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Magician Merlin Presents Unsolved Math Problems in USD Professor’s New Book

Magician Merlin Presents Unsolved Math Problems in USD Professor’s New Book

A new book by Satyan Devadoss uses themes and characters from the mythical realm of Camelot to explore 16 of the world’s most interesting unsolved math problems. Readers of “Mage Merlin’s Unsolved Mathematical Mysteries” will share in the excitement of exploring math puzzles that even the wise magician Merlin, and the greatest mathematical minds since, couldn’t solve.

“This book offers two irresistible things to get people excited about math: a mythical setting and a hands-on journey into the unknown,” said Devadoss, co-author of the book and Fletcher Jones Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of San Diego. “Readers are invited to go math off-roading in places no one has gone before.”

The richly illustrated, story-driven volume uses characters from Camelot — King Arthur, Excalibur, the Round Table, the Holy Grail — as entry points into the puzzles, which are accessible to anyone with basic math skills.

“Math is the gatekeeper to the world of STEM, but math is a language that few people feel they can understand,” said Devadoss. “Our approach with this book is to grant everyone access to the table.”

The audience for the book includes parents of junior high and older children looking to get their kids excited about math, puzzle-lovers who appreciate a physical book that encourages exploration using paper, crayons, strings, boxes and scissors, and educators who are seeking ways to improve math education for K-12 and beyond.

“Mage Merlin’s Unsolved Mathematical Mysteries” by Satyan Devadoss and Matt Harvey is now available through MIT Press and can be ordered from bookstores everywhere.

You can listen to an extended interview with Devadoss about his book on the New Book Network.

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