My presentation on Wednesday, October 26th was inspired by Mark MacLean’s article Math in The Real World: Mathematical Moments from Reality Television, which can be found in Math Horizons Vol. 12, No. 4 from April 2005. In his article, MacLean points out challenges from several different reality television shows that directly relate to some well-known math puzzles and games. For my presentation, I’m going to be focusing on two challenges that appeared on the show Survivor and how they relate to the math games called Tower of Hanoi and Nim.

I will briefly touch on some history, but mostly center around how the games work and the solutions to them. For the Tower of Hanoi, I will discuss a recursive and non-recursive solution, as well as Clifford’s Formula. For Nim, I’m going to introduce backwards induction in game theory in order to find a winning strategy. After my presentation, you will be able to see how mathematical thinking can be used to find a strategy that will always guarantee a win for some games, but not necessarily for others.

See everyone then,