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The Last Recreations: Hydras, Eggs, and Other Mathematical Mystifications Hardcover – July 18, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 1 edition (July 18, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387949291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387949291
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,749,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Last Recreations collects the final works of Martin Gardner, the renowned "Mathematical Games" columnist for Scientific American. No prior knowledge of mathematics are necessary here; all will enjoy learning about topics ranging from Bulgarian solitaire to taxicab geometry, with experienced expositor Gardner as guide. Letters and updates concerning his column are also included in this book.

From Scientific American

Gardner, who conducted the immensely popular Mathematical Games department of this magazine from 1956 to 1981, presents here his 15th and final (he says) collection of those columns. There are 23 of them, culled from his last seven years of writing for the magazine. They deal with such engaging topics as "The Wonders of a Planiverse," "Bulgarian Solitaire and Other Seemingly Endless Tasks," "M-Pire Maps," "The Monster and Other Sporadic Groups" and "Taxicab Geometry." As in previous collections, Gardner brings his topics up-to-date and includes some of the letters from readers that his beguiling problems brought forth.

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Piers Cawley on May 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Reading this takes me back to time spent in my school's library poring over Gardner's columns in Scientific American. Several of the columns in this book I first read as a nerdy 14 year old and was staggered then (as I am now) by the elegance and beauty of the ideas they contained. Now I read it with a far greater appreciation of the problems and ideas expressed, but that doesn't compare with the sheer sense of wonder I experienced first time around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Giant Panda on October 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have long enjoyed reading Martin Gardner's books for their content of entertaining mathematical puzzles. Unfortunately, this volume is not as entertaining as the earlier books. The book takes thoroughness to the extreme, beating every issue to death and hence reading more like a textbook than a puzzle book. Further there is little diversity in topics - most chapters come from number theory or topology. Still you will find some interesting problems in this one: flatland, cannibals, taxicab geometry, checkers, the pigeonhole, and non-Euclidean geometry. Just don't plan to read everything or you will end up bogged down.
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By A Customer on April 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Maybe its that I'm looking at the past through rose colored glasses, but when I read this I did'nt experience the same sense of wonder that I did when I was 13. Martin touches on very very cool topics, but my main gripe is that he whizzes through everything, often just giving a pointer to another book, which is great in that it encourages more exploration but is frustrating at the same time. But if you havent encountared recreational mathematics before, take a look, Martin does a wonderful job in making math FUN!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not quite right in its account of the tabulation of 11-crossing knots, the book is an entertaining romp through the world of mathematics, wholly satisfactory for recreational purposes.
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