Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Quadramagicology," by Dana Mackenzie. New Scientist, 20/27 December 2003,pages 50-53.

This article discusses magic squares, which are square arrays of numbers inwhich the rows, columns, and diagonals add up to the same number. Althoughmagic squares have been looke upon as fun puzzles rather than real mathematics,Mackenzie says that this has now changed. "[M]athematicians have begun asystematic exploration of the rich vein of magic squares that lies beneaththose found by amateurs," he writes. "Using powerful tools from algebra andgeometry, they can now predict exactly how many magic squares of a given typeare out there."

--- Allyn Jackson