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The Puzzling Adventures of Dr. Ecco (Dover Recreational Math) Paperback – July 21, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0486296159 ISBN-10: 0486296156

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The Puzzling Adventures of Dr. Ecco (Dover Recreational Math) + Doctor Ecco's Cyberpuzzles + Puzzles for Programmers and Pros
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Recreational Math
  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 21, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486296156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486296159
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andy Liu on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
When this book first came out from W. H. Freeman, I could not contain my excitement. I had been trying to intoduce a course in matheamtics that would have a broad appeal. With a very few exceptions, university students take mathematics courses because they are told to do so, and will leave the subject behind as soon as the minimum requirement is meet. I wanted students to have a chance to explore mathematics, but was hard pressed to put together a functional package.
"The Puzzling Adventure of Dr. Ecco" was an answer to my prayers. Discrete mathematics is an ideal introductio to the borader realm of the whole subject since it requires very little technical background, and there is the additional attraction in being related to computing science. However, there was considerable opposition to the introduction of such a course, and it was not until five years later that it became a pilot project. Dennis' credibility as a serious researcher helped tremendously in the final push.
Once the course got going, there was no stoppig it.Enrollment went up from 24 in the initial year to over 150 at present, while the course is still the only one not required by any program. It draws students from diverse background, from the Faculties of Science, Education, Arts, Business, Engineering and Pharmocology.
Much of the success of the course is due to the top quality of the book. The problems are well chosen, with a variety of topics as well as levels of difficulty. However, it is how each problem is treated that brings out how much thought has gone into the writing.
I will give one example, the problem of transporting oil from Houston to Moscow. The theoretical foundation is the Maxi-Flow Mini-Cut Theorem, which provides an algorithm to compute the maximal flow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ana Maria on January 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought The Puzzling Adventures of Dr. Ecco just before going on vacation, and was hooked before the plane took off. It is the perfect book for puzzle-lovers, including a broad range of topics across many levels of difficulty. My husband and I sat long after our lunches had been cleared on several occasions, working them out together. The author's humor and imagination in creating his characters adds to the delight of having one's brain teased (and then satisfied -- the solutions are in the back). Buy this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
This walk on the puzzle side of life is a joyous jaunt through mathematics. The fictional Dr. Ecco, a dedicated omniheurist or puzzle solver, devotes his life to resolving the difficulties of others. The majority of the problems are in applied mathematics, and are typical of the real world. Professor Scarlet provides the narration and his serving as a foil to Dr. Ecco has much in common with the partnership of Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes.

The topics include coding, the flow of goods through transit points, production bottlenecks, road and mass transit construction, information transfer and conducting elections. Detailed solutions to all problems are given at the end of the book. The majority can be solved using only cleverness, although a mathematical background is certainly helpful.

Superbly narrated and with a tight grasp on life, this book is an existence proof of the premise that learning mathematics can be fun. An excellent supplemental text for any course that involves problems in operations research.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Theodore M. Alper on October 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
What I really like about this book is its unique focus; Shasha has written problems that illustrate concepts from math and computer science, without requiring any prior background.
It's written in an entertaining style, the problems can be understood and enjoyably worked on by everyone from bright middle school students to graduate students -- and even if you have a lot of other puzzle books, many of these problems will be new to you.
My only complaint is that there aren't more puzzles here! The Dr. Ecco story-line is nicely written, and the puzzles are presented cleverly, but all that creative writing takes up a lot of space. Still, this is a small issue, I enjoyed reading the book, I loved the puzzles, and they are very easy to share with friends and students.
And of course, Dover offers it at a great price!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is really fun. I am a person who really enjoys this kind of books, but this one was one of the best. I loved it!!
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