Well, I did it. A long layover in Chicago and a trans-Atlantic flight left plenty of time to wander through Ian Stewart’s “Cows in the Maze, and other mathematical explorations”. Even with pencil and paper time for a few problems…. But Don’t read it that way… Every chapter offers two or three different but related topics that can be the start of a wonderful mathematical exploration. Plow into them… if you get stuck,,,, read the clues… go to the web references, and in the end, read the answers at the end of the chapter, and then, check the “Further Reading” for each chapter at the end of the book.
I read lots of math books, and yet I kept finding new topics, or new information about old topics I thought I was up to the date on, or a twist I had never seen… it is the kind of stuff that makes a wonderful introduction for the new fan of recreational math, and a wonderful update for those of us who are…ummmm … a little older…. Remember HEX… Stewart rightfully suggests that it is time to re-introduce it to another generation. And you probably have read plenty about knot theory, but now they are playing with a new approach… applied knots so to speak…. Hey, if you don’t know a granny knot from a reef Knot, this is the place…. From Cats Cradle to the Cows in the Maze logic game for which the book is titled, good reading…. Good math…. Check it out.