In conversation with Ian Stewart

In an airy office in the Mathematics Institute of the University of Warwick we find Ian Stewart, the prominent maths professor, Fellow of the Royal Society and one of the UK’s most prolific popularisers of mathematics. He has published over 80 books, between 1991 to 2001 took over Martin Gardner’s original Mathematical Games column for the magazine Scientific American, and in 1995 won the Michael Faraday Prize for excellence in communicating science to UK audiences. He greets us with a kind smile, a warm handshake and leads us to his desk.

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How to tile a chessboard

Tetris is a well-known Russian tile-matching game released in 1984. The pieces in Tetris, known as Tetriminos, contain 4 squares each connected by the edges and are based on tetrominoes, the 4-square specific version of a polyomino. This term ‘polyomino’ was coined by Solomon Golomb when he was still a 22 year old graduate student at Harvard in an article published in the American Mathematical Monthly. Continue reading