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Magical Mathematics:
The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks
Persi Diaconis & Ron Graham
With a foreword by Martin Gardner

Winner of the 2013 Euler Book Prize, Mathematical Association of America
Honorable Mention for the 2012 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Popular Science & Popular Mathematics, Association of American Publishers

Paperback | October 2015 | $19.95 | £11.95 | ISBN: 9780691169774
Hardcover | 2011 | $29.95 | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780691151649
264 pp. | 8 1/2 x 9 1/2 | 133 color illus. 14 halftones. 56 line illus. 10 tables.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400839384 |
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Chapter 1[PDF] pdf-icon | Chapter 5 [PDF] pdf-icon

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Watch Persi Diaconis, Chronicle of Higher Education

Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of fun-to-perform card tricks—and the profound mathematical ideas behind them—that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it. Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today’s mathematical knowledge.

Diaconis and Graham tell the stories—and reveal the best tricks—of the eccentric and brilliant inventors of mathematical magic. The book exposes old gambling secrets through the mathematics of shuffling cards, explains the classic street-gambling scam of three-card Monte, traces the history of mathematical magic back to the oldest mathematical trick—and much more.

Persi Diaconis is professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University, and a former professional magician. Ron Graham is professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of California, San Diego, and a former professional juggler.

Review:

"[F]ascinating. . . . Magical Mathematics [is] a dazzling tour of math-based magic tricks. . . . Lovers of recreational mathematics, and especially fans of the late Martin Gardner, who contributed the foreword, will find many pleasures in Magical Mathematics. And while exposing magic secrets in a book intended for the general public may raise hackles among some old-guard magicians, exploring the math behind these tricks will, in truth, only deepen the mystery. For, as the authors remind us, sometimes the methods are as magical as the tricks themselves."--Alex Stone, Wall Street Journal

"The Riemann hypothesis, the Mandelbrot set, Fermat's last theorem--these mathematical notions and others underlie all manner of magic tricks. Mathematicians Persi Diaconis--also a card magician--and Ron Graham--also a juggler--unveil the connections between magic and math in this well-illustrated volume."--Scientific American

"Writing for the public, the two authors share their passions, teaching sophisticated mathematical concepts along with interesting card tricks, which rely upon those principles for their workings."--GENII: The Conjurors' Magazine

"[I]t is simply a beautiful book. The design, layout, typography, even the paper is beautiful. . . . [T]his is one of the most fun, engaging new popular mathematics books I've seen in a long time."--The Math Less Traveled Blog

"The authors are master storytellers. . . . [T]he authors offer advice and recommendations for further pursuits in mathematics, magic and juggling."--Cut-the-Knot blog

"Well known and highly respected in the mathematical community, Diaconis and Graham have produced a work that completely lives up to expectations. It contains descriptions of magic tricks as viewed by an audience, the mathematics that make them possible, and clear explanations to help you--with a little practice--amaze your friends."--Library Journal

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