A quarter-century of recreational mathematics

By Martin Gardner

My “Mathematical Games” column began in the December 1956 issue of Scientific American with an article on hexaflexagons. These curious structures, created by folding an ordinary strip of paper into a hexagon and then gluing the ends together, could be turned inside out repeatedly, revealing one or more hidden faces. The structures were invented in 1939 by a group of Princeton University graduate students. Hexaflexagons are fun to play with, but more important, they show the link between recreational puzzles and “serious” mathematics: one of their inventors was Richard Feynman, who went on to become one of the most famous theoretical physicists of the century…More>>


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