Hello. It’s been a while since the last Aperiodical. That’s exactly how long it takes me to prepare and write each issue, so here we are.
“Here” is not where it used to be, so I should explain — The Aperiodical is now the name of a big maths conblogerate, of which these untimely collections of miscellanea occupy a small corner. The first four editions of the Internet Maths Aperiodical are still available on ACMEScience.com, and will be for as long as Samuel wants them there.
So, on with the interesting maths links and so on!
The Jerry Slocum Collection of mechanical puzzles embodies a lifetime pursuit of the intriguing and the perplexing. The result is the largest assemblage of its kind in the world, with over 34,000 puzzles. Unlike word or jigsaw puzzles, mechanical puzzles are hand-held objects that must be manipulated to achieve a specific goal. Popular examples include the Rubik’s cube and tangrams. The puzzles in the collection represent centuries of mathematical, social, and recreational history from across five continents. When complete, this database will allow researchers and puzzle enthusiasts to search and browse the entire puzzle collection.
Archivists at Indiana University are publishing photos and descriptions of the 30,000+ puzzles in the collection donated to them by Jerry Slocum. So far just over 24,000 puzzles have been put online. You can filter the database by date, designer, maker, and type of puzzle.