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Just before the year 800, Alcuin sent Charlemagne a collection of arithmetical puzzles which he said were to be solved for fun. The puzzles he referred to are assumed to be a collection of ‘Puzzles to Sharpen the Wits’ which survive in over a dozen medieval manuscripts. The actual puzzles themselves are far older however and can be traced back to sources from Ancient Greece and Rome and beyond.
The material would now be characterised as recreational mathematics and includes problems still found in modern books of brain teasers. Rosalyn Leaman of the University of York introduces the puzzles as part of an event coordinated with Pint of Science. Come along and sharpen your wits over a glass of specially brewed Eoforwic Ale.
Rosie Leaman is first year PhD student with the University of York’s Department of Biology and is studying infectious diseases. With a degree in maths, she loves the subject and will talk about it with anyone who will listen!
Pint of Science aims to deliver science talks in a fun, engaging and approachable way by bringing them to a pub near you. For more information visit the Pint of Science website.