Mental Knots

Published on Thursday, August 25, 2005 in , , , , , ,

The links in this entry, if nothing else, will at least get you wondering, "How do people come up with this stuff?"

Don't worry. I'll start simply. Mathematician and magician Dr. Arthur Benjamin has come up with an amazing proof that 2 + 11 - 1 = 12. How amazing? His proof (Word file) uses no numbers whatsoever!

If you like that file, you might want to check out some of Dr. Benjamin's other research papers. Regular readers of this blog will especially be interested in ths Mathematical Magic Word file and the "Magic Squares, Indeed!" PDF file.

Dr. Benjamin is also a co-editor of Math Horizons Magazine. Very little of the magazine's content is available online, but you can find the occasional gems, such as the winning entry in their Pi Mnemonics contest, and the mind-numbing SRAT (Self-Referential Aptitude Test).

Turning to other, earlier, papers, here's a reprint of the 1910 booklet Magician's Tricks: How They are Done, by Henry Hatton and Adrian Plate. This book is where many now-classic memory feats were first published, such as memorizing card, long word lists and the mnemonic version of the cube root trick.

Surprisingly, there are people who collect mnemonics on varying subjects, especially those type of things you could really use in school. My favorite mnemonic collections can be found at Amanda's Mnemonics Page and MNEMONICS: OR, MEMORIA TECHNICA.

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