Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Win a New Martin Gardner Book

Contest #1

Update: This is week #1’s puzzle. Click here for the current one!

We’re giving away copies of the first two editions of Martin Gardner’s New Mathematical Library for the next 6 weeks. How to win? Simply solve the puzzle! I’ll pick a winner at random and announce the winner the following Wednesday.

The rules:

These are courtesy rules. On the internets, they’re hard to enforce, of course.

  • Only one entry per person. If you win once, please refrain from entering in the following weeks.
  • These books represent new editions of Gardner’s massive Scientific American corpus. Many people know these puzzles by heart. If you do, please encourage a Gardner neophyte to take a crack at it. Tell your local high school math club. [UPDATE]: If you know the puzzle, but pull off an awesome answer for it (see the next rule), by all means, enter.
  • Creative entries are encouraged, and could override the random selection process. In the spirit of a true puzzle-master, answer with a limerick, or rebus; record a short song if you’re so inclined! It’ll be posted, of course.
  • The first three puzzles will come from Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma Cube. The following three will come from Hexaflexagons, Probability Paradoxes, and the Tower of Hanoi. The corresponding book is the prize.
  • Entry selection is at the sole discretion of Jonathan. Solving the puzzle is the real joy here.
  • Please get me your answers by 5:00EST on Tuesday.

All right. Now for the fun part. These rules will be linked in subsequent contests.

Professor on the Escalator

When Professor Stanislaw Slapenarski, the Polish mathematician, walked very slowly down the down-moving escalator, he reached the bottom after taking 50 steps. As an experiment, he ran up the same escalator, one step at a time reaching the top after taking 125 steps.

Assuming that the professor went up five times as fast as he went down (e.g., took five steps to every one step before), and that he made each trip at a constant speed, how many steps would be visible if the escalator stopped running?

Answer in the form below. Use “Gardner” in the subject line. If you wish to send an attachment, please email it to:

cupblog (dot) us (at) gmail (dot) com

All information will remain confidential.


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