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Biographies index Henry Ernest Dudeney came from a family which had a mathematical tradition and also a tradition of school teaching. Henry had one older brother Thomas born about He had four younger sisters Lucy born about , Kate born about , Emily born about , and Alice born about Henry learnt to play chess at a young age and soon became interested in chess problems.
From the age of nine he was composing problems and puzzles which he published in a local paper. Although he only had a basic education, never attending college, he had a particular interest in mathematics and studied mathematics and its history in his spare time. As he pointed out:- The history of mathematical puzzles entails nothing short of the actual story of the beginnings and development of exact thinking in man.
Certainly, as he realised in reading about the history of mathematics, its development is closely linked with puzzle solving. Dudeney worked as a clerk in the Civil Service from the age of 13 but continued to study mathematics and chess. He began to write articles for magazines and joined a group of authors which included Arthur Conan Doyle. In Dudeney married and his wife, a popular novelist of the day, helped to make the family very well off financially.
Sam Loyd started sending his puzzles to England in and a correspondence started between him and Dudeney. The two were the main creators of mathematical puzzles and recreations of their day and it was natural that they should exchange ideas. Of the two puzzle experts it was Dudeney who showed the more subtle mathematical skills.
He sent a large number of his puzzles to Loyd and became very upset when Loyd began to publish them under his own name. We have indicated that Dudeney had a mathematical talent and this is very clear looking at some of his famous puzzles. He had a model made which was hinged in such a way that it could be formed into a square or an equilateral triangle. The Royal Society was interested in this geometrical novelty and in Dudeney demonstrated his geometrical puzzle at a meeting of the Society.
He wrote about the psychology of puzzles in the Prefaces to some of his books:- The fact is that our lives are largely spent in solving puzzles; for what is a puzzle but a perplexing question?
And from our childhood upwards we are perpetually asking questions or trying to answer them. Again he wrote:- The solving of puzzles consists merely in the employment of our reasoning faculties, and our mental hospitals are built expressly for those unfortunate people who cannot solve puzzles. One would have to say that there is rather a lot of evidence against this latter point of view!
As we mentioned, chess was one of his first encounters with puzzles and it remained an interest throughout his life. He was a founding member of the British Chess Problem Society in , chairing its first meeting. Like Loyd , Dudeney produced many non-standard chess problems such as one where the White pieces are in their initial position, while Black only has a King which is on its own initial square.
The problem is to find a mate in 6 for White. A proof is given in [ 3 ] for n even, but the case of n odd still appears to be open.
First one called Catch the hogs which is from The Canterbury Puzzles :- In the illustration Hendrick H and Katrun K are seen engaged in the exhilarating sport of attempting the capture of a couple of hogs BP the black pig, and WP the white pig.
Why did they fail? He then goes on to explain the rules of the game. Player one moves first and moves both Hendrick H and Katrun K one square each in any direction, but not diagonally. Player two then moves the hogs BP and WP each one square, again not diagonally. Try the game and see if Hendrick and Katrun can catch the hogs! Here is another problem from The Canterbury Puzzles which is easily solved with a little mathematics:- It used to be told at St Edmondsbury that many years ago they were overrun with mice that the good abbot gave orders that all the cats from the country round should be obtained to exterminate the vermin.
A record was kept, and at the end of the year it was found that every cat had killed an equal number of mice, and the total was exactly mice. How many cats do you suppose there were? Other puzzles simply reduced to systems of linear equations if a mathematical solution was sought. For example Problem 3 from Amusements in Mathematics:- Three countrymen met at a cattle market. Resting at noon within a tavern old, They all agreed to have a feast together. So, for two shillings more than his due share Each honest man who had remained was bled.
They settled later with those rogues, no doubt. How many were they when they first set out? Dudeney invented something he called Verbal Arithmetic.
Find the sum. Finally let us give an example of a geometrical problem from Amusements in Mathematics. He wished to cut them into as few pieces as possible so that they could be fitted together, without waste, to form a perfectly square table-top.
How could he have done it? There is no necessity to give measurements, for if the smaller piece which is half a square be made a little too large or small, it will not effect the method of solution.
Henry Ernest Dudeney
Biographies index Henry Ernest Dudeney came from a family which had a mathematical tradition and also a tradition of school teaching. Henry had one older brother Thomas born about He had four younger sisters Lucy born about , Kate born about , Emily born about , and Alice born about Henry learnt to play chess at a young age and soon became interested in chess problems. From the age of nine he was composing problems and puzzles which he published in a local paper. Although he only had a basic education, never attending college, he had a particular interest in mathematics and studied mathematics and its history in his spare time.
Amusements in Mathematics (PDF)
The puzzles in this department are roughly thrown together in classes for the convenience of the reader. Some are very easy, others quite difficult. But they are not arranged in any order of difficulty—and this is intentional, for it is well that the solver should not be warned that a puzzle is just what it seems to be. Itmay, therefore, prove to be quite as simple as it looks, or it may contain some pitfall into which, through want of care or over-confidence, we may stumble.
Amusements in Mathematics