Ben Franklin – a Man of Endless Talents…

December 18, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Perhaps it is the nerdy math-loving side of me that was recently drawn to a Gentleman’s Magazine for July 1768. Years ago, I remember listening to my kids read a book from the “Step into Reading” series: “Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares”. Although this Gentleman’s Magazine lacks the colorful images of a child’s early reader, it is no less fascinating to read about a wonderful mathematical discovery of one of our country’s most brilliant & diverse minds. This gem (the plate within this London publication) would appeal to any Franklin fan or science nerd… at least it jumped out and grabbed me.

The Traveler… early Sodoku?…

July 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s journey took me to London, England, by the means of The Gentleman’s Magazine of July, 1768. I found an interesting plate entitled “A Magic Square of Squares” with an accompanying article “Surprising Properties of Numbers placed in Dr. Franklin’s Magic Square of Squares”. This is an interesting puzzle by Benjamin Franklin. “The great square is divided into 256 small squares, in which all the numbers from 1 to 256 are placed in 16 columns, which may be taken either horizontally or vertically. The properties are as follows: 1. The sum of the 16 numbers in each column vertical or horizontal, is 2056. 2. Every half column, vertical and horizontal, makes 1028, or half 2056. 3 Half a diagonal ascending, added to half a diagonal descending, makes 2056; taking these half diagonals from the ends of any side of the square to the middle thereof, and so reckoning them either upward or downward; or sidewise from left to right hand, or from right to left…”

The information continues with this sounding like a very early Sodoku puzzle!

~The Traveler