Recreational mathematics

Recreational mathematics is an umbrella term for mathematics carried out for recreation, self-education and self-entertainment, rather than as a fully serious professional activity. It often involves mathematical puzzles and games.

Many problems in this field require no knowledge of advanced mathematics and recreational mathematics often attracts the curiosity of amateur mathematicians, inspiring their further study of the subject.[1]

Topics

This genre of mathematics encompasses logic puzzles and other deductive puzzles, the aesthetics of mathematics, and peculiar or amusing stories and coincidences about mathematics, and the personal lives of mathematicians. Some of the more well-known topics in recreational mathematics are mathematical chess problems, magic squares and fractals.

Mathematical games

Mathematical games are multiplayer games whose rules, strategies, and outcomes can be studied and explained using mathematics. The players of the game may not need to use explicit mathematics in order to play mathematical games. For example, Mancala is a mathematical game, because mathematicians can study it using combinatorial game theory, but no mathematics is necessary in order to play it.

Mathematical puzzles

Mathematical puzzles require mathematics in order to solve them. They have specific rules, as do multiplayer games, but mathematical puzzles don't usually involve competition between two or more players. Instead, in order to solve such a puzzle, the solver must find a solution that satisfies the given conditions.

Logic puzzles are a common type of mathematical puzzle. Conway's Game of Life and fractals are also considered mathematical puzzles, even though the solver only interacts with them by providing a set of initial conditions.

Sometimes, mathematical puzzles are referred to as mathematical games as well.

Others

Other curiosities and pastimes of non-trivial mathematical interest:

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Publications

In popular culture
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People

The foremost advocates of recreational mathematics have included:

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References

1. ^ Kulkarni, D. Enjoying Math: Learning Problem Solving With KenKen Puzzles, A textbook for teaching with KenKen Puzzles.
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