Published January 2011,February 2011.
As a farewell gift, on my retirement from the directorship of NRICH, members of the team organised a day in Cambridge when colleagues and friends I have worked with over the years came together. Many of those who attended, as well as some who could not make it, sent 'retirement presents' in the form of problems to solve. The morning was devoted to working
on some of those problems. We sat in groups and, as each problem was presented, enjoyed the challenge of doing mathematics together. All the problems were engaging, though there were many more than we had time for on the day.
In January 2011 the NRICH team has decided to write problems for the site based on some of those they received as 'presents'. I would like to thank everyone who contributed or turned up on the day. Not all of the problems are represented in the January edition of the site but I am sure many of the others will pop up over the coming months and years.
As I wrote the title to this article I intended it to reflect my time at NRICH, my short spell of what you might nominally recall 'retirement' since, and my continuing mathematical journey. It occurred to me however that another interpretation might be the process of problem solving itself. After all, every problem is a challenge
to which we apply past knowledge and experiences, and a trick or two that we think might be useful on the way (see Trick or Treat?). As we proceed, we look forward towards our potential solution to see if we are heading in the right direction. When we problem solve we 'look backward' at past experiences that might be useful and 'forward'
to the way ahead. Having written much about problem solving over the years, my aim in this short article is to offer a glimpse of me as a problem solver.