Thursday, November 06, 2003
Erich Friedman Likes to Play
For example, take his page called: "What's Special About this Number." Though you may not be that amused to learn that "0 is the additive identity" whilst "1 is the multiplicative identity;" though you may be somewhat puzzled to learn that "6 is the smallest perfect number" and "12 is the smallest abundant number;" by the time you find out that "5986 and its prime factors contain every digit from 1-9 exactly once," you'll definitely get it. We're talking delight here. Delight in numbers, yes, but delight, nevertheless. The kind of delight that comes from a deep sense of fun and wonder, from passion and commitment and total involvement.
Erich's sense of fun is further demonstrated in his lighter-hearted, but still delight-worthy collection of puzzles - Dot Puzzles, Battleship Puzzles, Path Puzzles, Number Puzzles - puzzles that invite you to share Erich's delight in abstract reasoning.
This is the kind of play that is truly educational. You learn, but that's not the point. The point is play. Curiosity. Mystery. Wonder. Sheer fun.