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cs4fn launches ‘The Magic of Computer Science’ book

Queen Mary, University of London’s award-winning outreach project, Computer Science for Fun (cs4fn) launches its free online e-book ‘The Magic of Computer Science’, this month.

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It will be available for free download from from today (Monday 26 January) where you can also find more cs4fn mathemagical tricks.

The book is a collection of easy to do mathematically magic card tricks to entertain and educate people of all ages. The twist is that every trick teaches you something about the maths underlying computer science.

Professor Peter McOwan, co-creator of the cs4fn project, explains: “The tricks in the book are all based on clever mathematical principles. In fact the same mathematics that makes each trick work also lies at the heart of a core computer science concept or an important computer application.

“One of the mind reading tricks in the book uses the same maths as one kind of the main kinds of medical scanner. While learning about how to do the trick you also learn about the computer techniques that allow doctors to see 3D images of the brain.”

The book will also be available via the website of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM). Sybil Cock, London Regional Co-ordinator of the NCETM hopes the book will prove a valuable resource for Maths teachers. She commented: “This booklet provides some brilliant ideas for livening up Maths lessons. The tricks are not hard for a teacher to use, and the booklet shows you exactly how to use the mathematics behind the tricks to amaze your students. Every Maths department should have one!”

Makhan Singh, National Project Manager of the More Maths Grads project, of which Queen Mary is a partner commented: "One of the wonderful things about mathematics is that it has the power to demystify - helping to bring understanding, reasoning and answers - magic is just one of those fields and it’s a great way to engage young minds and hearts in understanding the power of maths."

The book launch kicks off a busy year for the cs4fn team, who will be touring their Magic of Computer Science road show around the UK throughout 2009 at science festivals and events including the Royal Society’s Summer Exhibition.

The cs4fn team is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Google, Microsoft, ARM, and MoreMathsGrads.

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