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


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    #