Synopses & Reviews
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.
Review
"While accessibly written, this book will be best appreciated by readers with experience in graduate-level mathematics or research. Highly recommended for puzzle fanatics and those with an interest in mathematics." -- Elizabeth Brown, Binghamton Univ. Library Journal
"Rosenhouse and Taalman successfully describe Sudoku from a research perspective; their descriptions and analysis of solving strategies are both clear and detailed, and their strategies for creating classic puzzles and variations are insightful. Highly recommended for puzzle fanatics and those with an interest in mathematics." -- Library Journal
"Several insightful chapters describe how to generate good sudoku puzzles...Highly recommended."--CHOICE
"The authors have produced a lovely addition to any budding or practiced mathematician's bookcase. Well-presented and readable for both the novice and the maths expert, which is an admirable feat, this book is for anyone with an interest, no matter how vague or intense, in Sudoku." -- Significance
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