I’m kind of getting off the track here, but the other day I was having a casual conversation with a couple of friends on great opera singers of all times inspired by the recent death of Cesare Siepi which eventually ended in reflections on the demise of great figures in opera. Although with some delay I’d like to pay tribute to one of my favourite bass-baritones, because I owe moments of elevated joy to artists like him.
A brain-teasing question this time. A 13-year old boy challenged us to an apparently simple riddle. I suspect he just couldn’t find the answer. Much to my shame, I’ll have to rack my brain for quite some time — I’ve never been on good terms with numbers.
Anyway, can you beat us to it?
Here goes the puzzle:
Cut this square in four parts and rearrange it so that the sum of the numbers in each column, each row and each diagonal equals 34.
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"Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers" — Arthur Eddington.
Most scientists will harangue us about the highly acclaimed newfangled panacea — “nanotech”, that is basically controlling matter or building machines which could re-order matter on a molecular and atomic scale. It usually deals with 1 to 100 nanometre structures. The concept was first used by Richard Feynman to describe the possibility of manipulating individual atoms and molecules using a set of precise tools, which in plain language means we could take the building blocks of matter and create literally anything. That of course after we had got around certain problems, such as gravity losing ground to surface tension and van der Waals attraction, etc.