- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (October 13, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691169772
- ISBN-13: 978-0691169774
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks Paperback – October 13, 2015
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Winner of the 2013 Euler Book Prize, Mathematical Association of America
Honorable Mention for the 2012 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Popular Science & Popular Mathematics, Association of American Publishers
[F]ascinating. . . . Magical Mathematics [is] a dazzling tour of math-based magic tricks. . . . Lovers of recreational mathematics, and especially fans of the late Martin Gardner, who contributed the foreword, will find many pleasures in Magical Mathematics. And while exposing magic secrets in a book intended for the general public may raise hackles among some old-guard magicians, exploring the math behind these tricks will, in truth, only deepen the mystery. For, as the authors remind us, sometimes the methods are as magical as the tricks themselves.---Alex Stone, Wall Street Journal
The Riemann hypothesis, the Mandelbrot set, Fermat's last theorem--these mathematical notions and others underlie all manner of magic tricks. Mathematicians Persi Diaconis--also a card magician--and Ron Graham--also a juggler--unveil the connections between magic and math in this well-illustrated volume. (Scientific American)
Writing for the public, the two authors share their passions, teaching sophisticated mathematical concepts along with interesting card tricks, which rely upon those principles for their workings. (GENII: The Conjurors' Magazine)
[I]t is simply a beautiful book. The design, layout, typography, even the paper is beautiful. . . . [T]his is one of the most fun, engaging new popular mathematics books I've seen in a long time.---The Math Less Traveled Blog,
The authors are master storytellers. . . . [T]he authors offer advice and recommendations for further pursuits in mathematics, magic and juggling.---Cut-the-Knot blog,
Well known and highly respected in the mathematical community, Diaconis and Graham have produced a work that completely lives up to expectations. It contains descriptions of magic tricks as viewed by an audience, the mathematics that make them possible, and clear explanations to help you--with a little practice--amaze your friends. (Library Journal)
Magical Mathematics gives readers a peek behind the velvet curtain that hides the magician's secrets. . . . The book covers some nifty card tricks, juggling, codes and a slew of mind-bending puzzles. The book doesn't just tell you how to fool and impress your friends with parlour tricks, it explains why these tricks work, so that you can go on to devise your own--in fact, the authors challenge you to do just that. The writing is lively and the tricks are well set-up, providing newbie magicians with both points of view: what the audience sees and what the magician knows. (Montreal Gazette)
Magical Mathematics is an absolutely remarkable book. I don't say this lightly. Publishers send me plenty of books to review. Some I like more than others. Magical Mathematics is a fantastic book for someone who wants to explore the non-trivial math behind some impressive magic tricks. While I enjoy purely recreational math puzzles that have no practical application I also love it when I discover challenges that are interesting and relevant. Magical Mathematics is chock full of fun (and deep) challenges that students (and adults) can sink their teeth into.---Wild About Math blog,
From the Back Cover
"Finally a book that celebrates the math involved in magic. This is quite simply the most brilliant book ever written on this mind-blowing, highly secretive field."--David Blaine, illusionist
"A remarkably appealing concoction of conjuring, invention, education, science, homage, and memoir--it is like no other book in the long history of magic."--Ricky Jay, author, actor, and one of the world's best sleight-of-hand artists
"A truly stunning exposition by two masters in the field. Diaconis and Graham trace the fascinating relationship between mathematics and magic, which goes back at least eight hundred years. Nothing like this has been published before. Magical Mathematics is a huge contribution both to magic and mathematics."--Colm Mulcahy, author of Card Colm, an online column hosted by the Mathematical Association of America
"Magical Mathematics is a truly magical book, containing ample amounts of mathematics and magic that will amaze and amuse. Diaconis and Graham are both first-rate mathematicians and performers, and offer insights and ideas that could not have been expressed by anyone else. This book is destined to be a classic on the subject."--Arthur Benjamin, coauthor of Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks
"This is a wonderful book, unique and engaging. Diaconis and Graham manage to convey the awe and marvels of mathematics, and of magic tricks, especially those that depend fundamentally on mathematical ideas. They range over many delicious topics, giving us an enchanting personal view of the history and practice of magic, of mathematics, and of the fascinating connection between the two cultures. Magical Mathematics will have an utterly devoted readership."--Barry Mazur, author of Imagining Numbers: (particularly the square root of minus fifteen)
"Magical Mathematics is a wonder to behold. It instantly seduces the reader with goodies new and old, and is just as perfect for long-term study. There are also surprises for those well familiar with the magical realm."--Robert E. Neale, magician
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But be warned: this isn't your simple high school math! Many of these tricks employ sophisticated mathematics using Combinatorics, Group Theory, Graph Theory and more. Fortunately, the authors are adept at explaining these complicated concepts in a clear fashion, but the novice reader may have some trouble following some of the proofs. Hopefully, the reader will be so inspired by the beauty of the subject, that she'll see it as motivation to learn more mathematics! In fact, the authors' unapologetic goal with this text is to corrupt youngsters of all ages into pursuing mathematics in much the same way that the authors themselves were seduced by the subject. Here's hoping they succeed with you as they have with me!
Probably would rate this a 9 out of 10.