1.1.7 Puzzles and Real-World Math
[ “Latin squares” are square grids of numbers in which each number occurs just once in every row and column. ] One theme of this course is the use of mathematics in practical situations. You may be wondering what this particular puzzle has to do with solving real problems. Well, first of all, it has introduced you to working logically, and that is an important general technique that is used often in mathematics. Second, sudoku puzzles are quite similar to Latin squares, which are used extensively in designing experiments such as finding out how different crops grow with different fertiliser treatments.
This happens quite often in mathematics. Very abstract mathematical topics, which seem to have no practical use whatsoever when they are discovered, later turn out to be extremely important in science or technology. Just because it is difficult to see a use at the time does not mean that there will not be some important practical development later!