Shortcut back to Vee-21 Puzzle scholar: Norton Starr

Norton Starr, professor of mathematics, Amherst CollegeNorton writes:
Mathematics is a constant source of wonder, and I feel fortunate to have been on the faculty of Amherst College since 1966, where I was the Brian E. Boyle Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science. The following master teachers, each different, each conspicuously effective, developed my appreciation of the subject from an early age through college: Ralph Wedin, Ray Hefferlin, Richard Palais, Andrew Gleason, and Fred Mosteller. Numerous others did the same once I entered grad school.

I enjoy music, art, reading, chocolate, Stewart Coffin puzzles, and bicycling, among other activities. The last is the most dangerous, most relaxing, and most energetic thing I do.

As a result of teaching a discrete mathematics course, I've been on the lookout for novel applications of methods studied in that course. The inductive proof of tromino tiling for deficient 2nx2n squares is a fine classroom example, and I was happy that Kadon Enterprises was willing to make an 8x8 version to my specifications. Evidently they were, too, for they now sell it, along with significant enhancements by Oriel Maximé, under the name Vee-21.

In 1972-1973, while on leave at the University of Waterloo, I became interested in computer graphics, then in its infancy. Residues of that effort are visible here.

Irene Starr, my wife, is our house techie and maintains a widely used Internet resource for computer input of foreign-language characters.

Son Ethan has been developing sites devoted to regional business journals and to libraries and archives having specializations in Judaica.

Son Andrew, a lawyer, has received considerable publicity over the years for his site,, offering advice about email and related topics.

In 2013 Norton retired from Amherst. He and Irene resettled in Kansas and maintain a lively interest in all things mathematical and puzzling.

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