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Mathematical Wizardry for a Gardner

Ed Pegg Jr., Alan H. Schoen, and Tom Rodgers, editors
A K Peters
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Fabio Mainardi
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Every two years in Atlanta, a conference is organized, as a tribute to Martin Gardner, the very popular author of the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, who has published more than 80 books, mostly on recreational mathematics. (Surprisingly, Gardner is not a mathematician himself.) Gardner has never really retired as an author, but rather he continues to write, especially updating many of his older books.

This book is the second of two volumes gathering most of the oral presentations delivered at the seventh of those conferences, held in 2006.

To tell the truth, some of the articles contain, strictly speaking, little mathematics; their subject could be more rightly labelled as puzzles, games, and other curious objects which are, however, likely to intrigue a mathematician, professional or amateur. The contributions are as varied as Gardner’s interests, including tilings, tangles, circle packing, coin-weighing problems, etc.

The first two articles, the ones I liked the most, are dedicated to the memory of Frank Harary, who died in 2005. Harary is widely recognized as one of the fathers of modern graph theory (see for example

This book is intended as recreational reading, and it is addressed to a very wide audience, including non-mathematicians and amateurs.

Fabio Mainardi earned a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Paris 13. His research interests are mainly Iwasawa theory, p-adic L-functions and the arithmetic of automorphic forms. At present, he works in a "classe préparatoire" in Geneva. He may be reached at

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