Fwd: Book Of Interest?

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at oakland.edu
Tue Feb 5 01:38:51 CET 2002


Subj:  New from Princeton University Press
Date:  Thu, 24 Jan 2002 15:59:17 -0500
From:  Listserv at pupress.princeton.edu

For Members of Princeton University Press's E-mail List for
Physics and Astroscience
History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science

We are pleased to send you the following information about this
newly published book:

The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars
An Exhibition of Surprising Structures across Dimensions
Clifford A. Pickover

Humanity's love affair with mathematics and mysticism 
reached a critical juncture, legend has it, on the back of a 
turtle in ancient China. As Clifford Pickover briefly 
recounts in this enthralling book, the most comprehensive in 
decades on magic squares, Emperor Yu was supposedly 
strolling along the Yellow River one day around 2200 B.C. 
when he spotted the creature: its shell had a series of dots 
within squares. To Yu's amazement, each row of squares 
contained fifteen dots, as did the columns and diagonals. 
When he added any two cells opposite along a line through 
the center square, like 2 and 8, he always arrived at 10. 
The turtle, unwitting inspirer of the "Yu" square, went on 
to a life of courtly comfort and fame. 

Pickover explains why Chinese emperors, Babylonian 
astrologer-priests, prehistoric cave people in France, and 
ancient Mayans of the Yucatan were convinced that magic 
squares-arrays filled with numbers or letters in certain 
arrangements-held the secret of the universe. Since the dawn 
of civilization, he writes, humans have invoked such 
patterns to ward off evil and bring good fortune. Yet who 
would have guessed that in the twenty-first century, 
mathematicians would be studying magic squares so immense 
and in so many dimensions that the objects defy ordinary 
human contemplation and visualization?

Readers are treated to a colorful history of magic squares 
and similar structures, their construction, and 
classification along with a remarkable variety of newly 
discovered objects ranging from ornate inlaid magic cubes to 
hypercubes. Illustrated examples occur throughout, with some 
patterns from the author's own experiments. The tesseracts, 
circles, spheres, and stars that he presents perfectly 
convey the age-old devotion of the math-minded to this 
Zenlike quest. Number lovers, puzzle aficionados, and math 
enthusiasts will treasure this rich and lively encyclopedia 
of one of the few areas of mathematics where the 
contributions of even nonspecialists count.

Clifford A. Pickover is the author of over twenty books on a 
broad range of topics in science and art, a columnist for 
Odyssey, and an inventor. His books include Surfing Through 
Hyperspace: Understanding Higher Universes in Six Easy 
Lessons, Wonders of Numbers: Adventures in Mathematics, 
Mind, and Meaning, and The Loom of God: Mathematical 
Tapestries at the Edge of Time.

0-691-07041-5 Cloth  $29.95 US and L19.95
384 pages. 191 line illus. 6 x 9.

If you wish to place an order, we encourage you to do so through your
local bookseller. If that is not possible, you can order through our
website by clicking on the link above.

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receiving more announcements of this kind as new books are released in
the subject areas you have selected. You may un-subscribe from this list
at any time by sending a message to Leslie at pupress.princeton.edu.

We're very interested in your comments and suggestions on this new service.
Feel free to e-mail us at Leslie at pupress.princeton.edu.


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