Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Some puzzles

18. July 2008 • Bruce Fields
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Here’s something a little out-of-the-ordinary for your weekend:

Scientific American recently published an article by UM mathematician Igor Kriz and his REU student Paul Siegel introducing some original puzzles, two of them with flash implementations playable online:

They’re similar to the classic fifteen puzzle or Rubik’s cube in that they require taking a randomized configuration and returning it to its original order. But they each also represent one of the sporadic simple groups, fundamental mathematical structures with important Ann Arbor connections: the largest of them, the Monster Group, was first constructed by UM mathematician Robert Griess.

(Fortunately for us, as it has

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elements, the Monster group is not among those which Kriz and Siegel attempted to base a puzzle on!)

See the full article for more background.



  1. And, by the way, I haven’t worked out either of those puzzles and have no idea how hard they are. First comment to present a nice solution gets…. Uh, well, nothing really, except my respect!


       —Bruce Fields    Jul. 18 '08 - 05:09PM    #