Richard K. Guy

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Richard K. Guy in June 2005

Richard Kenneth Guy (born 30 September 1916 in Nuneaton, England)[1] is a British mathematician, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Calgary.[2]

He is best known for co-authorship (with John Conway and Elwyn Berlekamp) of Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays and authorship of Unsolved Problems in Number Theory (ISBN 0-387-94289-0), but he has also published over 100 papers covering combinatorial game theory, number theory and graph theory.[3]

He is said to have developed the partially tongue-in-cheek "Strong Law of Small Numbers," which says there are not enough small integers available for the many tasks assigned to them — thus explaining many coincidences and patterns found among numerous cultures.

Additionally, around 1959, Guy discovered a unistable polyhedron having only 19 faces; no such construct with fewer faces was found until 2012. Guy also discovered the glider in Conway's Game of Life.

Guy wrote four papers with Paul Erdős, giving him an Erdős number of 1.[4] He also solved one of Erdős' problems.[5]

Selected publications[edit]


  • Guy, R. K. (2004). Unsolved problems in number theory (3rd ed.). New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-26677-0. ISBN 978-0-387-20860-2. MR 2076335. 
  • Guy, R. K. (with John H. Conway and Elwyn Berlekamp) (1982). Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays, Academic Press, ISBN 0120911507.
  • Guy, R. K. (with John H. Conway) (1996). The book of numbers, Copernicus, ISBN 9780387979939.
  • Guy, R. K. (with Richard Nowakowski) (2002). Unsolved problems in combinatorial games, Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN 0387905936.
  • Guy, R. K. (2002). (with Paul Vaderlind and Loren C. Larson) The inquisitive problem solver, Mathematical Association of America,, ISBN 0883858061.
  • Guy, R. K. (1989). Fair game how to play impartial combinatorial games, COMAP in Arlington, MA, ISBN 0912843160.
  • Guy, R. K. (1994). (with Hallard T. Croft and Kenneth J. Falconer) Unsolved problems in geometry, Springer-Verlag, ISBN 0387975063.
  • Guy, R. K. (1976). Packing with solutions of ax+by= cz The unity of combinatorics, OCLC Number: 883501309
  • Guy, R. K. (1991). Graphs and the strong law of small numbers, Wiley, OCLC Number: 897682607.
  • Guy, R. K. (1987). Six phases for the eight-lambdas and eight-deltas configurations, North-Holland, OCLC Number: 897693235.
  • Guy, R. K. (1982). Sets of integers whose subsets have distinct sums, North-Holland,, OCLC Number: 897757256.
  • Guy, R. K. (with J. L.Selfridge) (1975). Optimal coverings of the square, North-Holland, Amsterdam, OCLC Number: 897757276.



  1. ^ Author biography from Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays, Vol. I, 2nd ed., AK Peters, 2001.
  2. ^ Albers & Alexanderson (2011) p. 320
  3. ^ Albers & Alexanderson (2011) pp. 165–168
  4. ^ Coauthors of Paul Erdos
  5. ^ Brent Wittmeier, "Math genius left unclaimed sum," Edmonton Journal, September 28, 2010.[1]


External links[edit]