Off to California!

Tomorrow morning bright and early I’m leaving for California.  Bill Ritchie, C.E.O of ThinkFun, Charlotte Fixler, Curriculum Specialist for ThinkFun and I are exhibiting at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) in San Diego. 

Bill and I are both doing workshops.  My hands-on workshop will show over 100 teachers how to use ThinkFun games to teach problem solving.  My session will focus mainly on the games Rush Hour, Chocolate Fix and Math Dice.  Bill’s session is exploring our on-line Education programs.  Also, exhibiting allows us to touch base with so many teachers who will drop by our booth.  It’s a very valuable experience for us and we’re all excited to be going.  Being a former teacher myself, I know what it takes to be a teacher.  I admire this profession so much as so many teachers put their heart and soul into their work.  Its one of the toughest jobs on the planet as they nurture our most valuable little treasures.

Harry Nelson at IPP 2009

After NCTM, I will be heading to Oakland to visit with Harry and Claire Nelson.  Harry Nelson is said to be “one of the world’s most prolific puzzle creators. Annually, he invents and sells a charming collection of puzzles often based on geometry, or algebra or logic.”  Harry Nelson, computer programmer, mathematician and editor, graduated from Harvard College, A.B. Math, in 1953. He served two years in U.S. army and received M.A. in math from Kansas University in 1957.  Harry became a computer programmer at University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory until retirement in 1991. He discovered, with David Slowinski, the then largest known prime number in 1978.  He was the editor of the Journal of Recreational Mathematics for five years.  Harry became associated with the Cray Blitz computer chess programming endeavor with Robert Hyatt. Cray Blitz won the Computer Chess World Championship in 1983 and retained the title until 1986.  There are currently 20 mechanical puzzles and/or games on the U.S. market for which he has made substantial contributions including ThinkFun’s Treasure Quest.

Harry has invited me to California the past couple of years to visit him to see some puzzle and game inventions he has done.  With NCTM in CA, it was perfect timing.  The exciting part too is that Harry has organized a puzzle gathering.  Thus I will be seeing Nick Baxter and Scott Kim there as well.  There will be others but I’m not sure who yet!  And Harry has also planned a visit to George Miller’s Puzzle Palace.  I visited George’s place during IPP29 last year and it is beautiful.  I can’t wait to see everyone and see any new inventions they might have!

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