History of Mathematical Puzzles

Published: 2019-10-08 07:30:00
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Puzzles are games, toys, or problems which test the persons knowledge or ingenuity. Within a puzzle, an individual is required to assemble smithereens together in a logical sequence to arrive at the precise elucidation. There are a variety of puzzles for various ages for example word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, logic puzzles and the number puzzles (Novak & Tassell, 2015). The puzzles make an integral part of the recreational mathematics. They involve specific rules as the multiplayer video games of which they usually do not involve competition between two or more players. To solve puzzles, persons are required to find a solution which satisfies a certain condition. Mathematics is required to solve mathematical puzzles (Gallagher, S. (2015). An example of mathematical puzzles is logic puzzles. Different people contributed in the field of mathematics of which include Rhind, Archimedes, Dodgson, Fibonacci, and Cardano. The research, therefore, seeks to illustrate the history of mathematical puzzles.

Games and mathematical models have ever been in evidence since the time man began to pose mathematical difficulties. The antiquity of arithmetic is brimming with the examples of games, puzzles and the entertainment problems which have a fostering advancement of the new disciplines and have ignited further research. There is an important connection which exists between the problems originally predestined to please and the mathematical models critical to geometry, graph theory, number theory, optimization concept and the combinatorics (Gallagher, S. (2015).

The predisposition to seek entertainment and diversion due to the motivating force has led to an unintended disclosure of the mathematical facts while also meddling with the mathematical lucidity (Chemla & Ma, 2015). The fame of the games and the mathematical puzzles endures as they realize the necessity for the digression, the need to attain mastery over a perplexing subject problem or merely to test the peoples intellectual aptitudes. Mathematical Amusements provide a liberal playing ground to both a professional and the amateur mathematician (Nazaretyan, 2015).

One of the best examples of the Egyptian mathematics is Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. It was named after a Scottish antiquarian, Alexander Rhind who procured the papyrus in the year 1858 in Egypt, Luxor area (Gallagher, S. (2015). Apparently, it was found during the illegal excavations near Ramesseum which dates back to around 1650 BC. In 1865, the British Museum in which the papyrus is kept acquired it along with the Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll which was also owned by Alexander Rind. Other fragments of the papyri are being held in New York by the Brooklyn Museum. It is among the well-known mathematical Papyri along with the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus. The Moscow Mathematical model is older than the Rhind Papyrus but smaller.

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and a physicist. He is regarded as the leading scientist in classical antiquity. Archimedes projected the current calculus and examination through applying the theories of infinitesimals with the technique of exhaustion to descend and scrupulously verify a variety of geometrical hypotheses which include volume and surface area of the sphere, the area of the circle and area under the parabola (Ehrhardt, 2015). He also invented the partition of the square into 14 portions which led to the similar game to that of Tangrams, which involve the making of figures from the 14 portions. Tangrams originate from China, and they do require mathematical skill to solve.

Charles Dodgson worked specifically in the field of mathematical logic, geometry, linear, recreational mathematics and matrix algebra in the discipline of mathematics producing almost a dozen books in his actual name. He developed new ideas in the linear algebra and probability. Some of his works were not published until his death. He obtained financial security as a result of his occupation in the Christ Church as a mathematical lecturer. In the late 20th century, his mathematical work enticed renewed interests. The book of Martin Gardener on diagrams and logic machineries and the William Bartleys retrospective periodical of the subsequent part of the symbolic logic volume of Carroll have flickered a reexamination of Carrolls contribution to symbolic lucidity (Gallagher, S. (2015). In 1990, the discovery of extra ciphers which Carroll had assembled in toting to the Memoria Technica has shown that he used erudite mathematical concepts in their formation.Fibonacci invented a sequence whereby each character is a totality of the preceding two (Ehrhardt, 2015). Today, a lot of mathematics has come out from this arrangement. Fibonacci sequence is christened after Leonardo of Pisa, Italian mathematicians known by name as Fibonacci. His book Liber Abaci in 1202, introduced a sequence to the mathematics of Western European even though earlier the sequence in Indian mathematics, the sequence was known as Virahanka (Nazaretyan, 2015). In the modern convention, the sequence is designated as Liber Abaci. Different puzzles make use of his numbers. One of them is the brick game.

Gerolamo Cardano was an Italian polymath, physician, chemist, biologist, gambler, writer and mathematician. He is considered the greatest statistician of the regeneration (Ehrhardt, 2015). He was amongst the key figure in the establishment of probability and was also the first introducer of binomial theorem and binomial coefficients in the western world. He partially described and invented numerous mechanical devices which included the combination lock, gimbal that consisted of three concentric rings that allowed supporting gyroscope to rotate freely. Actually, he made massive contributions to the hypocycloids. The spawning circles were later termed as Cardano Circles and were subsequently used in the creation of the fast speediness printing presses.


Chemla, K., & Ma, B. (2015). How do the earliest known mathematical writings highlight the state's management of grains in early imperial China?. Archive for History of Exact Sciences, 69(1), 1-53.

Ehrhardt, C. (2015). Tactics: In search of a long-term mathematical project (18441896). Historia Mathematica, 42436-467.

Gallagher, S. (2015). Doing the math: Calculating the role of evolution and enculturation in the origins of geometrical and mathematical reasoning. Progress In Biophysics And Molecular Biology, 119(Integral Biomathics: Life Sciences, Mathematics, and Phenomenological Philosophy), 341-346.

Nazaretyan, A. P. (2015). Mega-History and the 21st Century Singularity Puzzle. Philosophy & Cosmology, 1584.Novak, E., & Tassell, J. (2015). Full Length Article: Using video game play to improve education-majors mathematical performance: An experimental study. Computers In Human Behavior, 53124-130.


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