is still a difference between something
and nothing, but it is purely geometrical
there is nothing behind the geometry"
- Martin Gardner
preferred American Math Authors (I):
Gardner was born October 21, 1914,
in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a
geologist and oil producer. He is
a recreational mathematician, magician,
skeptic, popular author and contributor
of the long-running but now discontinued "Mathematical
Games" column in Scientific
American. He originated the column
in 1956, and his columns appeared
until his retirement from the magazine
in 1986. He
graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the
University of Chicago in 1936.
Martin Gardner more or less singlehandedly sustained and nurtured
interest in recreational mathematics in the U.S. for a large part of the 20th
century. He is best known for his decades-long efforts in popular mathematics
and science journalism, particularly through his "Mathematical Games" column
in Scientific American. His interests range from science and philosophy to magic
and the philosophical movement of skepticism, of which he is considered a notable
figure in the field. After living in the western mountains of North Carolina
for many years, he returned to Norman, Oklahoma, in 2004, his 90th year.
Occasional conferences of people sharing his interests, known as
for Gardner", are held in his honor. The first was held in 1993.
He is the author or editor of more than 100 books and booklets, including
books on mathematics, science, pseudoscience, philosophy, literary criticism,
and fiction (including “Visitors from Oz”, based on L. Frank Baum's “The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, and stories about an imaginary numerologist named
Dr. Matrix). Gardner has inspired and enlightened three generations of readers
with the delights of mathematical recreations, the amazing phenomena of numbers,
magic and puzzles, the play of ideas.
In addition to his expository writing about mathematics, Gardner
has been an avid controversialist on contemporary issues, arguing for his points
of view in a wide range of fields, from general semantics to fuzzy logic to watching
TV (he once wrote a negative review of the book “Four Arguments for the
Elimination of Television”). Though particularly well known for his critique
of pseudoscientific beliefs, Gardner has also taken sides on political, economic,
historical and philosophical controversies.
Magic & Mystery
The famed puzzle expert explains
math behind a multitude of mystifying
tricks: card tricks, stage "mind
reading," coin and match
tricks, counting out games, geometric
Book of Mathematics
Although some people might think
that 'recreational mathematics'
is a contradiction of terms,
Gardner's insight and excellent
writing style really do make