The Last Recreations: Hydras, Eggs, and Other Mathematical Mystifications (Google eBook)
Of all of Martin Gardner's writings, none gained him a wider audience or was more central to his reputation than his Mathematical Recreations column in "Scientific American", which virtually defined the genre of popular mathematics writing for a generation. Flatland, Hydras and Eggs: Mathematical Mystifications will be the final collection of these columns, covering a period roughly from 1979 to Gardner's retirement as a regular columnist in 1986. The notable trend over Gardner's career is the increasing sophistication of the mathematics he has been able to translate into his famously lucid prose. These columns show him at the top of his form and are not to be missed by anyone with an interest in mathematics. As always in his published collections, Gardner includes letters received from mathematicians and other commenting on the ideas presented in the columns.
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It's written by Martin Gardner, the mathematics columnist from Scientific American, need I say more? OK, the writing is clear and concise. The chapter on parabolas, (the only one I've read so far), is excellent. It contains historical anecdotes, string and t-square constructions, straightedge constructions, and demonstrates the different figures that can be made by rotating a parabola and tracing its focus. Check it out of your local library and my bet is you won't have wasted your time.
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Fun with Eggs Part I
The Topology of Knots
Directed Graphs and Cannibals
Dinner Guests Schoolgirls and Handcuffed Prisoners
The Monster and Other Sporadic Groups
Checker Recreations Part II
Modulo Arithmetic and Hummers Wicked Witch
Lavinia Seeks a Room and Other Problems
The Symmetry Creations of Scott Kim
A Toroidal Paradox and Other Problems