Bridges 2017 — gamepuzzles visit Canada

Bridges is an annual conference that celebrates the connections between math, art, architecture, music, poetry and education.

The conferences are held in various countries, and 2017 was Canada's turn to host it on the elegant campus of the University of Waterloo, Canada, July 27-30, 2017. A great slate of speakers presented talks on a mind-stretching variety of topics to do with math, geometry, artistry, innovations and research. A high point was the keynote talk by Damian Kulash of the fantastic rock and video musician group, OK Go.

Kadon participated in four areas of the conference: art, math, education, and poetry.

Art—Two of our largest sets were on display in the general Art Exhibition: Rhom-Antics and Bear Hugs.

Math—Kate presented a short paper on "The Surprising Versatility of Edge-Matching Sets" about our new little MiniMatch-I puzzle. Or see it as a PowerPoint slide show or the formal proceedings entry.

Education—A small selection of our puzzles was on display for play and purchase for several days, and became a well-crowded activity area during the Family Day open to the public on Sunday.

Kate and Alex challenge young minds at the gamepuzzles table.

Poetry—During the math-poetry session, Kate read "Stomachion, the Quest", a poem about the six-month research project analyzing the 536x2 solutions of the Tricolor Stomachion (our Archimedes' Square puzzle), pursued with great energy by Joe Marasco, Alex Streif, and Kate Jones. Here is the verse:

Stomachion, the Quest

What marvel of antiquity be this,
This fabled square of 14 parts comprised?
Behold the oldest puzzle ever told,
Our heritage of mind, millennia old.

Now scholars scrambled to decode, with zest,
Archimedesí much-prized Palimpsest,
A scroll long lost, inscribed by ancient hands,
A rarest find from Greek and Latin lands.

Then three-fold color sought to split the tiles
That matchless equal areas beguile.
Five hundred thirty-six assemblies wait
Concordances and catalogs to mate

As solvers brave and eager in their sport
The joined and varied regions rightly sort.
That tale is told with elegance and charm
As Joe and team each gave a leg and arm.

— Kate Jones

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