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.

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 and books covering combinatorial game theory, number theory and graph theory.

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.[2] He also solved one of Erdős' problems.[3]

Selected publications[edit]



  • Guy, Richard K.; Smith, Cedric A. B. (1956). "The G-values of various games". Math. Proc. Camb. Phil. Soc. 52 (3): 514–526. doi:10.1017/S0305004100031509. 
  • Guy, R. (1958). "Two theorems on partitions". Math. Gaz. 42 (340): 84–86. doi:10.2307/3609388. 
  • Guy, R.; Harary, Frank (1967). "On the Mobius ladders". Canad. Math. Bull. 10: 493–496. doi:10.4153/CMB-1967-046-4. 
  • Guy, R.; Kelly, Patrick A. (1968). "The no-three-in-line problem". Canad. Math. Bull. 11: 527–531. doi:10.4153/CMB-1968-062-3. 
  • Guy, Richard K.; Jenkyns, Tom; Schaer, Jonathan (1968). "The toroidal crossing number of the complete graph". J. Combinat. Th. 4 (4): 376–390. doi:10.1016/S0021-9800(68)80063-8. 
  • Guy, Richard K. (1969). "A many-facetted problem of Zankiewicz". Lecture Notes in Mathematics. 110: 129–148. doi:10.1007/BFb0060112. 
  • Guy, Richard K.; Jenkyns, Tom (1969). "The toroidal crossing number of K(m,n)". J. Combinat. Th. 6 (3): 236–250. doi:10.1016/S0021-9800(69)80084-0. 
  • Guy, Richard K. (1970). "Latest results on crossing numbers". Lecture Notes in Mathematics: 143–156. doi:10.1007/BFb0059432. 
  • Guy, R. (1972). "The slimming number and genus of graphs". Canad. Math. Bull. 15: 195–200. doi:10.4153/CMB-1972-035-8. 
  • Guy, Richard K. (1988). "The strong law of small numbers". Am. Math. Monthly. 95 (8): 697–712. doi:10.2307/2322249. 
  • Bremner, Andrew; Guy, Richard K. (1988). "A dozen difficult diophantine dilemmas". Am. Math. Monthly. 95 (1): 31–36. doi:10.2307/2323442. 
  • Guy, Richard K. (1990). "The second strong law of small numbers". Am. Math. Monthly. 63 (1): 3–20. doi:10.2307/2691503. 
  • Bremner, Andrew; Guy, Richard K. (1992). "Nu-configurations in tiling the square". Math. Comp. 59: 195–202. doi:10.1090/S0025-5718-1992-1134716-2. 
  • Guy, Richard K.; Krattenthaler, C.; Sagan, Bruce E. (1992). "Lattice paths, reflections, and dimension-changig bijections". Ars. Combinatorica. 34: 15.  CiteSeerX:
  • Bremner, Andrew; Guy, Richard K.; Nowakowski, Richard J. (1993). "Which integers are representable as the product of the sum of three integers with the sum of their reciprocals?". Math. Comp. 61: 117–130. doi:10.1090/S0025-5718-1993-1189516-5. 
  • Guy, Richard K. (1994). "Every number is expressible as the sum of how many polygonal numbers?". Am. Math. Monthly. 101 (2): 169–72. doi:10.2307/2324367. 
  • Guy, Richard K.; Nowakowski, Richard (1995). "Coin-Weighing Problems". Am. Math. Monthly. 102 (2): 164–167. doi:10.2307/2975353. 

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Author biography from Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays, Vol. I, 2nd ed., AK Peters, 2001.
  2. ^ Coauthors of Paul Erdos
  3. ^ Brent Wittmeier, "Math genius left unclaimed sum," Edmonton Journal, September 28, 2010.[1]

External links[edit]