings, which Dover published in its final revised form in 2005.

To those of us who have been associated with Dover for a long time, however, Martin was more than an author, albeit a remarkably popular and successful one. As a member of the small group of long-time advisors and consultants, which included NYU's Morris Kline in mathematics, Harvard's I. Bernard Cohen in the history of science, and MIT's J. P. Den Hartog in engineering, Martin's advice and editorial suggestions in the formative 1950s helped to define the Dover publishing program and give it the point of view which — despite many changes, new directions, and the consequences of evolution — continues to be operative today.

In the Author's Own Words:
"Politicians, real-estate agents, used-car salesmen, and advertising copy-writers are expected to stretch facts in self-serving directions, but scientists who falsify their results are regarded by their peers as committing an inexcusable crime. Yet the sad fact is that the history of science swarms with cases of outright fakery and instances of scientists who unconsciously distorted their work by seeing it through lenses of passionately held beliefs."

"A surprising proportion of mathematicians are accomplished musicians. Is it because music and mathematics share patterns that are beautiful?" — Martin Gardner

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Dover Recreational Math
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (October 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486252116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486252117
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For 25 of his 95 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.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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You will enjoy with solving many interesting puzzles.
Nick
I've never been disapointed when ordering a Martin Gardner book.
Mike Metzger
This is a really an entertaining book as the name says.
Vittal N. Badithe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By David De Sousa on July 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Entertaining mathematical puzzles" by Martin Gartner is collection of rather easy math puzzles of diverse mathematical topics. Only an elementary knowledge of math and the will to resist looking up the answers before completing the problems.

Clear and concise comments at the beginning of each section explain the nature and importance of the math needed to solve each puzzle. A carefully explained solution follows each problem. In many cases, all that is needed to solve a problem is the ability to think logically and clearly, to be on the alert for surprising angles or hidden factors.

Here is an example of what you can find inside this book:

"If three cats catch three rats in three minutes, how many cats will catch 100 rats in 100 minutes?"

If you like more challenging pure mathematical teasers and puzzles, you may want to try "Challenging mathematical teasers" by J. A. H. Hunter.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Warr on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy math puzzles so was excited to have a variety of puzzles to work on. The puzzles are on various concepts in mathematics and helped me understand concepts and applications in each area.

The formatting is strange--it's an older book which is probably part of it. The answers are right next to the puzzles so it's hard not to see the answer before working the puzzle. I would much rather have answers at the end--or at least have a page break between the problems and answers.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 1997
Format: Paperback
Entertaining Mathematical Problems by Martin Gardner is a great book for all ages. This book has over 100 problems in sections ranging from topology to games. Some of the problems are simple to many, but there are some that require thought to do. Answers are included on the back. Any math lover will surely enjoy this book.

Paul Raff (Northwestern_Wildcat@ibm.net
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By JON STRICKLAND on March 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
I give this book five stars. Though the problems and puzzles were created several years ago, it introduces or, at least, reintroduces the reader to humorous and thought-provoking examples highlighting how intuitive and counterintuitive processes can collide into one another.
Martin Gardner's witty writing style makes this book a pleasant pathway to the realms of logic. Neat and concise with its stories and challenges throughout and with solutions at the very end, the book is a very ideal read, especially if you are a passenger with a very long trip ahead and who needs good quality entertainment that is also educational.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter A. Jones on August 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in the same place I read all my books - in the "Head". "Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles" was so...captivating, I feel I'll never get the red ring off my ass again...!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jay L. Fuger on March 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pushing 65, I try to engage my mind in as many challenging activities as possible. This book fits the description.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Passek on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book introduces mathematical puzzles in very respectable way. Though the puzzles are really mathematical puzzles and the attached solutions explain the essential concepts, you don't need to know lots of knowledge to solve them.
However, if you have already read other Martin Gardner's book or mathematical puzzle books, I do not recommend this book. These puzzles are very common and easy kind of ones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Teolis on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good source of problems for children and adults; many problems can be used in primary and secondary schools for training in algorithmic thinking.
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