Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks

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Princeton University Press, Oct 23, 2011 - Games - 244 pages
7 Reviews

Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of amazing, fun-to-perform card tricks--and the profound mathematical ideas behind them--that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it. Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today's mathematical knowledge. For example, the Gilbreath Principle--a fantastic effect where the cards remain in control despite being shuffled--is found to share an intimate connection with the Mandelbrot set. Other card tricks link to the mathematical secrets of combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, topology, the Riemann hypothesis, and even Fermat's last theorem.

Diaconis and Graham are mathematicians as well as skilled performers with decades of professional experience between them. In this book they share a wealth of conjuring lore, including some closely guarded secrets of legendary magicians. Magical Mathematics covers the mathematics of juggling and shows how the I Ching connects to the history of probability and magic tricks both old and new. It tells the stories--and reveals the best tricks--of the eccentric and brilliant inventors of mathematical magic. Magical Mathematics exposes old gambling secrets through the mathematics of shuffling cards, explains the classic street-gambling scam of three-card monte, traces the history of mathematical magic back to the thirteenth century and the oldest mathematical trick--and much more.

  

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Review: Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks

User Review  - Pix Smith - Goodreads

Good book, and interesting if you are into the math. Sometimes the concepts took a couple of reads, but some of that has to do with the page breaks and layout, for which I can't really fault the ... Read full review

Review: Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks

User Review  - Yofish - Goodreads

A little disappointing. I mean, this was Diaconis! (and Ron Graham). But just really bad at both math and magic. Not enough detail on the math (and I don't think that it was just because I wanted more ... Read full review

Contents

1 MATHEMATICS IN THE AIR
1
2 IN CYCLES
17
3 IS THIS STUFF ACTUALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING?
30
4 UNIVERSAL CYCLES
47
5 FROM THE GILBREATH PRINCIPLE TO THE MANDELBROT SET
61
6 NEAT SHUFFLES
84
7 THE OLDEST MATHEMATICAL ENTERTAINMENT?
103
8 MAGIC IN THE BOOK OF CHANGES
119
9 WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN
137
10 STARS OF MATHEMATICAL MAGIC AND SOME OF THE BEST TRICKS IN THE BOOK
153
11 GOING FURTHER
220
12 ON SECRETS
225
Notes
231
Index
239
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Persi Diaconis is professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University and a professional magician. Ron Graham is professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of California, San Diego, and a professional juggler.

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