Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014

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From magic squares and Möbius bands to magical card tricks and illusions, mysterious phenomena with elegant “Aha!” explanations have permeated mathematics for centuries. Such brain-teasing challenges promote creative and rational thinking, attract a wide range of people to the subject, and often inspire serious mathematical research. 

 The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2014 echoes the title of a 1956 book by renowned math popularizer Martin Gardner, whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s “Game of Life,” Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set, and much more. For more than half a century Gardner inspired enthusiasts of all ages to engage deeply with mathematics, and many of his readers chose to pursue it as a career. The year 2014 marks the centennial of Gardner’s birth.