## The Last Recreations: Hydras, Eggs, and Other Mathematical MystificationsOf 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.

### Contents

The Wonders of a Planiverse | 1 |

Bulgarian Solitaire and Other Seemingly Endless Tasks | 27 |

Fun with Eggs Part I | 45 |

The Topology of Knots | 67 |

MPireMaps | 85 |

Directed Graphs and Cannibals | 101 |

Dinner Guests Schoolgirls and Handcuffed Prisoners | 121 |

The Monster and Other Sporadic Groups | 139 |

Checker Recreations Part II | 221 |

Modulo Arithmetic and Hummers Wicked Witch | 233 |

Lavinia Seeks a Room and Other Problems | 255 |

The Symmetry Creations of Scott Kim | 269 |

Parabolas | 285 |

NonEuclidean Geometry | 303 |

Voting Mathematics | 317 |

A Toroidal Paradox and Other Problems | 331 |

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angle approval voting Astrian ball Black Bulgarian solitaire called candidate cards cell checkers chess circle color column complete digraph congruent conjecture corners crossings cube curve cyclic Dewdney digraph disk distance edges ellipse equal Euclidean example finite number five four four-color Graph Theory hyperbolic infinite integers John Horton Conway Journal Kim's kings knot knot theory lattice loop mathematician minimal Steiner tree non-Euclidean odd number pair paper parabola parallel postulate partition path pattern permutations Petersen graph pigeonhole principle plane planiverse play player points position possible prime problem proof prove published puzzle queens readers rotated Scientific American segment sequence shown in Figure shows side small numbers Snarks solution spots square Steiner tree Steiner triple systems steriversal symmetry taxicab geometry theorem tion triangles triplets trivalent graphs trivial University vertex voters voting White