*“Nothing
in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will
not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education
will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence
and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press
On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the
human race.”*

- Calvin Coolidge

**A
Word on Math and Perception Puzzles**

The
word mathematics is related to Greek *manthanein* 'learn'.
There is a significant analogy with the Chinese characters
for mathematics 數學 (shùxué), in
fact the sinogram 學 also means 'learn'. On the other
hand, the word puzzle is
curiously related to 'question'. *Learn* and *question* are
the two key elements to approach the world of mathematics.
As you make your way through mathematics, you discover that
the most efficient method to find a solution
to a problem
is **to focus on the right question**.

By
means of geometry and a lever, **Archimedes** said
he could lift the Earth (impossible!).
More reasonably, Eratosthenes made a surprisingly accurate
measurement of the circumference of the Earth, using simple
geometric formulas and a stick! This site intends to show that
mathematics can also be fun because it is visual creativity.
Accordingly, we have endeavored to make an "intuitive" puzzle
site with fewer formulas and more visuals, which we hope will
encourage students and those curious to learn more about this
science or simply constitute a platform for reflection. What
specially interests us is to communicate ideas about the development
and stimulation of thinking. To study the common misdirections
that can mislead our cognitive processes. To detect the mental
blocks which prevent us from finding a solution to a problem.
To examine the links between imagination, creativity and logical
reasoning. We have found that **optical illusions**, **puzzles **and **brainteasers** combine
all those fields of interest amazingly well!

What are the origin of puzzles and mathematical games? Their origin
is concealed in the innermost depths of our brain. In fact, sometimes man appears
to let himself go into an abstracted ‘diversion’ that involves assembling
or arranging pieces, counters or any small familiar object into patterns. This
compulsive behavior seems to be evidence of a natural and irrepressible geometrical
sense. It may be linked to the behavior that instinctively drives some birds
to collect and group shells, glittering or colored objects. Assembling a puzzle
may not be only an intellectual activity, but also a primitive geometric urge.
Puzzles, riddles and mathematical recreations actually may share a common origin.
The ‘Rhind Papyrus’ (dated circa 1650 BCE) showed that early Egyptian
mathematics was largely based on puzzle type problems. For instance, the papyrus
contained the following puzzle “Seven houses contain seven cats. Each cat
kills seven mice. Each mouse had eaten seven ears of grain. Each ear of grain
would have produced seven hekats of wheat. What is the total of all of these?”

Puzzles
are not closed problems; they can always be modified or improved
to generate a myriad of variants. What's more, they don't require
batteries; they are just powered by our own brain cells! To
solve the perplexing and tricky puzzles you will find in our
site, you will need a very high IQ -- not the usual and controversial
'Intelligence Quotient', but *Inveniens Quaerendo* (“Trial
and Error”, your capacity for learning by attempting).
Intelligence is not what you FEEL or what you KNOW, but a PROBLEM
SOLVING SKILL. Everyone can acquire or develop problem-solving
skills simply by training themselves at their own pace and
relying on their existing knowledge. In the world of the mind,
the race goes not always to the swift, but to those who keep
running. Even if the beginning may be discouraging, things
will get better and better just by planning regular puzzle
training sessions.

To
conclude, remember: "intelligence begins with a piece
of paper, a pencil and... a problem to solve!". The ancient
Greeks used to say: *Αρχη 'ημισυ παντος* (*"Archê hêmisy
pantos"*, starting on a job is half the job done)...
Now it is time to lean your brain forward and start thinking!

Puzzle etymology Tips
for solving puzzles

Source: **Puzzillusions**, © Sarcone & Waeber,
Archimedes-lab.org, and Carlton Publishing.