Gamepuzzles Annual Polyomino Excellence
Award for 2013 — to
Solomon W. Golomb, Ph.D.


In 2005, Kadon established a special annual award to be presented to the individual or organization that created the best new pentomino or polyomino idea of the year. Each award is a unique custom design.

For the year 2013, a lifetime award went unanimously to Solomon W. Golomb for the 60th anniversary of the genesis of the polyominoes genre in recreational mathematics. Sol introduced them as an activity for the Harvard Math Club in 1953, creating the names of the various groups and the names of the individual pieces in the pentomino series, and studying and documenting their mathematical properties. His first article, "Checker Boards and Polyominoes," appeared in the December 1954 (No. 10, Volume 61) issue of The American Mathematical Monthly.

In the May 1957 issue of Scientific American, Martin Gardner's column was based on Golomb's work and started the pentominoes' rocket ride to popularity and fame. Arthur C. Clarke became a pentomino addict and wrote them into his science fiction novel, Imperial Earth, after Stanley Kubrick changed his mind about featuring them in the movie, 2001, A Space Odyssey. Clarke also devoted a chapter to pentominoes in his autobiographical history of the space program, Ascent to Orbit, and included Kadon's address as a source of pentominoes!

In 1965, Charles Scribner's Sons published the first edition of Polyominoes. In 1994, Princeton Univ. Press brought out a revised edition (available from Kadon), and a third revision is in the works. A Japanese translation of the second edition is nearing completion. As of December 2013, over 10,000 websites showed up in a search for pentominoes.

Sol has been a professor of electrical engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, for over 50 years. The fall 2012 issue of USC Viterbi Magazine celebrated Sol for his 50 years as a pioneer of modern communications and digital media—from wireless and cell phones to digital video and Mars Rover images. The article, titled "Super Sol," was delightfully illustrated with pentominoes.

The framed, interactive Gamepuzzles award commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of polyominoes was designed by Kate Jones and custom-made by Thomas Atkinson with the Kadon laser. The pieces in the framed tray are movable and playable and spell out the word POLYOMINOES and its amazing and amusing anagram, YIPE SOLOMON (discovered by Kate Jones). It has a puzzle-like display stand and engraved plaque.

Here are the instructions for playing with the set. You can print out, cut out and use these puzzle pieces:

A formal certificate accompanied the award:

Awards we bestow

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