Recreational Mathematics - Bibliography
In general, read anything on a mathematical theme by Martin Gardner,
and read any book by Ross Honsberger. I'm sure you can find many more books than I have time to list.
Also, I've listed the year my copy was published.
Many of these books will have been reprinted since then, sometimes by different publishers.
Some of the books have many short articles of one page or less. Some of them have longer pieces.
You can judge which books are more serious.
I'm not listing books which are compilations of problems from mathematical competitions.
That would easily stretch my list by a factor of more than two.
Not do I make any claim that I have listed more than a small fraction of the books on recreational mathematics.
I'm also not listing instances of mathematics as they occur in other writings (e.g., Larry Niven
and/or Poul Anderson
science fiction stories have used converging sequences, or used constant width non-circular planar
There are also several journals which would be interesting. I've listed a few of these after the books.
Again, it will not be a complete list.
Finally, feel free to go looking on the web. I found several pages with references for
- W. W. Rouse Ball and H. M. S. Coxeter, Mathematical Recreations and Essays, University of Toronto Press 1974.
- Angela Dunn, Mathematical Bafflers, McGraw-Hill 1964.
- Clifton Fadiman, Fantasia Mathematica, Simon and Schuster 1958.
- Clifton Fadiman, The Mathematical Magπ, Simon and Schuster 1962.
- George Gamow, One Two Three ... Infinity, Bantam 1971
- Martin Gardner, Further Mathematical Diversions, George Allen and Unwin 1970.
- Martin Gardner, Knotted Doughnuts and Other Mathematical Entertainments, Freeman 1986.
- Martin Gardner, Mathematical Carnival, Mathematical Association of America 1989.
- Martin Gardner, Mathematical Circus, Knopf 1979.
- Martin Gardner, Mathematical Magic Show, Mathematical Association of America 1990.
- Martin Gardner, Mathematical Puzzles, Crowell 1961.
- Martin Gardner, Mathematical Puzzle Tales, MAA 2000.
(Originally Science Fiction Puzzle Tales, 1981.)
- Martin Gardner, New Mathematical Diversions, Mathematical Association of America 1995.
- Martin Gardner, Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers ... and the Return of Dr. Matrix, Freeman 1989.
- Martin Gardner, Riddles of the Sphinx, New Mathematical Library 32,
Mathematical Association of America 1987.
- Martin Gardner, Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments, Freeman 1988.
- Martin Gardner, Wheels, Life, and Other Mathematical Amusements, Freeman 1983.
- Ross Honsberger, Ingenuity in Mathematics, New Mathematical Library 23, Random House/Singer 1970.
- Ross Honsberger, In Pólya's Footsteps,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 19, Mathematical Association of America 1997.
- Ross Honsberger, Mathematical Chestnuts from Around the World,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 24, Mathematical Association of America 2001.
- Ross Honsberger, Mathematical Gems,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 1, Mathematical Association of America 1973.
- Ross Honsberger, Mathematical Gems II,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 2, Mathematical Association of America 1976.
- Ross Honsberger, Mathematical Gems III,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 9, Mathematical Association of America 1985.
- Ross Honsberger, Mathematical Plums,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 4, Mathematical Association of America 1979.
- Ross Honsberger, Mathematical Morsels,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 3, Mathematical Association of America 1978.
- Ross Honsberger, More Mathematical Morsels,
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions 10, Mathematical Association of America 1991.
- T. H. O'Beirne, Puzzles and Paradoxes: Fascinating Excursions in Recreational Mathematics, Dover 1984.
- Theoni Pappus, The Joy of Mathematics, Wide World Publishing/Tetra 1989. (see note)
- Theoni Pappus, More Joy of Mathematics, Wide World Publishing/Tetra 1991.
All books have some typos. However, I suggest you be a little careful reading the books by Ms. Pappus.
For example, on pages 152-153 of The Joy of Mathematics,
she refers to a planar map drawn by W. McGregor --
which was a spurious reference in one of Martin Gardner's April Fool's columns. If you can get over these problems,
there are many items that would be interesting to students in middle school or high school.
November 20, 2002: I just got the Winter 2002 catalog from
Dover Publications. On page 46, they have approximately 35 books
under the heading Puzzles and Games. You might also be interested in the texts listed on pages 19-23,
under the titles, History of Mathematics, and Elementary and Popular Mathematics.
Most of their books are under $10.
- Fibonacci Quarterly
- MAA American Mathematical Monthly
- MAA Mathematics Magazine
- Scientific American (Mathematical Recreations column).
Journal of Recreational Mathematics.
*Poul Anderson, Three Cornered Wheel,
(in The Trouble Twisters, Berkeley Medallion, Fourth Edition, 1977).
According to Wikipedia, the original short story appeared in 1963, and that agrees
wit hthe copyright on my copy.
Here is the relevant excerpt (page 53 of my copy):
"Draw an equilateral triangle, ABC. Put the point of your compasses on A and draw the arc BC.
Move to B and describe AC, then to C and describe AB. Round off the corners.
The resulting figure has constant width.
It will roll between two parallel lines tangent to it maintaining that tangency for the whole revolution.
As a matter of fact, the class of constant-width polygons is infinite. The circle is merely a limiting case."
If you want to see how this fits into the story, you could look for a copy of the book.