Cows in the Maze

- and other mathematical explorations

21 chapters of mathematical recreation. Usually I find the professors books rather entertaining, but I must say I’m feeling a bit disappointed about this volume.

It’s off to a good start with “the Lore and Lure of Dice” - the context specific reflection on the question of probability, and the non-transitive dice. Then quickly passing Piet Hein’s board game Hex.

Why we’re introduced to Tarzan and Jane in the midst of an otherwise interesting subject, “Walking with quadropeds” - the patterns of the gaits of four legged animals, I have no idea.

Chapters 7, 8, and 9 touches upon time travel, which - as I recall it - is much more physics and sci-fi than mathematics. Luckily though chapter 10 serves a nice gem - Cone with a Twist - the sphericon.

Chapter 11 touches upon the shape of a drop, and in chapter 12 we’re back to probability and fallacies in The Interrogator’s Fallacy, where we now use Bayes’ theorem and Mathews’s formula. There’s an error in the formula printed on page 173 at the top though, it should be:
P(A|C) = P(C|A) * P (A)/ P(C)

Then we get to the title chapter: Cows in the Maze. And while it has cows and is kind of a maze - it’s not a standard maze, it’s a maze of logic statements.

Leaving the maze on a Knight’s Tour into Cat’s Cradle over Klein bottles (and Möbius bands) into Voronoï celled craters into knots, which again I found a bit disappointing.

The construction of Most Perfect Squares are matched up with Mathematical impossibilities.

The final chapter of the book regards dancing with strings forming regular solids.

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