The algebra of magic squares

Luciana Marconi

My research focuses on how magic squares can be studied algebraically and under what conditions they are formed.

For over 4000 years, magic squares have fascinated humans. Yet few people know what they are today. The magic squares have played a significant role in many ancient cultures, where they have been used in astrology and as lucky charms for births to mention a few. In ancient China, they were associeted with the Ying-Yang philosophy and people tried to explain the world with magic squares. However, the question still remains, what makes magic squares so special and why did I do research on them?

Magic squares are square arrangements of numbers with the special characteristic that the sum of the numbers in each row, column and diagonal all equals to the same value. Exactly this phenomenon seemed to be magical for many people, as the name suggests. Not only in a philosophical, but also in a mathematical sense, these objects are highly interesting.

In this work, I have used mathematics to find out how and when magic squares are formed. My results are nine simple conditions that must be met to create a magic square. Furthermore, I was able to verify rules that are several thousand years old.