Plus Advent Calendar Door #21: Why do mathematicians play games?


Not just fun and games.

Playing games is fun — and it's obvious that being good at maths can help you in many difficult games, such as chess. But mathematicians like games for another reason too. They are interested in games because they can help us understand why we humans (and other animals) behave as we do. A whole area of mathematics, called game theory, has been developed to cast some light on our behaviour, especially the way we make decisions. To find out more, and to see how game theory can help understand a nuclear arms race, read this article.

This article was inspired by content on Wild Maths, which encourages students to explore maths beyond the classroom and is designed to nurture mathematical creativity. The site is aimed at 7 to 16 year-olds, but open to all. It provides games, investigations, stories and spaces to explore, where discoveries are to be made. Some have starting points, some a big question and others offer you a free space to investigate.

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