Skip main navigation

What is recreational math?

It is difficult to define exactly what recreational math is. However, it is generally taken to mean the interconnection of different fields of math, art, puzzles, magic and music. Yet …

The water jug puzzle

Here is another well-known, medieval problem, also known as the ‘water pouring puzzle’. You have an 8 litre jug full of water and two smaller jugs, one that contains 5 …

The wolf, the goat and the cabbage

Puzzles go back centuries. One of the most well-known puzzles is the ‘wolf, the goat and the cabbage’ puzzle that dates back to at least the 9th century. Known also …

Introduction to the Second Week

This week we’ll take a deeper look at some of the topics in recreational math. As you already know, recreational math is a vast field. We can’t possible cover all …

A Mathematical Card Magic Trick

Now for a surprise! At the end of each week I’m going to perform a magic trick that is based on math. It’s your job to try and find out …

Martin Gardner

It is safe to say that no other person has influenced recreational math in the twentieth century more than Martin Gardner. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1914, he taught himself …

The Gathering

Martin Gardner’s work influenced so many people, that any attempt to introduce recreational mathematicians that are alive today would do injustice to many others. However, there is a place and …

Henry Ernst Dudeney and Sam Loyd

The next recreational mathematicians we are going to meet are: Henry Ernst Dudeney and Sam Loyd. Dudeney was the better mathematician while Loyd is considered a better puzzlist. The reason …

Lewis Carroll

Recreational math has been around ever since math has, and it is usually beneficial, when learning a new subject, to give some historical background which is what we’ll do in …

Welcome from Dr. Yossi Elran

Hello! I’m Dr Yossi Elran and this course is all about recreational math. Each week will have a theme, and we’ll learn about it through videos, articles and discussion. There …

Farewell!

So! We have reached the end of the course. I would like encourage you to join one of the many groups around the world that are active in recreational math …

Mobius magic trick

Can you uncover the secret behind Yossi’s Mobius magic trick? Post your ideas below!

How Conway invented Life and Retrolife puzzles

One of John Conway’s famous quotations is “I Hate Life!”. In the following series of interviews with Numberphile’s Brady Haran, Conway explains why – and how he invented the game. …

The rules of the Game of Life

This video explains all the rules needed to explain the Game of Life. Once you’ve watched the video you can play life on one of the online Life simulators. It …

Introduction to the Game of Life

John Conway is a world-renown mathematician, who was born in Liverpool, England in 1937. He particularly enjoyed inventing all kinds of fun math games; one of the most famous of …