MAA Martin Gardner Lecture – August 6, 2022

Jason Rosenhouse

Jason Rosenhouse, James Madison University

The History & Future of Logic Puzzles

Saturday, August 6, 2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m., Salon GH

A hallmark of Martin Gardner’s writing was his ability to use games and puzzles to illuminate broader themes in mathematics. In honor of this aspect of his work, we will tell the history of logic by discussing some of its most interesting puzzles. For example, Lewis Carroll saw logic puzzles as a device for illuminating subtle questions in Aristotelian logic. Later, Raymond Smullyan took a similar view with regard to propositional and mathematical logic. We will also look to the future by considering the opportunities afforded to puzzlers by the current interest in nonclassical logics.


Jason Rosenhouse received his PhD in mathematics in 2000 from Dartmouth College, specializing in algebraic graph theory. Currently he is a professor of mathematics at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has published nearly twenty research papers in combinatorics, number theory, recreational mathematics, and science education. He is the author or editor of nine books, on subjects including the Monty Hall problem and evolution versus creationism. With Laura Taalman, he is the author of Taking Sudoku Seriously: The Math Behind the World’s Most Popular Pencil Puzzle, which received the 2012 PROSE Award for popular mathematics from the Association of American Publishers. Most recently he is the author of The Failures of Mathematical Anti-Evolutionism, published by Cambridge University Press The present talk is based on his book Games for Your Mind: The History and Future of Logic Puzzles, published by Princeton University Press. He is currently the Editor of Mathematics Magazine, published by the MAA. When not teaching or doing math, he enjoys playing chess, cooking, and reading locked room mysteries.

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