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Adventures in Group Theory

Rubik's Cube, Merlin's Machine, and Other Mathematical Toys

David Joyner

second edition
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This updated and revised edition of David Joyner’s entertaining "hands-on" tour of group theory and abstract algebra brings life, levity, and practicality to the topics through mathematical toys.

Joyner uses permutation puzzles such as the Rubik’s Cube and its variants, the 15 puzzle, the Rainbow Masterball, Merlin’s Machine, the Pyraminx, and the Skewb to explain the basics of introductory algebra and group theory. Subjects covered include the Cayley graphs, symmetries, isomorphisms, wreath products, free groups, and finite fields of group theory, as well as algebraic matrices, combinatorics…

This updated and revised edition of David Joyner’s entertaining "hands-on" tour of group theory and abstract algebra brings life, levity, and practicality to the topics through mathematical toys.

Joyner uses permutation puzzles such as the Rubik’s Cube and its variants, the 15 puzzle, the Rainbow Masterball, Merlin’s Machine, the Pyraminx, and the Skewb to explain the basics of introductory algebra and group theory. Subjects covered include the Cayley graphs, symmetries, isomorphisms, wreath products, free groups, and finite fields of group theory, as well as algebraic matrices, combinatorics, and permutations.

Featuring strategies for solving the puzzles and computations illustrated using the SAGE open-source computer algebra system, the second edition of Adventures in Group Theory is perfect for mathematics enthusiasts and for use as a supplementary textbook.

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Adventures in Group Theory

David Joyner

second edition
Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
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Reviews

Reviews

Adventures in Group Theory is a tour through the algebra of several 'permutation puzzles'... If you like puzzles, this is a somewhat fun book. If you like algebra, this is a fun book. If you like puzzles and algebra, this is a really fun book.

Joyner has collated all the Rubik lore and integrated it with a self-contained introduction to group theory that equals or, more likely, exceeds what is available in typical dedicated elementary texts.

Joyner does convey some of the excitement and adventure in picking up knowledge of group theory by trying to understand Rubik's Cube. Enthusiastic students will learn a lot of mathematics from this book.

The book begins with some lecture notes of discrete mathematics and group theory. These theoretical notions are very nicely applied to some practical problems, e.g.: Rubik's cube, Rubik-like puzzle groups, crossing the rubicon, God's algorithm and graphs. The work ends with a rich bibliography and index.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
328
ISBN
9780801890130
Illustration Description
6 halftones
Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Where to Begin...
1. Elementary, my dear Watson
2. 'And you do addition?'
3. Bell ringing and other permutations
4. A procession of permutation puzzles
5. What's commutative and

Preface
Acknowledgments
Where to Begin...
1. Elementary, my dear Watson
2. 'And you do addition?'
3. Bell ringing and other permutations
4. A procession of permutation puzzles
5. What's commutative and purple?
6. Welcome to the machine
7. 'God's algorithm' and graphs
8. Symmetry and the Platonic solids
9. The illegal cube group
10. Words which move
11. The (legal) Rubik's Cube group
12. Squares, two-faces, and other subgroups
13. Other Rubik-like puzzle groups
14. Crossing the Rubicon
15. Some solution strategies
16. Coda: Questions and other directions
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

David Joyner

David Joyner is a professor in the Mathematics Department at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is the author of Adventures in Group Theory: Rubik's Cube, Merlin's Machine, and Other Mathematical Toys, also published by Johns Hopkins.
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