The second edition of At Play With J, collected from Eugene McDonnell’s columns for Vector, has been published at Lulu.com.
Here in one volume are Eugene McDonnell’s 41 excellent articles published between 1993 and 2006. They form a series of straightforward but profound mathematical investigations which are not only entertaining but expand the mind. The classical tradition founded by Fermat and Gauss mystifies the mathematical art by concealing the way in which the investigator found the solution in the first place. Trainee researchers will gain reassurance from the fact that the author does not shy away from expressing perplexity and puzzlement along the often rocky road to a solution. As such it constitutes a unique masterclass in how to do mathematical research. The second edition has been produced by a team of J experts, revising and reworking the examples to correspond to best practice with J 6.02. With prefaces by Roger Hui and Chris Burke. The first edition reproduced the original Vector articles with only minor amendments. But J evolved over the many years during which McDonnell wrote his column, and in the latest version of J not all the examples work as they were given. The first edition is of largely historical interest. Some recent textbooks for the APLs
