Match wits with the great minds of the world’s greatest civilizations in this fascinating collection of ancient conundrums, brainteasers, and mind-benders.
• What do prehistoric bone markings and modern computer science have in common? • What is the mystery of pi that stumped generations of ancient mathematicians? • What are the ancient puzzle origins of popular games such as tic-tac-toe and chess? • Can you solve the puzzles posed to emperor Charlemagne by Alcuin of York? • What’s the secret lore behind magic squares that captured the imagination of Chinese emperors, Persian mystics, and Benjamin Franklin?
Dominic Olivastro presents a popular history of mathematics by focusing on the puzzles that civilizations posed for their own education and entertainment. Here are classic “puzzle problems” from ancient Africa, Egypt, Persia, China, and Greece and from cultures and texts spanning the Middle Ages and the Renaissance all the way to the present.
Each puzzle is linked with insightful folk and scientific history that helps shed light on the mysterious purpose and origin of the problem. Fascinating clues for figuring out answers draw on modern problem-solving techniques and lead to ancient secrets that, before now, have rarely been understood. Whether you decipher them for their historical significance, classical wisdom, or just for the sheer, maddening fun of it, these delightful puzzles provide a unique, entertaining, and enlightening guide to the evolution of the human mind.
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Published by Bantam Nov 01, 1993| 288 Pages| 6 x 9| ISBN 9780553372977