Magic and Mistery

Martin Gardner

Why do card tricks work? How can magicians (to astonishing feats of mathematics mentally? Why do stage "mind-reading" tricks work? As a rule we simply accept these tricks as "magic"; we seldom recognize that they are really demonstrations of strict laws based on probability, sets, theory of numbers, topology, and other branches of mathematics.

This is the first book-length study of this fascinating branch of recreational mathematics. Written by one of the foremost experts on mathematical magic, it summarizes, with considerable historical data and bibliography, all previous work in this field; it is also a creative examination of laws and their exemplification, with scores of new tricks, new insights, new demonstrations. In this volume, for the first time dozens of topological tricks are explained, dozens of manipulation tricks are aligned with mathematical law.

Non-technical, detailed, and clear, this volume contains 115 sections discussing tricks with cards, dice, coins, etc.; topological tricks with handkerchiefs, cards, etc.; geometrical vanishing effects; demonstrations with pure numbers; and dozens of other topics. You will learn how Sam Loyd could make a Chinaman vanish from a printed card; how a Moebius strip works; how a Curry square can "prove" that the whole is not equal to the sum of its parts.

No skill at sleight of hand is needed to perform the more than 500 tricks described. Mathematics guarantees their success; they work for anyone. Detailed examination of laws and their application permits you to create your own problems and effects.


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