Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Magic squares cornered," by Martin Gardner. Nature, 17 September 1998,pages 216-217.

Magic squares have fascinated mathematicians for centuries, anddevelopments in the theory are still being made. Developed in China25 centuries ago, a magic square is an n x n array of distinctintegers such that each row, column, and main diagonal have the samesum.

At the age of 85, Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw has extended the limits ofthe subject. In a book written with David Bree, Dame Kathleenresolves some big questions about so-called "most perfect" squares,giving a solution to one of the most challenging problems inmagic-square theory.

--- Benjamin Stein

American Mathematical Society