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Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle
     

Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle

by Jason Rosenhouse, Laura Taalman
 

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Packed with more than a hundred color illustrations and a wide variety of puzzles and brainteasers, Taking Sudoku Seriously uses this popular craze as the starting point for a fun-filled introduction to higher mathematics.

How many Sudoku solution squares are there? What shapes other than three-by-three blocks can serve as acceptable Sudoku regions? What is the

Overview

Packed with more than a hundred color illustrations and a wide variety of puzzles and brainteasers, Taking Sudoku Seriously uses this popular craze as the starting point for a fun-filled introduction to higher mathematics.

How many Sudoku solution squares are there? What shapes other than three-by-three blocks can serve as acceptable Sudoku regions? What is the fewest number of starting clues a sound Sudoku puzzle can have? Does solving Sudoku require mathematics? Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman show that answering these questions opens the door to a wealth of interesting mathematics. Indeed, they show that Sudoku puzzles and their variants are a gateway into mathematical thinking generally. Among many topics, the authors look at the notion of a Latin square—an object of long-standing interest to mathematicians—of which Sudoku squares are a special case; discuss how one finds interesting Sudoku puzzles; explore the connections between Sudoku, graph theory, and polynomials; and consider Sudoku extremes, including puzzles with the maximal number of vacant regions, with the minimal number of starting clues, and numerous others. The book concludes with a gallery of novel Sudoku variations—just pure solving fun! Most of the puzzles are original to this volume, and all solutions to the puzzles appear in the back of the book or in the text itself.

A math book and a puzzle book, Taking Sudoku Seriously will change the way readers look at Sudoku and mathematics, serving both as an introduction to mathematics for puzzle fans and as an exploration of the intricacies of Sudoku for mathematics buffs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"While accessibly written, this book will be best appreciated by readers with experience in graduate-level mathematics or research. Highly recommended for puzzle fanatics and those with an interest in mathematics." — Elizabeth Brown, Binghamton Univ. Library Journal

"Rosenhouse and Taalman successfully describe Sudoku from a research perspective; their descriptions and analysis of solving strategies are both clear and detailed, and their strategies for creating classic puzzles and variations are insightful. Highly recommended for puzzle fanatics and those with an interest in mathematics." — Library Journal

"Several insightful chapters describe how to generate good sudoku puzzles...Highly recommended."—CHOICE

"The authors have produced a lovely addition to any budding or practiced mathematician's bookcase. Well-presented and readable for both the novice and the maths expert, which is an admirable feat, this book is for anyone with an interest, no matter how vague or intense, in Sudoku." — Significance

Library Journal
James Madison University mathematics professors Rosenhouse (The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math's Most Contentious Brain Teaser) and Taalman (Integrated Calculus) use the construction and solving of Sudoku puzzles to deeply explore mathematical problems and concepts. For Sudoku enthusiasts, classic puzzles and variants abound with over 97 puzzles and solutions. For teachers, this would make an excellent classroom supplement to demonstrate applications of a variety of mathematical topics, including Latin and Graeco-Latin squares, counting techniques, equivalence classes and symmetry concepts (also group theory), polynomials and algebra, and graph coloring and embedding. Rosenhouse and Taalman successfully describe Sudoku from a research perspective; their descriptions and analysis of solving strategies are both clear and detailed, and their strategies for creating classic puzzles and variations are insightful. They based this book on Martin Gardner's The Colossal Book of Mathematics and David Joyner's Adventures in Group Theory, two titles that complement it well. VERDICT While accessibly written, this book will be best appreciated by readers with experience in graduate-level mathematics or research. Highly recommended for puzzle fanatics and those with an interest in mathematics.—Elizabeth Brown, Binghamton Univ. Libs., NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199756568
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
01/19/2012
Pages:
226
Sales rank:
941,214
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Jason Rosenhouse is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University and author of The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math's Most Contentious Brain Teaser.
Laura Taalman is Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University and co-founder of Brainfreeze Puzzles. She is the author of Integrated Calculus and co-author of three books of original Sudoku puzzles.

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