John Horton Conway

A single Gosper's Glider Gun creating "gliders"

John Horton Conway (born 26 December 1937) is a British mathematician active in the theory of finite groupsknot theorynumber theorycombinatorial game theory and coding theory. He has also contributed to many branches ofrecreational mathematics, notably the invention of the cellular automaton called the Game of Life.

He is also one of the inventors of sprouts, as well as philosopher’s football. He developed detailed analyses of many other games and puzzles, such as the Soma cube,peg solitaire, and Conway’s soldiers. He came up with the angel problem, which was solved in 2006.

He invented a new system of numbers, the surreal numbers, which are closely related to certain games and have been the subject of a mathematical novel by Donald Knuth. He also invented a nomenclature for exceedingly large numbers, the Conway chained arrow notation. Much of this is discussed in the 0th part of ONAG.

He is also known for the invention of the Game of Life, one of the early and still celebrated examples of a cellular automaton. His early experiments in that field were done with pen and paper, long before personal computers existed.

Among amateur mathematicians, he is perhaps most widely known for his contributions to combinatorial game theory (CGT), a theory of partisan games. This he developed with Elwyn Berlekamp and Richard Guy, and with them also co-authored the book Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays. He also wrote the book On Numbers and Games (ONAG) which lays out the mathematical foundations of CGT.

Extract from Wikipedia page


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