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Martin Gardner
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factoids

| birth_place = Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
| death_date = {{Death date and age|mf=yes|2010|05|22|1914|10|21}}
| death_place = Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.
| occupation = Author
| nationality = United States
| alma_mater = University of Chicago
| genre = Recreational mathematics, puzzles, close-up magic, annotated literary works, debunking
| movement = Scientific skepticism
| notableworks = Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science; Mathematical Games (Scientific American column); The Annotated Alice; The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener; The Ambidextrous Universe
| awards = Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition (1987)George Pólya Award (1999)JOURNAL, Nov 2000, MAA Writing Awards Presented, Notices of the AMS, 47, 10, 1282,weblink no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20140712030543weblink">weblink 2014-07-12, JOURNAL, Gardner, Martin, Jan 1999, The Asymmetric Propeller, The College Mathematics Journal, 10.2307/2687198, 30, 1, 18–22,weblink PDF, no,weblink 2014-03-04,
| signature = Martin Gardner Signature.png
}}













factoids
influences Plato, Kant, G. K. Chesterton, William James, Charles S. Peirce, Miguel de Unamuno, Rudolf Carnap, H. G. Wells, Kurt Gödel, Henry Dudeney, Sam Loyd, Bertrand Russell
| influenced = Douglas Hofstadter, Michael Shermer, Donald Knuth, Raymond Smullyan, Marvin Minsky, John Horton Conway, Persi Diaconis, Ray Hyman, James Randi, Ronald Graham, Dennis Shasha, Ian Stewart, Erik Demaine
Martin Gardner (October 21, 1914{{spaced ndash}}May 22, 2010) was an American popular mathematics and popular science writer, with interests also encompassing scientific skepticism, micromagic, philosophy, religion, and literature—especially the writings of Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, and G. K. Chesterton.Martin (2010)Singmaster, D. (2010) "Obituary: Martin Gardner (1914–2010)" Nature 465(7300), 884. He is recognized as a leading authority on Lewis Carroll.Kindley (2015): When it comes to explanations of Carroll’s books, no one has yet improved on the work of Gardner. The Annotated Alice, which incorporated the text of Carroll's two Alice books, was his most successful work and sold over a million copies.Buffalo Public Library: The annotated Alice : Alice's adventures in wonderland & through the looking-glass {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160624173950weblink |date=2016-06-24 }}: "Martin Gardner's groundbreaking work went on to sell over a million copies, establishing the modest math genius as one of our foremost Carroll scholars." He had a lifelong interest in magic and illusion and was regarded as one of the most important magicians of the twentieth century. He was considered the doyen of American puzzlers.Costello (1988): p.114. He was a prolific and versatile author, publishing more than 100 books.England (2014): Even apart from mathematics and puzzles, Gardner's output was staggering.NEWS, Maugh, Thomas H., II, 26 May 2010, Martin Gardner dies at 95; prolific mathematics columnist for Scientific American – Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times,weblink 2010-05-27, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100812103726weblink">weblink 12 August 2010, Gardner was best known for creating and sustaining interest in recreational mathematics—and by extension, mathematics in general—throughout the latter half of the 20th century, principally through his "Mathematical Games" columns.AMS Notices (2011): "Martin Gardner was a gem. There is absolutely no question that he, more than anyone else in the world, was responsible for turning people of all ages on to the pleasures of mathematical recreations." —Ronald L. GrahamCase 2014: Gardner is credited with the rebirth of recreational mathematics in the U.S. These appeared for twenty-five years in Scientific American, and his subsequent books collecting them.Martin (2010): "His mathematical writings intrigued a generation of mathematicians."Bellos (2010): "He became a kind of father figure to a generation of young mathematicians, who corresponded with him. Such was Gardner's influence between the late 1950s and 1980s that it would be hard to find a professional mathematician from those years who does not cite him as an inspiration."Gardner was one of the foremost anti-pseudoscience polemicists of the 20th century.WEB, 2014, Martin Gardner—Mathematician, Martin Gardner Home Site, Gathering 4 Gardner,weblink October 28, 2016, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161118142607weblink">weblink November 18, 2016, His 1957 book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of ScienceOriginally published in 1952 as In the Name of Science: An Entertaining Survey of the High Priests and Cultists of Science, Past and Present became a classic and seminal work of the skeptical movement.BOOK, Shermer, Michael, Michael Shermer, 2001, The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense, Oxford University Press, 50,weblink May 20, 2016, "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science [is] still in print and arguably the skeptic classic of the past half-century." In 1976 he joined with fellow skeptics to found CSICOP, an organization promoting scientific inquiry and the use of reason in examining extraordinary claims.WEB, About CSI - CSI, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry,weblink 2016-10-28, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161112121924weblink">weblink 2016-11-12,

Biography

(File:Martin Gardner HS Yearbook.jpeg|thumb|left|Gardner as a high school senior, 1932.)

Youth and education

Gardner, son of a petroleum geologist father and an educator and artist mother, grew up in and around Tulsa, Oklahoma. His lifelong interest in puzzles started in his boyhood when his father gave him a copy of Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles, Tricks and Conundrums.MacTutor He attended the University of Chicago, where he earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1936. Early jobs included reporter on the Tulsa Tribune, writer at the University of Chicago Office of Press Relations, and case worker in Chicago's Black Belt for the city's Relief Administration. During World War II, he served for four years in the U.S. Navy as a yeoman on board the destroyer escort USS Pope in the Atlantic. His ship was still in the Atlantic when the war came to an end with the surrender of Japan in August 1945.After the war, Gardner returned to the University of Chicago.WEB, Martin Gardner: Founder of the Modern Skeptical Movement » Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, Skeptic,weblink 2016-05-22, no,weblink 2011-08-24, He attended graduate school for a year there, but he did not earn an advanced degree.In 1950 he wrote an article in the Antioch Review entitled "The Hermit Scientist".Gardner, Martin, "The Hermit Scientist", Antioch Review, Winter 1950–1951, pp. 447–457. It was one of Gardner's earliest articles about junk science, and in 1952 a much-expanded version became his first published book: In the Name of Science: An Entertaining Survey of the High Priests and Cultists of Science, Past and Present.

Early career

In the late 1940s, Gardner moved to New York City and became a writer and editor at Humpty Dumpty magazine where for eight years he wrote features and stories for it and several other children's magazines.Yam, Philip (December 1995) Profile: Martin Gardner, the Mathematical Gamester (1914-2010) {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180511082616weblink |date=2018-05-11 }} Scientific American His paper-folding puzzles at that magazine led to his first work at Scientific American.BOOK, Gardner, Martin, Berlekamp, Elwyn R., Rodgers, Tom, 1999, The mathemagician and pied puzzler: a collection in tribute to Martin Gardner, A K Peters, Ltd., 978-1-56881-075-1,weblink For many decades, Gardner, his wife Charlotte, and their two sons, Jim and Tom, lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where he earned his living as a freelance author, publishing books with several different publishers, and also publishing hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles.Gardner, Martin (2013) Appropriately enough—given his interest in logic and mathematics—they lived on Euclid Avenue. The year 1960 saw the original edition of the best-selling book of his career, The Annotated Alice.Burstein (2011)

Retirement and death

In 1979, Gardner retired from Scientific American and he and his wife Charlotte moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina. Gardner never really retired as an author, but continued to write math articles, sending them to The Mathematical Intelligencer, Math Horizons, The College Mathematics Journal, and Scientific American. He also revised some of his older books such as Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma Cube.Richards (2014) Charlotte died in 2000 and in 2004 Gardner returned to Norman, Oklahoma,Albers (2008) where his son, James Gardner, was a professor of education at the University of Oklahoma. He died there on May 22, 2010. An autobiography — Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner — was published posthumously.

Influence

Martin Gardner had a major impact on mathematics in the second half of the 20th century.Princeton University Press: Reviews of Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: "Martin Gardner occupies a special place in twentieth-century mathematics. More than any other single individual, he inspired a generation of young people to study math."–Barry Arthur CipraBellos (2010): He was not a mathematician – he never even took a maths class after high school—yet Martin Gardner, who has died aged 95, was arguably the most influential and inspirational figure in mathematics in the second half of the last century. His column was called "Mathematical Games" but it was much more than that.Hofstadter (2010): The word games, with its lightweight flavor, did not even hint at the depth of the issues that the column dealt with.Richards (2014): Gardner's columns seeded scores of new findings—far too many to list.Berlekamp (1982): Elwyn R. Berlekamp, John H. Conway, and Richard K. Guy dedicated their book Winning Ways for your Mathematical Plays, saying "To Martin Gardner, who has brought more mathematics to more millions than anyone else." His writing introduced many readers to real mathematics for the first time in their lives.Hofstadter (2010): Many of today's most influential mathematicians and physicists, magicians and philosophers, writers and computer scientists, owe their direction to Martin Gardner. They may not even be aware of how big a role he played in their development. The column lasted for 25 years and was read avidly by the generation of mathematicians and physicists who grew up in the years 1956 to 1981.Mulcahy (Jan 2014): It's been said that he had a million readers there at his peak.Malkevitch (2014): Martin Gardner's columns and books have been referenced by huge numbers of research papers that involve mathematics. It was the original inspiration for many of them to become mathematicians or scientists themselves.Bhargava (April 2018): Eventually, when I was around 12 years old, through my puzzle explorations I of course also had the good fortune of discovering the works of Martin Gardner. They inspired me a huge amount, and gave me something far more enjoyable to do than go to math class! I also read other recreational mathematics and puzzle books, such as those of Raymond Smullyan, and all of these works definitely had a great influence on me as a playing and playful mathematician.Antonick (2014): Martin Gardner was well known for inspiring generations of students to become professional mathematicians.Antonick (2014): "Martin Gardner's column in Scientific American was one of the two things that, above all others, convinced me I wanted to be a mathematician."–Ian StewartDemaine (2008) p. ix: Many of today's mathematicians entered this field through Gardner's influence.Crease (2018): "As a columnist for Scientific American, Gardner inspired generations of physicists, mathematicians, philosophers, puzzle-makers, logicians, magicians and others, including me."David Auerbach wrote:Among the wide array of mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, philosophers, magicians, artists, writers, and other influential thinkers who inspired and were in turn inspired by Gardner are John Horton Conway, Bill Gosper, Ron Rivest, Richard K. Guy, Piet Hein, Ronald Graham, Donald Knuth, Robert Nozick, Lee Sallows, Scott Kim, M. C. Escher, Douglas Hofstadter, Roger Penrose, Ian Stewart, David A. Klarner, Benoit Mandelbrot, Elwyn R. Berlekamp, Solomon W. Golomb, Raymond Smullyan, James Randi, Persi Diaconis, Penn & Teller, and Ray Hyman.Donald Knuth (2011): Already when he began his monthly series in 1956 and 1957, he was corresponding with the likes of Claude Shannon, John Nash, John Milnor, and David Gale. Later he would receive mail from budding mathematicians John Conway, Persi Diaconis, Jeffrey Shallit, Ron Rivest, et al.Kim, Scott (2014): "His Scientific American column Mathematical Games, which ran for 25 years, inspired my own career as a puzzle designer."BBC News (Oct 2014)Hofstadter (2010)Mulcahy (2013)His admirers included such diverse people as W. H. Auden, Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, and the entire French literary group known as the Oulipo.The Economist (2010)Dirda (2009) Salvador Dali once sought him out to discuss four-dimensional hypercubes.Mulcahy (Jan 2014): The surrealist artist was intrigued by Martin's writings on the 4-dimensional cube, or tesseract—-which had been a prominent feature of his own 1954 painting Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus). Gardner wrote to M.C. Escher in 1961 to ask permission to use his Horseman tessellation in an upcoming column about H.S.M. Coxeter. Escher replied, saying that he knew Gardner as author of The Annotated Alice, which had been sent to Escher by Coxeter. The correspondence led to Gardner introducing the previously unknown Escher's art to the world.Mulcahy (Jan 2014) His writing was both broad and deep.BBC News (Oct 2014): It went a lot further than puzzles—there was substance, depth and a fair share of mystery and wonder in the topics he wrote about.BBC News (Oct 2014): Penrose tiles are a good example of just how 'nontrivial' the consequences of his puzzle column could be. The materials scientist Dan Shechtman actually won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2011 'for the discovery of quasicrystals'—three-dimensional Penrose tiles—in some aluminium-manganese alloys.Hofstadter (2010): His approach and his ways of combining ideas are truly unique and truly creative, and, if I dare say so, what Martin Gardner has done is of far greater originality than work that has won many people Nobel Prizes. Noam Chomsky once wrote, "Martin Gardner's contribution to contemporary intellectual culture is unique—in its range, its insight, and understanding of hard questions that matter."Brown (2010) Gardner repeatedly alerted the public (and other mathematicians) to recent discoveries in mathematics–recreational and otherwise.Malkevitch (2014): The range of wonderful problems, examples, and theorems that Gardner treated over the years is enormous. They include ideas from geometry, algebra, number theory, graph theory, topology, and knot theory, to name but a few.Bellos, Alex (2010): I discovered how good [the columns] really were, covering everything from public-key cryptography to superstring theory. He was the first to cover so many breakthroughs. In addition to introducing many first-rate puzzles and topics such as Penrose tilesKullman (1997): "Martin Gardner, in his "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American presented "for the first time" a description of the Penrose tiles, including many of Conway's results concerning them." and Conway's Game of Life,MAA FOCUS (2010): "Another milestone was in late 1970, when Martin’s column introduced the world to John Horton Conway’s Game of Life"–John Derbyshire he was equally adept at writing captivating columns about traditional mathematical topics such as knot theory, Fibonacci numbers, Pascal's triangle, the Möbius strip, transfinite numbers, four-dimensional space, Zeno's paradoxes, Fermat's last theorem, and the four-color problem.Martin Gardner set a new high standard for writing about mathematics.AMS Notices (2004): "His crystalline prose, always enlightening, never pedantic, set a new standard for high quality mathematical popularization." —Allyn Jackson.Lister (1995): Martin Gardner's supreme achievement was his ability to communicate difficult and often profound subjects with a few deft, but human strokes of his pen.Mirsky (2010): "His writing has been valued by generations of professional mathematicians."–Ian StewartTeller (2014): "Gardner writes with authority and ease. You trust him to take you wherever he feels like going."Hofstadter (2010): Martin had a magical touch in writing about math. In a 2004 interview he said, "I go up to calculus, and beyond that I don't understand any of the papers that are being written. I consider that that was an advantage for the type of column I was doing because I had to understand what I was writing about, and that enabled me to write in such a way that an average reader could understand what I was saying. If you are writing popularly about math, I think it's good not to know too much math." And he was fearsomely bright.Princeton University Press: Reviews of Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: James Randi called him "a huge intellect."Martin (2010): "Martin Gardner is one of the great intellects produced in this country in the 20th century."–Douglas Hofstadter John Horton Conway called him "the most learned man I have ever met." Colm Mulcahy spoke for many when he said, "Gardner was without doubt the best friend mathematics ever had."Malkevitch (2014): One of the greatest expositors of mathematics, for me perhaps the greatest, was Martin Gardner. Perhaps no one has done more to make the world aware of mathematics than Martin GardnerThe Economist (2010): His gift, or rather one of them, was to explain mathematical concepts in ways that made sense to non-mathematicians. Many of them not only understood what he wrote but also became infected with his love of maths, of its beauty and of its capacity to give satisfaction.AMS Notices (2004): "He opened the eyes of the general public to the beauty and fascination of mathematics and inspired many to go on to make the subject their life's work." —Allyn JacksonAMS Notices (2011): "Indeed, more people have probably learned more good mathematical ideas from Martin Gardner than from any other person in the history of the world." – Donald Knuth

Mathematical Games column

{{Details|List of Martin Gardner Mathematical Games columns}}For over a quarter century Gardner wrote a monthly column on the subject of recreational mathematics for Scientific American. It all began with his free-standing article on hexaflexagons which ran in the December 1956 issue.The Economist (2010) Flexagons became a bit of a fad and soon people all over New York City were making them. Gerry Piel, the SA publisher at the time, asked Gardner, "Is there enough similar material to this to make a regular feature?" Gardner said he thought so. The January 1957 issue contained his first column, entitled "Mathematical Games". Almost 300 more columns were to follow.AMS Notices (2004)The "Mathematical Games" column became the most popular feature of the magazine and was the first thing that many readers turned to.Hofstadter (2010): There were thousands of such people spread all around the world—mathematicians, physicists, philosophers, computer scientists, and on and on—who thought of Martin Gardner's column not as merely a feature of that great magazine Scientific American, but as its very heart and soul. In September 1977 Scientific American acknowledged the prestige and popularity of Gardner's column by moving it from the back to the very front of the magazine.Demaine (2008): p. 24 It ran from 1956 to 1981 with sporadic columns afterwards and was the first introduction of many subjects to a wider audience, notably:Institute for Research in Computer Science: University Paris-Diderot: Hex & Rex & T-Rex & C-Hex Piet Hein discovered HEX in 1942, but it was only when Martin Gardner wrote about HEX in Scientific American in 1957 that it became widely known.Adamatzky, A. (Ed.) (2010). Game of Life Cellular Automata ebook, {{isbn|1849962170}}. pp. 15-16, Conway came to New York to meet with Gardner [and] could not believe the amount of interest Gardner's columns on the game of Life had generated.File:All 35 free hexominoes.svg|thumb|350px|Solomon Golomb's Polyominoes were among the many recreational mathematics topics featured by Gardner in his column. The 35 hexominoeshexominoes{{div col|colwidth=30em}} {{div col end}}Ironically, Gardner had problems learning calculus and never took a mathematics course after high school. While editing Humpty Dumpty's Magazine he constructed many paper folding puzzles, and this led to his interest in the flexagons invented by British mathematician Arthur H Stone. The subsequent article he wrote on hexaflexagons led directly to the column.Gardner's son Jim once asked him what was his favorite puzzle, and Gardner answered almost immediately: "The monkey and the coconuts".Antonick, Gary (2013). Martin Gardner’s The Monkey and the Coconuts in Numberplay The New York Times:, October 7, 2013 It had been the subject of his April 1958 Games column and in 2001 he chose to make it the first chapter of his "best of" collection, The Colossal Book of Mathematics.Gardner, Martin The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems (2001), W.W. Norton & Company; {{ISBN|0-393-02023-1}}In the 1980s "Mathematical Games" began to appear only irregularly. Other authors began to share the column, and the June 1986 issue saw the final installment under that title. In 1981, on Gardner's retirement from Scientific American, the column was replaced by Douglas Hofstadter's "Metamagical Themas", a name that is an anagram of "Mathematical Games".Virtually all of the games columns were collected in book form starting in 1959 with The Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles & Diversions.Martin Gardner: Mathematical Games Collections {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160629190922weblink |date=2016-06-29 }} by David Langford Over the next four decades fourteen more books followed.England (2014) Donald Knuth called them the (Martin Gardner bibliography#"Mathematical Games": The Scientific American columns|canonical books).The New Martin Gardner Mathematical Library {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20161226221136weblink |date=2016-12-26 }} Cambridge University PressThe Canon: The fifteen "Mathematical Games" books at martin-gardner.org {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150216210643weblink |date=2015-02-16 }}

Pseudoscience and skepticism

Gardner was an uncompromising critic of fringe science. His book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (1952, revised 1957) debunked dubious movements and theoriesNEWS, Regis, Ed, Ed Regis (author), June 4, 2000, There's One Born Every Minute (author), The New York Times,weblink May 20, 2016, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160304212224weblink">weblink March 4, 2016, Nobody who read it will soon forget its stellar roll call of mid-20th-century cranks and crackpots. including Fletcherism, Lamarckism, food faddism, Dowsing Rods, Charles Fort, Rudolf Steiner, Dianetics, the Bates method for improving eyesight, Einstein deniers, the Flat Earth theory, the lost continents of Atlantis and Lemuria, Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision, the reincarnation of Bridey Murphy, Wilhelm Reich's orgone theory, the spontaneous generation of life, extra-sensory perception and psychokinesis, homeopathy, phrenology, palmistry, graphology, and numerology. This book and his subsequent efforts (Science: Good, Bad and Bogus, 1981; Order and Surprise, 1983, Gardner's Whys & Wherefores, 1989, etc.) provoked a lot of criticism from the advocates of alternative science and New Age philosophy;Friedel (2018): This book and his subsequent efforts earned him a wealth of detractors and antagonists in the fields of “fringe science” and New Age philosophy. he kept up running dialogues (both public and private) with many of them for decades.In a review of Science: Good, Bad and Bogus, Stephen Jay Gould called Gardner "The Quack Detector", a writer who "expunge[d] nonsense" and in so doing had "become a priceless national resource."Gould (1982): In this climate, beleaguered rationalism needs its skilled debaters—writers who can combine wit, penetrating analysis, sharp prose, and sweet reason into an expansive view that expunges nonsense without stifling innovation, and that presents the excitement and humanity of science in a positive way. ... For more than thirty years, Martin Gardner has played this largely thankless role with tireless efficiency. He is more than a mere individual fighting a set of personal battles; he has become a priceless national resource.In 1976 Gardner joined with fellow skeptics philosopher Paul Kurtz, psychologist Ray Hyman, sociologist Marcello Truzzi, and stage magician James Randi to found the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (now called the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry). Luminaries such as astronomer Carl Sagan, author and biochemist Isaac Asimov, psychologist B. F. Skinner, and journalist Philip J. Klass became fellows of the program. From 1983 to 2002 he wrote a monthly column called "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" (originally "Notes of a Psi-Watcher") for Skeptical Inquirer, that organization's monthly magazine.WEB, CSI | Articles by Martin Gardner, Csicop.org,weblink 2010-09-01, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100811050559weblink">weblink 2010-08-11, These columns have been collected in five books starting with The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher in 1988.Prometheus Books The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher by Martin GardnerGardner was a relentless critic of self-proclaimed Israeli psychic Uri Geller and wrote two satirical booklets about him in the 1970s using the pen name "Uriah Fuller" in which he explained how such purported psychics do their seemingly impossible feats such as mentally bending spoons and reading minds.WEB, Linkapedia Visualarts Discover more about Uriah Fuller, linkapedia-visualarts.com,weblink Martin Gardner continued to criticize pseudoscience throughout his life. His targets included astrology, UFO sightings, chiropractic, vegetarianism, Madame Blavatsky, creationism, Scientology, the Laffer curve, Christian Science, and the Hutchins-Adler Great Books Movement. The last thing he wrote in the spring of 2010 (a month before his death) was an article excoriating the "dubious medical opinions and bogus science" of Oprah Winfrey—particularly her support for the thoroughly discredited theory that vaccinations cause autism; it went on to bemoan the "needless deaths of children" that such notions are likely to cause.Oprah Winfrey: Bright (but Gullible) Billionaire {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160501151211weblink |date=2016-05-01 }} Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2010Skeptical Inquirer named him one of the Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Twentieth Century.weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080325140204weblink">Skeptical Inquirer Magazine Names the Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Century In 2010 he was posthumously honored with an award for his contributions in the skeptical field from the Independent Investigations Group.WEB, About the IIG Awards, Iigwest.com,weblink 2012-04-14, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120427203524weblink">weblink 2012-04-27, In 1982 the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry awarded Gardner its In Praise of Reason Award for his "heroic efforts in defense of reason and the dignity of the skeptical attitude",JOURNAL, 1983, CSICOP Council in Atlanta: Police Psychics, Local Groups, The Skeptical Inquirer, 7, 3, 13, and in 2011 it added Gardner to its Pantheon of Skeptics.WEB, The Pantheon of Skeptics,weblink Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, 30 April 2017,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20170131054129weblink">weblink 31 January 2017, no,

Magic

at martin-gardner.org|source= –Stephen Minch|align = right|width = 33%|bgcolor = #F7BFBE
}}Martin Gardner's father once showed him a magic trick when he was a little boy.Costello (1988) p. 115: His father had taught him his first trick, the "Knife and Paper" trick, a bit of legerdemain involving a butter knife with bits of paper on it. Young Martin was fascinated to see physical laws seemingly violated and this led to a lifelong passion for magic and illusion. He wrote for a magic magazine in high school and worked in a department store demonstrating magic tricks while he was at the University of Chicago.Bellos (2010) The very first thing that Martin Gardner ever published (at the age of fifteen) was a magic trick in The Sphinx, the official magazine of the Society of American Magicians.Gathering 4 Gardner (2014) He focused mainly on micromagic (table or close-up magic) and, from the 1930s on, published a significant number of original contributions to this secretive field. Magician Joe M. Turner said, The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic, which Gardner wrote in 1985, "is guaranteed to show up in any poll of magicians' favorite magic books."Demaine (2008) p. 12Reviews of Martin Gardner's Impromptu {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20170321082731weblink |date=2017-03-21 }} The Miracle Factory His first magic book for the general public, Mathematics, Magic and Mystery (Dover, 1956), is still considered a classic in the field. He was well known for his innovative tapping and spelling effects, with and without playing cards, and was most proud of the effect he called the "Wink Change".Demaine (2008): pp. 4-5Many of Gardner's lifelong friends were magicians.Lister (1995) These included William Simon who introduced Gardner to Charlotte Greenwald, whom he married in 1952, fellow CSICOP founder and pseudoscience fighter James Randi, Dai Vernon, Jerry Andrus, statistician Persi Diaconis, and polymath Raymond Smullyan. Diaconis and Smullyan like Gardner straddled the two worlds of mathematics and magic. Mathematics and magic were frequently intertwined in Gardner's work.from Dover Publications: Mathematics, Magic and Mystery {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160506140604weblink |date=2016-05-06 }} "As a rule, we simply accept these tricks and 'magic' without recognizing that they are really demonstrations of strict laws based on probability, sets, number theory, topology, and other branches of mathematics." One of his earliest books, Mathematics, Magic and Mystery (1956), was about mathematically based magic tricks. Mathematical magic tricks were often featured in his "Mathematical Games" column–for example, his August 1962 column was titled "A variety of diverting tricks collected at a fictitious convention of magicians." From 1998 to 2002 he wrote a monthly column on magic tricks called "Trick of the Month" in The Physics Teacher, a journal published by the American Association of Physics Teachers.The Dover Math and Science Newsletter {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150503043436weblink |date=2015-05-03 }} May 16, 2011
In 1999 Magic magazine named Gardner one of the "100 Most Influential Magicians of the Twentieth Century".Top 10 Martin Gardner Books {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160325041816weblink |date=2016-03-25 }}, by Colm Mulcahy, Huffington Post Books, October 28, 2014 In 2005 he received a 'Lifetime Achievement Fellowship' from the Academy of Magical Arts.WEB, Hall of Fame,weblink The Academy of Magical Arts, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20161120002854weblink">weblink 2016-11-20, The last work to be published during his lifetime was a magic trick in the May 2010 issue of (Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics).

Theism and religion

Gardner believed in a personal God, in an afterlife, and in prayer, but rejected established religion. He considered himself a philosophical theist and a fideist.Carpenter, Alexander (2008), "Martin Gardner on Philosophical Theism, Adventists and Price" Interview, 17 October 2008 {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160713163439weblink |date=13 July 2016 }}, Spectrum. He had an abiding fascination with religious belief but was critical of organized religion. In his autobiography, he stated: "When many of my fans discovered that I believed in God and even hoped for an afterlife, they were shocked and dismayed ... I do not mean the God of the Bible, especially the God of the Old Testament, or any other book that claims to be divinely inspired. For me God is a "Wholly Other" transcendent intelligence, impossible for us to understand. He or she is somehow responsible for our universe and capable of providing, how I have no inkling, an afterlife."Gardner (2013) p. 191, Spectrum.|source = – Martin Gardner, 2008|align = right|width = 33% }}Gardner described his own belief as philosophical theism inspired by the works of philosopher Miguel de Unamuno. While eschewing systematic religious doctrine, he retained a belief in God, asserting that this belief cannot be confirmed or disconfirmed by reason or science.Groth (1983) At the same time, he was skeptical of claims that any god has communicated with human beings through spoken or telepathic revelation or through miracles in the natural world.NEWS,weblink Martin Gardner: 1914-2010, French, Chris, 2010-05-25, The Guardian, en-GB, 0261-3077, 2017-01-31, no,weblink 2017-02-02, Gardner has been quoted as saying that he regarded parapsychology and other research into the paranormal as tantamount to "tempting God" and seeking "signs and wonders". He stated that while he would expect tests on the efficacy of prayers to be negative, he would not rule out a priori the possibility that as yet unknown paranormal forces may allow prayers to influence the physical world.The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener by Martin Gardner, Quill, 1983, pp. 238–239Gardner wrote repeatedly about what public figures such as Robert Maynard Hutchins, Mortimer Adler, and William F. Buckley, Jr. believed and whether their beliefs were logically consistent. In some cases, he attacked prominent religious figures such as Mary Baker Eddy on the grounds that their claims are unsupportable. His semi-autobiographical novel The Flight of Peter Fromm depicts a traditionally Protestant Christian man struggling with his faith, examining 20th century scholarship and intellectual movements and ultimately rejecting Christianity while remaining a theist.Gardner said that he suspected that the fundamental nature of human consciousness may not be knowable or discoverable, unless perhaps a physics more profound than ("underlying") quantum mechanics is some day developed. In this regard, he said, he was an adherent of the "New Mysterianism".WEB, Frazier, Kendrick, A Mind at Play: An Interview with Martin Gardner, Skeptical Inquirer,weblink 29 January 2016, no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160131235956weblink">weblink 31 January 2016,

Annotated works

Gardner was considered a leading authority on Lewis Carroll. His annotated version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, explaining the many mathematical riddles, wordplay, and literary references found in the Alice books, was first published as The Annotated Alice (Clarkson Potter, 1960). Sequels were published with new annotations as More Annotated Alice (Random House, 1990), and finally as The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Norton, 1999), combining notes from the earlier editions and new material.Dirda (2009): With this book Gardner virtually launched the entire mini-genre of annotated classics. The original book arose when Gardner found the Alice books "sort of frightening" when he was young, but found them fascinating as an adult.Jan Susina. Conversation with Martin Gardner: Annotator of Wonderland. The Five Owls. Jan./Feb. 2000. 62–64. He felt that someone ought to annotate them, and suggested to a publisher that Bertrand Russell be asked; when the publisher was unable to get past Russell's secretary, Gardner was asked to take on the project himself.Alice Still Lives Here by Michael Sims, Nashville Scene, July 06, 2000There had long been annotated books written by scholars for other scholars, but Gardner was the first the write such a work for the general public.Richards (2018) He virtually originated the genre and soon many other writers followed his lead.Kindley (2015): Just as importantly, though, The Annotated Alice gave rise to a new popular genre.Richards (2018): The look and feel was entirely due to Martin Gardner. Gardner himself went on to produce annotated editions of G. K. Chesterton's The Innocence Of Father Brown and The Man Who Was Thursday, as well as of celebrated poems including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Casey at the Bat, The Night Before Christmas, and The Hunting of the Snark.

Novels and short stories

Gardner wrote two novels. He was a perennial fan of the Oz books written by L. Frank Baum,MacTutor: My mother read The Wizard of Oz to me when I was a little boy, and I looked over her shoulder as she read it. I learned how to read that way. and in 1988 he published Visitors from Oz, based on the characters in Baum's various Oz books. Gardner was a founding member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, and winner of its 1971 L. Frank Baum Memorial Award. His other novel was The Flight of Peter Fromm (1973), which reflected his lifelong fascination with religious belief and the problem of faith.Brown (2010): Faith was also the subject of his 1973 semi-autobiographical novel, "The Flight of Peter Fromm," in which the title character and his atheist professor of divinity grapple for decades with questions about God.His short stories were collected in The No-Sided Professor and Other Tales of Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, and Philosophy (1987).

Autobiography

At the age of 95 Gardner wrote Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner. He was living in a one-room apartment in Norman, Oklahoma and, as was his custom, wrote it on a typewriter and edited it using scissors and rubber cement.Teller (2014) He took the title from a poem by his good friend Piet Hein,Grooks by Piet Hein {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20141010004135weblink |date=2014-10-10 }} a so-called grook which perfectly expresses Gardner's abiding sense of mystery and wonder about existence.Undiluted Hocus-Pocus Reviewed by Andy Magid Princeton University Press, 2013, {{ISBN|978-0691159911}}{{poemquote|We glibly talk
of nature's laws
but do things have
a natural cause?
Black earth turned into
yellow crocus
is undiluted
hocus-pocus.
}}

Word play

Gardner's interest in wordplay led him to conceive of a magazine on recreational linguistics. In 1967 he pitched the idea to Greenwood Periodicals and nominated Dmitri Borgmann as editor.JOURNAL, Eckler, A. Ross, 2010, Look back!, (Word Ways, Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics), 43, 3, 167–168,weblink no,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20141006102711weblink">weblink 2014-10-06, The resulting journal, Word Ways, carried many of his articles; {{as of |2013|lc=y}} it was still publishing his submissions posthumously. He also wrote a "Puzzle Tale" column for Asimov's Science Fiction magazine from 1977 to 1986. Gardner was a member of the all-male literary banqueting club, the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov's fictional group of mystery solvers, the Black Widowers.Don Albers' interview of Gardner, Part 4: The Trap Door Spiders {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20081119143846weblink |date=2008-11-19 }}

Pen names

Gardner often used pen names. In 1952, while working for the children's magazine Humpty Dumpty, he contributed stories written by "Humpty Dumpty Jnr". For several years starting in 1953 he was a managing editor of Polly Pigtails, a magazine for young girls, and also wrote under that name. His Annotated Casey at the Bat (1967) included a parody of the poem, attributed to "Nitram Rendrag" (his name spelled backwards). Using the pen name "Uriah Fuller", he wrote two books attacking the alleged psychic Uri Geller. In later years, Gardner often wrote parodies of his favorite poems under the name "Armand T. Ringer", an anagram of his name.Top 10 Martin Gardner Alter Egos {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20170317115739weblink |date=2017-03-17 }} at martin-gardner.org In 1983 one George Groth panned Gardner's book The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener in the New York Review of Books. Only in the last line of the review was it revealed that George Groth was Martin Gardner himself."Gardner's Whys" in The Night is Large, chapter 40, pp. 481–87.In his January 1960 Mathematical Games column, Gardner introduced the fictitious "Dr. Matrix" and wrote about him often over the next two decades. Dr. Matrix was not exactly a pen name, although Gardner did pretend that everything in these columns came from the fertile mind of the good doctor. Then in 1979 Dr. Matrix himself published an article in the quite respectable Two-Year College Mathematics Journal.Matrix, Irving Joshua (1979). Martin Gardner: Defending the Honor of the Human Mind, The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Sep., 1979), pp. 227-232. It was called Martin Gardner: Defending the Honor of the Human Mind and contained a biography of Gardner and a history of his Mathematical Games column.It would be a further decade before Martin published an article in such a mathematics journal under his own name.

Philosophy of mathematics

Gardner was known for his sometimes controversial philosophy of mathematics.Skeptic Martin Gardner Dies {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20151002135149weblink |date=2015-10-02 }} by Loren Coleman, CryptoZoo News, May 23, 2010 He wrote negative reviews of The Mathematical Experience by Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh and What Is Mathematics, Really? by Hersh, both of which were critical of aspects of mathematical Platonism, and the first of which was well received by the mathematical community. While Gardner was often perceived as a hard-core Platonist, his reviews demonstrated some formalist tendencies. Gardner maintained that his views are widespread among mathematicians, but Hersh has countered that in his experience as a professional mathematician and speaker, this is not the case.WEB, Hersh, Reuben, 31 October 1997, Re: Martin Gardner book review, Foundations of Mathematics mailing list,weblink 22 May 2010,

Other views

Over the years Gardner held forth on many contemporary issues, arguing for his points of view in fields from general semantics to fuzzy logic to watching TV (he once wrote a negative review of Jerry Mander's book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television).BOOK, Science, good, bad, and bogus – Martin Gardner – Google Books, Books.google.com.au,weblink 2012-04-14, He was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books.Reviews by and about Martin Gardner The New York Review of Books: 1973 to 1998 His philosophical views are described and defended in his book The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener (1983, revised 1999).

Legacy and awards

The numerous awards Gardner received include:Martin Gardner's Awards {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20160318223932weblink |date=2016-03-18 }} The Mathematical Associating of America has established a Martin Gardner Lecture to be given each year on the last day of MAA MathFest, the summer meeting of the MAA. The first annual lecture will be given by Erik Demaine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Saturday, August 3, 2019, at MathFest in Cincinnati.MAA MathFest 2019 Invited AddressesThere are eight bricks honoring Gardner in the Paul R. Halmos Commemorative Walk, installed by The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) at their Conference Center in Washington, D.C.Brick Installation Honors Martin Gardner {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20170628173936weblink |date=2017-06-28 }} MAA New release

Gathering 4 Gardner

{{Details|Gathering 4 Gardner}}Martin Gardner continued to write up until his death in 2010, and his community of fans grew to span several generations. Moreover, his influence was so broad that many of his fans had little or no contact with each other.MAA FOCUS (2010): "His heritage goes beyond essays and books; he left a community of magicians, mathematicians, and wits carrying things forward and delighting in it all."–Peter Renz This led Atlanta entrepreneur and puzzle collector Tom Rodgers to the idea of hosting a weekend gathering celebrating Gardner's contributions to recreational mathematics, rationality, magic, puzzles, literature, and philosophy. Although Gardner was famously shy, and would usually decline an honor if it required him to make a personal appearance, Rogers persuaded him to attend the first such "Gathering 4 Gardner" (G4G), held in Atlanta in January 1993.Robert P. Crease, Gathering for Gardner {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180328102700weblink |date=2018-03-28 }}, The Wall Street Journal, p. W11, 2 April 2010A second such get-together was held in 1996, again with Gardner in attendance, and this led Rodgers and his friends to make the gathering a regular, bi-annual event. Participants over the years have ranged from long-time Gardner friends such as Conway, Elwyn Berlekamp, Ronald Graham, Donald Coxeter, and Richard Guy, to newcomers like mathematician and mathematical artist Erik Demaine and mathematical video maker Vi Hart.The program at the "G4G" meetings presents topics which Gardner had written about. The first gathering in 1993 was G4G1 and the 1996 event was G4G2. Since then it has been in even-numbered years, so far always in Atlanta.Crease (2018) The 2018 event was G4G13.G4G13 Information {{webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20180520054438weblink |date=2018-05-20 }} gathering4gardner.org

References

{{Reflist|30em}}

Sources

External links

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