The famous trick donkeys: a Sam Loyd puzzle

Several years ago a colleague and I made paper copies of this famous old puzzle to distribute to prospective mathematics students. It is a fantastic puzzle, so I thought I’d post it here again. From what I can tell, the puzzle was invented in 1871 by Sam Loyd (1842–1911), probably history’s most famous “puzzler.” It…

Freeman Dyson and a mathematical puzzle in the NY Times

On March 25 the New York Times Magazine had an article about Freeman Dyson, “The Civil Heretic.” It contains an interesting mathematical problem. At Jason, taking problems to Dyson is something of a parlor trick. A group of scientists will be sitting around the cafeteria, and one will idly wonder if there is an integer…

What is wrong with this picture?

This image illustrating the Pythagorean Theorem was created by the artist Mel Bochner. It appears on the cover of the January 2009 issue of the College Mathematics Journal. What is wrong with it? For the answer, visit the 360 blog.

KenKen

I just discovered a cool new Sudoku-like game called KenKen. A KenKen board is an nxn grid, and the object is to place the numbers 1 to n in each square subject to the following rules. Do not repeat a number in any row or column. The numbers in each heavily outlined set of squares,…