Most people think of mathematics as a set of useful tools designed to answer analytical questions, beginning with simple arithmetic and ending with advanced calculus. But, as Mage Merlin’s Unsolved Mathematical Mysteries shows, mathematics is filled with intriguing mysteries that take us to the edge of the unknown. This richly illustrated, story-driven volume presents sixteen of today’s greatest unsolved mathematical puzzles, all understandable by anyone with elementary math skills. These intriguing mysteries are presented to readers as puzzles that have time-traveled from Camelot, preserved in the notebook of Merlin, the wise magician in King Arthur’s court.
Our guide is Mage Maryam (named in honor of the brilliant young mathematician, the late Maryam Mirzakhani), a distant descendant of Merlin. Maryam introduces the mysteries—each of which is presented across two beautifully illustrated pages—and provides mathematical and historical context afterward. We find Merlin confronting mathematical puzzles involving tinker toys (a present for Camelot’s princesses from the sorceress Morgana), cake-slicing at a festival, Lancelot’s labyrinth, a vault for the Holy Grail, and more. Each mystery is a sword awaiting removal from its stone, capturing the beauty and power of mathematics.