Tag Archives: escher

Scott Kim, Puzzles, and Games

Welcome to this week’s Math Munch!

Scott Kim

Meet Scott Kim.  He’s loved puzzles ever since he was a kid, so these days he designs puzzles for a living.  He’s been writing puzzles for Discover Magazine for years in a monthly column called “The Boggler.”  Click that link to look through some of his Boggler archives.  Here’s a cool one he wrote in 2002 about hypercubes and the 4th dimension.


In his 11-minute TED talk, Scott tells the story of his career and shares some of his favorite puzzles, games, and ambigrams.  It’s also completely clear how much he really loves what he does (as do I.)

Knights on Horseback – M.C. Escher

I’ve always loved “figure/ground” images, where the leftover space from one shape creates another recognizable shape.  M.C. Escher created some of the most famous and well-known examples of figure/ground art, but Scott Kim took the idea a step further – making an interactive puzzle game based on the ideas.  Naturally, the game is called “Figure Ground,” and it’s delightfully tricky.  You can even create your own levels.  Scott has a whole page of web games.  Go play!

Symmetrical Alphabet – Ambigram by Scott Kim

Still hungry for more Scott Kim?  He gave a presentation for the Museum of Math‘s lecture series, Math Encounters.  You can watch the full-length video here.  You can also watch an interview he did with Vi Hart by clicking here.

Finally, after you read a Math Munch (or right in the middle) do you ever have a question you wish someone could answer or something you want explained?  Or do you ever wish we could help you find more of something you liked in the post?  Well we can do that!  Just leave a comment on the bottom of the page, and the Math Munch team will be very happy to answer.  We’d love to hear from our readers.

Bon appetit!

Möbius, Escher, Hart

Happy New Year, and welcome to this week’s Math Munch!

Next week, the Math Munch team will be part of a Mathematical Art seminar, so we are featuring some great art.

Möbius Strip II (Red Ants) | M.C. Escher

Check out the Möbius strip.  It’s a topological space you can make by by putting a twist in a looped strip of paper.  It has the bizarre property of being one-sided!  Here’s a video of someone making it, but the music is pretty strange.  I found some Möbius info on an amazing math website called Cut The Knot.  Click herehere and here for three different Möbius pages.

Möbius Strip I | M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher popularized the Möbius strip by featuring them in his famous and mathematical prints.  The picture to the right gives you some idea what happens if you cut a Möbius strip in half.  You could give that a try.

If you look at these pictures, you’ll see why mathematicians love Escher’s art so much.  Escher liked to play with the impossible in his art, but several mathematicians have made his dreams reality.  Take a look at this site called Escher For Real.  If you liked that, check out the sequel, Beyond Escher for Real.

And of course, Vi Hart has done it again, this time with two pieces of Möbius art.  First, Vi bought a DIY (do-it-yourself) music box and wrote a Möbius song!  You can get your own music box here.  She also wrote a Möbius story called Wind and Mr. Ug, and the video is embedded below.

Hoping you have a mathematical week.  Bon appetit!