A Flowering of Mathematical Art
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I1 have argued that the creation of mathematical structures is an art. The previous column discussed a tiny genre of that art: numeration systems. You can’t describe that genre as “flowering.” But activity is most definitely blossoming in another genre. Around the world, hundreds of artists are right now creating puzzles of subtlety, depth, and charm. We are in the midst of a renaissance of logic puzzles.
The flowering began with the discovery in 2004 in England, of the discovery in 1980 in Japan, of the invention in 1979 in the United States, of the puzzle type known today as sudoku. By that time, the Japanese puzzle magazine Nikoli had already birthed a colony of puzzle artists. That story is described in an earlier column on Alex Bellos’s Puzzle Ninja.2 The popularity of sudoku and similar puzzles sparked an explosion of puzzle construction and puzzle invention.