Before Sudoku: The World of Magic Squares

Overview

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 Before Sudokus, Seymour Block and Santiago Tavares offer a crystal clear and engaging tour of...

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Overview

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 Before Sudokus, Seymour Block and Santiago Tavares offer a crystal clear and engaging 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, Before Sudokus is an entertaining book that will delight anyone who loves a challenge, including all fans of Sudoku.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Listed in Mathematical Reviews

"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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195367904
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/10/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 960,848
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 Magic Squares and Sudoku 3

3 History of Sudoku 6

4 Some Techniques for Solving Sudoku Puzzles 11

5 History of Magic Squares 20

6 When a Magic Square Is Not Square 33

7 Magic Squares and Arithmetic 71

8 Exotic Magic Squares 88

9 Other Magic Squares 109

10 Magic Squares in Art, Design, and Music 125

11 The Fourth Dimension 168

12 Practical Applications of Magic Squares 187

13 Some Puzzles for You 196

14 Further Reading 202

15 Magic Squares Terminology 204

16 Solutions to the Puzzles 209

References 225

Index 233

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