Before Sudoku

Before Sudoku : The World of Magic Squares

3.83 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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Sudoku has become a vastly popular and even addictive game. But fans may not know that Sudoku is a recent offshoot of the venerable Magic Square, which dates back over 4,000 years to ancient China, where it was literally considered magical. Indeed, Magic Squares have fascinated centuries of mystics, astrologers, and some of the world's most brilliant thinkers, including Ben Franklin. In Sudoku and Magic Squares, Seymour Block and Santiago Tavares offer a crystal clear and engaging tour tour of Magic Squares, tracing their footsteps through through ancient and medieval history and illuminating their uses in art and design, statistics and electronics. The book provides a delightful account of a mind-boggling variety of magical squares, ranging from simple 3 x 3 and squares, to magic cubes, magic circles, magic pyramids, and even "the Beastly Magical Square," whose magic sum is 666. Of course, the authors also cover Sudoku, describing how the game became a world-wide phenomenon and revealing various strategies for solving the puzzles.
And along the way, the book offers readers many fascinating facts-for instance, Sudoku was invented in 1979 by an American architect living in Indianapolis and was originally called Number Place. Oddly enough, though the puzzle is known around the world by its Japanese name (which means "single numbers"), many Japanese still call it Number Place. We also learn that in a 4 x 4 magic square, there are 880 different solutions that will yield the magic sum of 34-a surprisingly large number until you remember that there are over 2.6 trillion possible combinations. Filled with lots of original puzzles for gamers to solve, Sudoku and Magic Squares is an entertaining book that will delight anyone who loves a challenge, including all fans of Sudoku.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 137.16 x 205.74 x 22.86mm | 226.8g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 50 halftones, 260 line illustrations
  • 0195367901
  • 9780195367904
  • 1,143,199

About Seymour S. Block

Both authors are retired from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Seymour Block, Ph.D., is a past president of the American Chemical Society, though he long ago became an aficionado of and expert on Ben Franklin. He's written two well-reviewed trade books on Franklin, not to mention several academic books in chemistry/chemical engineering (including one chemE reference book now in its 5th edition). Block has been
interviewed on the History Channel on Franklin and his inventions and has written a number of popular articles on him, most recently the feature cover article for American History magazine (February 2006, "Benjamin Franklin: America's Inventor"). Santiago Tavares, Ph.D., has researched applied and
computational math and is an author of one academic/professional math book.
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Review quote

The authors, both chemical engineers, have written a concise survey of a fascinating family of integer matrices. I will keep B&T in my library and I recommend it as a good starting point for newcomers to the field for the variety of magical squares introduced; however B&T contains no significant linear algebra. * The Bulletin of the International Linear Algebra Society *
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Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. Magic Squares and Sudoku ; 3. History of Sudoku ; 4. Some Techniques for Solving Sudoku Puzzles ; 5. History of Magic Squares ; 7. Magic Squares and Arithmetic ; 8. Exotic Magic Squares ; 9. Other Magic Squares ; 10. Magic Squares in Art and Design ; 11. The Fourth Dimension ; 12. Practical Applications of Magic Squares ; 13. Some Puzzles for You ; 14
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Rating details

12 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 17% (2)
4 50% (6)
3 33% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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