Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Well Darn


Martin Gardner, who teased brains with math puzzles in Scientific American for a quarter-century and who indulged his own restless curiosity by writing more than 70 books on topics as diverse as magic, philosophy and the nuances of Alice in Wonderland, died Saturday in Norman, Okla. He was 95.


3. Out with the Onion
Arrange four paper matches on a table as shown at right. They represent a martini glass. A match head goes inside to indicate the onion of a Gibson cocktail. The puzzle is to move just two matches so that the glass is re-formed, but the onion—which must stay where it is—winds up outside the glass. At the finish, the glass may be turned to the left or the right, or even be upside down, but it must be exactly the same shape as before.


In my youth I used to check the magazine rack faithfully for the next issue of Scientific American, and the first thing I turned to was the puzzles.

Here's another one:

Two missiles speed directly toward each other, one at 9,000 miles per hour and the other at 21,000 miles per hour. They start 1,317 miles apart. Without using pencil and paper, calculate how far apart they are one minute before they collide.


So long Martin. Puzzle in heaven.
(answer to matches, and a few more puzzles)

fighting101s.jpg