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Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle


Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Packed with more than a hundred color illustrations and a wide variety of puzzles and brainteasers, Taking Sudoku Seriously uses this popular craze as the starting point for a fun-filled introduction to higher mathematics.

How many Sudoku solution squares are there? What shapes other than three-by-three blocks can serve as acceptable Sudoku regions? What is the fewest number of starting clues a sound Sudoku puzzle can have? Does solving Sudoku require mathematics? Jason Rosenhouse and Laura Taalman show that answering these questions opens the door to a wealth of interesting mathematics. Indeed, they show that Sudoku puzzles and their variants are a gateway into mathematical thinking generally. Among many topics, the authors look at the notion of a Latin square--an object of long-standing interest to mathematicians--of which Sudoku squares are a special case; discuss how one finds interesting Sudoku puzzles; explore the connections between Sudoku, graph theory, and polynomials; and consider Sudoku extremes, including puzzles with the maximal number of vacant regions, with the minimal number of starting clues, and numerous others. The book concludes with a gallery of novel Sudoku variations--just pure solving fun! Most of the puzzles are original to this volume, and all solutions to the puzzles appear in the back of the book or in the text itself.

A math book and a puzzle book, Taking Sudoku Seriously will change the way readers look at Sudoku and mathematics, serving both as an introduction to mathematics for puzzle fans and as an exploration of the intricacies of Sudoku for mathematics buffs.

About the Author

Jason Rosenhouse is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University and author of The Monty Hall Problem: The Remarkable Story of Math's Most Contentious Brain Teaser.

Laura Taalman is Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University and co-founder of Brainfreeze Puzzles. She is the author of Integrated Calculus and co-author of three books of original Sudoku puzzles.

Table of Contents

1. Playing the Game

Mathematics as Applied Puzzle-Solving

2. Latin Squares

What Do Mathematicians Do?

3. Greco-Latin Squares

The Problem of the Thirty-Six Officers

4. Counting

It's Harder Than it Looks

5. Equivalence Classes

The Importance of Being Essentially Identical

6. Searching

The Art of Finding Needles in Haystacks

7. Graphs

Dots, Lines and Sudoku

8. Polynomials

We Finally Found a Use For Algebra

9. Extremes

Sudoku Pushed to its Limits

10. Epilogue

You Can Never Have Too Many Puzzles

Solutions to Puzzles

Product Details

Rosenhouse, Jason
Oxford University Press, USA
Taalman, Laura
Mathematics-Games and Puzzles
Publication Date:
120 color
6.4 x 9.3 x 0.4 in 1.338 lb

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Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World's Most Popular Pencil Puzzle New Hardcover
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Product details 226 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780199756568 Reviews:
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