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Mindbenders and BrainteasersMany people, when they look back, can pinpoint the precise moment when their interest in mathematics was awakened - it was when they found a puzzle that intrigued them. Perhaps they now realise the puzzle was trivial or insignificant, but at the time something about it captured their imagination and started them on a path that may have led very far - perhaps even into fundamental mathematical research. The playfulness and sense of humour inherent in a good puzzle can stay with mathematicians throughout their lives, acting as an inspiration and guide in their work.
So a puzzle is not just a puzzle, and solving "mindbenders and brainteasers" is both a lot of fun and a very good way to get a feeling for what maths is all about. By no means all the puzzles in this book are overtly mathematical - and, as the authors say in the introduction, many can be solved "after only a few moments thought" - but all are fun, and many have surprising short cuts or unexpected twists.
There are 100 puzzles, all with solutions, and a few harder ones are starred to indicate that pen and paper will probably be needed. For a taster, look at this issue's puzzle Rolling with money.
No mathematical training is necessary to enjoy this book - just a playful enquiring mind. It would be a great present for an enthusiastic 11 year old, but even quite sophisticated adults will find something to entertain them. And teachers needing inspiration for activities need look no further.
- Book details:
- Mindbenders and Brainteasers
- David Wells and Rob Eastaway
- paperback - 224 pages (2003)
- Robson Books
- ISBN: 1861055625