Magical Mathematics: The Mathematical Ideas That Animate Great Magic Tricks

    Foreword by
  • Martin Gardner

The mathematics behind some of the world's most amazing card tricks


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Oct 3, 2011
133 color illus. 14 halftones. 56 line illus. 10 tables.
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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.

Awards and Recognition

  • 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