My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles

Martin Gardner is one of the legends when it comes down to puzzles. This relatively short book of his (less than 100 pages) contains a wide variety of puzzles, some of which are already considered classics. Even though I didn't enjoy all of the entries - some of them were just simple mathematical exercises, there is enough quality content to justify the purchase of the book. The overall difficulty is about average, with some very easy and some very hard problems thrown around. In order to give you an idea of what to expect, I have selected several puzzles from the book, which represent its overall level.

1. A cylindrical hole six inches long has been drilled straight through the center of a sphere. What is the volume of the remaining in the sphere?

2. An airplane flies in a straight line from airport A to airport B, then back in a straight line from B to A. It travels with constant engine speed and there is no wind. Will its travel time for the same round trip be greater, less or the same if, throughout both flights, at the same engine speed, a constant wind blows from A to B?

3. Two missiles speed directly toward each other, one at 9000 miles per hour and the other at 21000 miles per hour. They start 1317 miles apart. Without using pencil and paper, calculate how far apart they are one minute before they collide.

4. If you meet two of the Jones sisters (this assumes that the two are random selections from the set of all the Jones sisters), it is an exactly even-money bet that both girls will be blue-eyed. What is your best guess as to the total number of blue-eyed Jones sisters?


MBMALP is a nice little book which will offer something to everybody. Like pretty much anything bearing the name of Martin Gardner, it is a recommended read, guaranteeing several hours of fun mental workouts.