For Decades, Puzzling People With Mathematics

For those who don’t know him, Martin Gardner is a unique figure in mathematics: although he never took a math course beyond high school, Gardner “more or less single-handedly renewed and nurtured interest in recreational mathematics in North America for a large part of the 20th century.” (That quote is from his Wikipedia entry.) Among other things, Gardner wrote the ‘Mathematical Games’ column in Scientific American for decades and is the author of over 70 books, many (though not all) of which are devoted to fun and thoughtful mathematical puzzles, and is the centerpiece of the Gathering for Gardner (G4G) conference, held in Atlanta every two years, which attracts a wide variety of mathematicians and puzzlists. For a necessarily tiny selection of number tricks, science fiction puzzles, or columns from Scientific American, just click on the links, or buy the books referenced there.

The NY Times article mentioned in the title commemorates Gardner’s 95th birthday, which also happens to coincide with the release of his latest book. Happy birthday, Martin!

Addendum: Unfortunately Martin Gardner died this past May. In his honor obituaries appeared in all the major newspapers and in many magazines as well. In particular, Scientific American (the magazine for which he wrote for 25 years) re-published a profile of his life from 1995. Good night and God bless, Mr. Gardner.

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