Friday, October 17, 2008

Geek of the Week: Sam Loyd

It is really hard to come up with a good math problem. I'm not talking about the routine problems that constitute the homework questions in math classes. I mean the kind of puzzle that piques your curiosity/keeps you up at night/won't let you think about anything else. Sam Loyd didn't further mathematical theory and won't go down in history with names like Gauss, Cantor, and Newton, but he had a special talent for creating this type problem. Try the one above, his famous Donkey Puzzle. The instructions are

To solve it, cut out the three rectangles and reassemble the pieces so that the two jockeys are riding the two donkeys.

Care to try anymore: scans of Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia are available online.

No comments: