Hexaflexagons, Probability Paradoxes, and the Tower of Hanoi

M. Gardner
Cambridge University Press
Price (tentative): 
GBP 8.99
MSC main category: 
00 General

The name of the author, Martin Gardner, is well-known throughout the world. He has produced more than 60 books and many of them are still in print. The first edition of the present book was published in 1959. Since it is long time ago, the chapters in the new edition are complemented with afterwords, addendums, postscripts and numerous bibliographies. Of course, the solutions of the posed problems are also included. The contents of the book can be characterised as “recreational mathematics”. The author explains that he is not a creative mathematician but a journalist who loves math and who enjoys writing about what the real mathematicians discover. And we see that his writing is very successful. The book is divided into short chapters with very different topics. A few of them are mentioned in the title of the book. For example, hexaflexagons are a special class of flexagons which are objects created by folding strips of paper in various ways. Probability paradoxes contain, among others, the birthday paradox and some paradoxes arising from the (mis)use of conditional probability. Further problems concern, for example, the Moebius band, mathematical card tricks, memorising numbers and fallacies. The book demonstrates principles of logic, probability, geometry and other fields of mathematics. I believe that many readers will enjoy the book with great pleasure.