Lightning calculators

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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/07/04 02:23 PM

This might not be the right category, but here goes.

Can anyone point me to references in the magical literature for lightning calculators (methods, biographical material, etc.). I've found material in both scholarly and popular lit, but nothing in magicdom. And at least one current performer (Arthur Benjamin) is also a magician.
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Postby Guest » 06/07/04 02:54 PM

13 Steps
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Postby Guest » 06/07/04 03:46 PM

Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women has some information,but not how to.
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Postby Guest » 06/07/04 10:22 PM

I know that Arthur Benjamin has given a talk on them, I think at The Los Angeles Conference on Magic History, a few years back.
Ricky Jay's books, may have something like that, as well.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 06/07/04 11:44 PM

Two magic books that come to mind are Fulves' Self Working Number Magic and Gardner's Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, both of which have a couple of lightning calculation stunts. Also Lorayne's Miracle Math, though it's not a magic book.
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Postby CHRIS » 06/08/04 07:39 AM

Bill,

I offer two ebooks which fit exactly what you are looking for. Please go to Browse Ebooks and look for the Math section (top right).

Chris Wasshuber
Lybrary.com preserving not just magic one book at a time.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/08/04 10:43 PM

Thanks Chris. I'll order these. You don't have a current coupon offer, do you? <G>

"13 Steps" has a chapter with magic squares and memory work, but not too much lightning calculation.

All of the other sources, I consider popular (non-magic) references, and I either have, or have on order. I've been through several of the major online databases, research library catalogs, etc., and fell like I've exhausted that avenue for references (at least); I'm still looking for some of the material. Anyone got a spare copy of Steven Bradley Smith's Great Mental Calculators they'd be interested in selling?

I'm looking for things like articles in Genii, MUM, Linking Ring, or magic books.

Thanks again.
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Postby gfajuri » 06/09/04 06:16 AM

You should also investigate Stanyon's MAGIC, which has biographical information on a few of the famous Lightning Calculators like Zerah Coburn (spelling may be off). Also, there is some info on lightning calculators in Burlingame's "Leaves from a Conjuror's Scrapbook."

Good luck,

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Postby Steve Shain » 06/09/04 04:58 PM

Bill, another nice reference on lighting calculators and lighting calculations, both real and simulated is:

"The Magic of Numbers", by Robert Tocquet. The American edition is dated 1961. Original was in French, published 1957, title "2+2=4".

It is brief, 160 pages, but has chapters on past and present (1950's) calculators, trick mathematics, and animal calculators. Appears to be readily available in used hardback or paperback copies.

Steve
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Postby timbrown » 06/09/04 06:35 PM

There are numerous great sources if you are serious but there is no "Easy to Master" way to perform this type of demonstration. You might want to study the fascinating Trachtenburg system (see the book "The Trachtenburg Speed System of Basic Mathematics"). A quick Amazon.com search lists this book and other sources:
Amazon search - Trachtenburg
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 06/10/04 12:48 AM

Another magic reference: Bob Longe's "Magical Math" book, although it only has two items on lightning calculation, both of them well known (adding up a Fibonacci series and casting out nines).
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Postby Bill Mullins » 06/17/04 05:34 PM

I received the ebooks Chriss mentioned above, and am very pleased. Good service, speedy delivery, and he threw in a t-shirt.
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Postby Guest » 08/10/04 09:59 AM

I'm looking for things like articles in Genii, MUM, Linking Ring, or magic books.
One source is "Mathematical Magic" by William Simon, chapter 1.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/23/13 04:53 PM

Shankatula Devi, who was on Ricky Jay's special Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women, just passed away.
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Postby federico luduena » 04/24/13 01:59 PM

An excellent resource is Mental Prodigies (Greenwood Press, New York, 1952), by English magician Fred Barlow. It contains biographies of many of the classic lightning calculators (including the only woman among them). In the book there is also a section on magic. You will find several gems there. My favorite is “Magic Addition”, a piece that Larry Becker popularized under the name of “Some Total”. Harry Lorayne included his very practical take on it in Mathematical Wizardry. The best version I know, however, is the brainchild of Los Angeles mentalist Greg Arce. So clever that you will want to try it right away.

Barlow devoted his life to magic, and died when he was 101. His obituary:

http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/596752.0/

If you have trouble finding the book, just request it at your local library. LAPL and NYPL both have copies of this wonderful book.

Regards,

federico
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Postby Matthew Field » 04/24/13 02:58 PM

Check our Arthur Benjamin's website, http://www.math.hmc.edu/~benjamin/, for his book and course. He lectured on Monday at The Magic Circle.

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