Tower of Hanoi Problem
Date: 3 Jan 1995 02:52:01 -0500 From: Marie Holl Subject: Re: Ask Dr. Math: on-line math problems Hi! Thanks for answering my question. I shared your solution with my students. I made a copy of your solution and message on transparencies and the kids were able to see the message. Thanks again. I have another question for you. Do you know the origin of the Tower of Hanoi problem? I gave my class the legend and as a project , with the aid of many towers we discovered the patterns for the tower and when the world would end according to the legend. I was just wondering and so was my class where and when the legend originated. I assigned this as extra credit. We had a lot of fun with this and a lot of math evolved from the project. Thanks Marie Holl
Date: 5 Jan 1995 13:12:30 -0500 From: Dr. Sydney Subject: Re: Ask Dr. Math: on-line math problems Dear Marie, Hello again! I am glad you wrote back again. While we haven't yet had time to research your problem, we will hopefully get to it soon. I just wanted to let you know we hadn't forgotten about you, and we will write back to you as soon as possible. I'm glad you've been having so much fun with these math projects. That's great! We'll write you soon. --Sydney __________ Date: 5 Jan 1995 15:48:41 -0500 From: Anonymous Newsgroups: local.dr-math Subject: Re: Ask Dr. Math: on-line math problems Dear Marie, A computer version of the Towers of Hanoi written for Macintosh Computers at Forest Lake Senior High in Forest Lake Minnesota explains that: "The familiar tower of Hanoi was invented by the French Mathematician Eduard Lucas and sold as a toy in 1883. It originally bore the name of 'Prof. Claus' of the college of 'Li-Sou-Stian,' but these were soon discovered to be anagrams for 'Prof. Lucas', of the College of 'Saint Louis'. The original description of the toy called it a simplified version of a mythical 'Tower of Brahma' in a temple in the Indian city of Benares. This tower, the description read, consists of 64 disks of gold, now in the process of being transferred by the temple priests. Before they complete their task, it was said, the temple will crumple into dust, and the world will vanish in a clap of thunder. The disappearance of the world may be questioned, but there is little doubt about the crumbling of the temple. ...Assuming the priests worked night and day, moving one disk every second, it would take them many thousands of millions of years to finish the job." The programmers at Forest Lake Senior High cite the book "Mathematicl Puzzles and Diversions", by Martin Gardner, as their source. Is this the same answer your class got for how long it would take to finish? This all sounds like a terrific project. Elizabeth, a math doctor
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