The Puzzler's Elusion: A Tale of Fraud, Pursuit, and the Art of Logic

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9781560258315: The Puzzler's Elusion: A Tale of Fraud, Pursuit, and the Art of Logic
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Genius mathematician, Dr. Dennis Shasha, here sets out his latest book-length mind-twister. Made up of many smaller segments, some of which can be solved by ten year-olds and some which are more challenging, the detective work requires no more than high school geometry and junior high school algebra. In every case, imagination trumps knowledge.

The puzzles are set in a larger story of a mathematical detective named Dr. Ecco, his nephew and niece, and Professor Scarlet, the narrator. Scarlet is essentially the Watson to Dr. Ecco's Sherlock Holmes, asking the questions a reader might ask. Each puzzle is posed in a plausible if imaginary real-life setting. There are no hidden facts, no abduction here, just deductive logic and mathematical thought.

Overlaying these puzzles are the ramblings of Dr Ecco's old nemesis, Benjamin Baskerhound. He seems to be on the run, but he's trying to tell Ecco his whereabouts in a way that only Ecco will understand. The evidence builds up and readers are invited to send in their solutions. The winner will receive a pre-paid trip to the home of modern mathematics, Sir Isaac Newton's Greenwich Observatory.

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About the Author:

Dr. Dennis Shasha is a professor of computer science at the Courant Institute of NYU where he works with biologists on pattern discovery for microarrays, combinatorial design, and network inference; and with physicists and financial people on algorithms for time series. Other areas of interest include database tuning, tree and graph matching, and cryptographic file systems. Because he "likes to type", he has written four books of puzzles, a biography about great computer scientists, and technical books about database tuning, biological pattern recognition and time series. He also writes the puzzle columns for Scientific American and Dr. Dobb's Journal.

After graduating from Yale, Shasha worked for IBM designing circuits and microcode. He completed his Ph.D. at Harvard in 1984. He has written many books, including four involving the mathematical detective Dr. Ecco for W.H. Freeman and W.W. Norton, and a book of biographies about great computer scientists called Out of Their Minds: the lives and discoveries of 15 great computer scientists. In addition, he has co-written fifty journal papers, sixty conference papers, and seven patents.

Review:

"Dennis Shasha is the best puzzle writer alive!" -- Professor David Gelernter, Yale University

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