Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Project 365 (5/365): The Magic Squares

.:5/365: The Magic Squares:.

Image taken from this site.

One of the marks of a mentalist is his ability to think on his feet and to show that he is working on a mental level that is far above what is normally expected of an average person. Some mentalists demonstrate this by doing improv (More on this in the future.). Others do it by using the Magic Square demonstration.

If you look at the above picture, you will discover that the 4x4 grid depicted adds up to the same total of numbers horizontally, vertically, diagonally, and even by quadrants and corners. It is one of the most impressive demonstrations of quick thinking, and people practically fiIndght to establish their ability to do these squares in record time, being handed a random number to work with.

If I recall correctly, Leodini is one of the most popular local performers of this particular routine. I’ve only ever seen him do it once, and the way he performs it is just sheer poetry in motion. The audience is on his side the whole time, rooting him on to pull off what appears to be impossible, and with each iteration of the perfect square, the applause from the audience just gets louder and louder. It’s easy to not be excited about a mathematical feat, but Leodini’s excited demeanor as he performs it makes his audience even more excited than he comes off on stage. It’s just so infectious and evocative that people can’t help but want Leodini to succeed.

Admittedly, with 365 topics to cover, I will, from time to time, be mentioning a performer whom I don’t really look up to, or a routine I simply don’t use. This isn’t one of those times, as the magic square routine is not only a legitimate show of quick thinking, but also a perfect mental exercise to keep one’s brain sharp and alert. It’s like Sudoku, only with more craziness and time pressure attached to it.

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