Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner

Overview
Martin Gardner was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics
Recreational mathematics
Recreational mathematics is an umbrella term, referring to mathematical puzzles and mathematical games.Not all problems in this field require a knowledge of advanced mathematics, and thus, recreational mathematics often attracts the curiosity of non-mathematicians, and inspires their further study...

, but with interests encompassing micromagic
Micromagic
Micromagic or close-up magic or table magic is magic performed in an intimate setting usually no more than ten feet from one's audience and is usually performed while sitting at a table....

, stage magic
Magic (illusion)
Magic is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means...

, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

), philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

, and religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. He wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

from 1956 to 1981 and the Notes of a Fringe-Watcher column in Skeptical Inquirer
Skeptical Inquirer
The Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly American magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry with the subtitle: The magazine for science and reason....

from 1983 to 2002 and published over 70 books.

Gardner, son of a petroleum geologist
Petroleum geologist
A petroleum geologist is an occupation that involves all aspects of oil discovery and production in the field of petroleum geology. Petroleum geologists are usually linked to the actual discovery of oil and the identification of possible oil deposits or leads. It can be a very labor intensive task...

, grew up in and around Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Martin Gardner'
Start a new discussion about 'Martin Gardner'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Martin Gardner was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics
Recreational mathematics
Recreational mathematics is an umbrella term, referring to mathematical puzzles and mathematical games.Not all problems in this field require a knowledge of advanced mathematics, and thus, recreational mathematics often attracts the curiosity of non-mathematicians, and inspires their further study...

, but with interests encompassing micromagic
Micromagic
Micromagic or close-up magic or table magic is magic performed in an intimate setting usually no more than ten feet from one's audience and is usually performed while sitting at a table....

, stage magic
Magic (illusion)
Magic is a performing art that entertains audiences by staging tricks or creating illusions of seemingly impossible or supernatural feats using natural means...

, literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

), philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

, and religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. He wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

from 1956 to 1981 and the Notes of a Fringe-Watcher column in Skeptical Inquirer
Skeptical Inquirer
The Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly American magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry with the subtitle: The magazine for science and reason....

from 1983 to 2002 and published over 70 books.

Biography


Gardner, son of a petroleum geologist
Petroleum geologist
A petroleum geologist is an occupation that involves all aspects of oil discovery and production in the field of petroleum geology. Petroleum geologists are usually linked to the actual discovery of oil and the identification of possible oil deposits or leads. It can be a very labor intensive task...

, grew up in and around Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

. He attended the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 (UC) where he earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 in 1936. Early jobs included reporter on the Tulsa Tribune
Tulsa Tribune
The Tulsa Tribune was an afternoon daily newspaper published in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 1919 to 1992. Owned and run by three generations of the Jones family, the Tribune closed in 1992 after the termination of its joint operating agreement with the morning Tulsa World.-Antecedents:In 1895, a group of...

, writer at the UC Office of Press Relations and case worker in Chicago's Black Belt
Black Belt (region of Chicago)
The history of African Americans in Chicago dates back to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable’s trading activities in the 1780s. Du Sable is the city's founder. Fugitive slaves and freedmen established the city’s first black community in the 1840s...

 for the city's Relief Administration. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he served for several years in the U.S. Navy as a yeoman
Yeoman (US Navy)
Yeoman is the oldest rating in the United States Navy. Yeomen perform secretarial and clerical work. They deal with visitors, telephone calls and incoming mail. They organize files and operate copy machines and order and distribute supplies...

 on board the destroyer escort USS Pope (DE-134)
USS Pope (DE-134)
USS Pope was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys....

in the Atlantic. His ship was still in the Atlantic when the war came to an end with the surrender of Japan
Surrender of Japan
The surrender of Japan in 1945 brought hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was incapable of conducting operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent...

 in August 1945.

After the war, Gardner returned to UC. He also attended graduate school for a year there, but he did not earn an advanced degree. In 1950 he published an article in the Antioch Review
Antioch Review
The Antioch Review is an American literary magazine established in 1941 at Antioch College in Ohio. One of the oldest continuously published literary magazines in the United States, it publishes fiction, essays and poetry from both emerging and established authors.The magazine continues to publish...

entitled "The Hermit Scientist," a pioneering work on what would later come to be called pseudoscientists. It was Gardner's first publication of a skeptical nature and two years later it was published in a much expanded book version: In the Name of Science, his first book.

In the early 1950s, he moved to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and became a writer and designer at Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty Magazine
Humpty Dumpty is an American magazine for children 5 to 7 years old which takes its title from the nursery rhyme of the same name. It features stories and educational activities....

magazine where for eight years he wrote features and stories for it and several other children's magazines. His paper-folding puzzles at that magazine (sister publication to Children's Digest
Children's Digest
Children's Digest was a children's magazine published from Oct. 1950 to May/June 2009, after which it was merged with Jack and Jill from the same publisher. For over 20 years it was published in the digest size implied by its name, but it subsequently switched to a larger format more similar to...

at the time, and now sister publication to Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill (magazine)
Jack and Jill is a bimonthly American magazine for children 7 to 10 years old which takes its title from the nursery rhyme of the same name. It features stories and educational activities....

magazine) led to his first work at Scientific American.

For many decades, Gardner, his wife Charlotte, and their two sons lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York
Hastings-on-Hudson is a village in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located in the southwest part of the town of Greenburgh. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 7,849. It lies on U.S. Route 9, "Broadway" in Hastings...

, where he earned his living as an independent author, publishing books with several different publishers, and also publishing hundreds of magazine articles and newspaper articles in various magazines and newspapers. Either by choice or coincidence (given his interest in logic and mathematics), they lived on Euclid
Euclid
Euclid , fl. 300 BC, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". He was active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I...

 Avenue.

In 1979, Gardner and his wife semi-retired and moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Hendersonville is a city in Henderson County, North Carolina, USA, southeast of Asheville. In 1900, 1,917 persons lived in Hendersonville; in 1910, 2,818; and in 1940, 5,381 people lived here. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 12,223, up fivefold in one century. It is the county...

. His wife died in 2000.
In 2002, he returned to Norman, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
Norman is a city in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, United States, and is located south of downtown Oklahoma City. It is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, Norman was to have 110,925 full-time residents, making it the third-largest city in Oklahoma and the...

, where his son, James Gardner, is a professor of education at the University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its...

.
He died there on May 22, 2010.

Recreational mathematics


Martin Gardner more or less single-handedly 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.

Gardner had problems learning calculus
Calculus
Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...

 and never took a mathematics course beyond high school. He was the editor of a children's magazine named Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty is a character in an English language nursery rhyme, probably originally a riddle and one of the best known in the English-speaking world. He is typically portrayed as an egg and has appeared or been referred to in a large number of works of literature and popular culture...

's Magazine for Little Children
in 1956 when he was asked by the publisher of Scientific American about the possibility of starting a regular column about recreational mathematics, following his submission of an article about flexagon
Flexagon
In geometry, flexagons are flat models, usually constructed by folding strips of paper, that can be flexed or folded in certain ways to reveal faces besides the two that were originally on the back and front....

s.

The "Mathematical Games" column ran from 1956 to 1981 and was the first introduction of many subjects to a wider audience, including:
  • Flexagon
    Flexagon
    In geometry, flexagons are flat models, usually constructed by folding strips of paper, that can be flexed or folded in certain ways to reveal faces besides the two that were originally on the back and front....

    s
  • John Horton Conway
    John Horton Conway
    John Horton Conway is a prolific mathematician active in the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory and coding theory...

    's Game of Life
    Conway's Game of Life
    The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970....

  • Polyomino
    Polyomino
    A polyomino is a plane geometric figure formed by joining one or more equal squares edge to edge. It is a polyform whose cells are squares. It may be regarded as a finite subset of the regular square tiling with a connected interior....

    es
  • The Soma cube
    Soma cube
    The Soma cube is a solid dissection puzzle invented by Piet Hein in 1933 during a lecture on quantum mechanics conducted by Werner Heisenberg. Seven pieces made out of unit cubes must be assembled into a 3x3x3 cube...

  • The board game
    Board game
    A board game is a game which involves counters or pieces being moved on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Games may be based on pure strategy, chance or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal which a player aims to achieve...

     "Nash", also called "Hex
    Hex (board game)
    Hex is a board game played on a hexagonal grid, theoretically of any size and several possible shapes, but traditionally as an 11x11 rhombus. Other popular dimensions are 13x13 and 19x19 as a result of the game's relationship to the older game of Go...

    " and sometimes called "John", independently created by Piet Hein
    Piet Hein (Denmark)
    Piet Hein was a Danish scientist, mathematician, inventor, designer, author, and poet, often writing under the Old Norse pseudonym "Kumbel" meaning "tombstone"...

     and John Forbes Nash
    John Forbes Nash
    John Forbes Nash, Jr. is an American mathematician whose works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations have provided insight into the forces that govern chance and events inside complex systems in daily life...

  • Hare and Hounds
  • Tangram
    Tangram
    The tangram is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape using all seven pieces, which may not overlap...

    s
  • Penrose tiling
    Penrose tiling
    A Penrose tiling is a non-periodic tiling generated by an aperiodic set of prototiles named after Sir Roger Penrose, who investigated these sets in the 1970s. The aperiodicity of the Penrose prototiles implies that a shifted copy of a Penrose tiling will never match the original...

  • Cryptanalysis
    Cryptanalysis
    Cryptanalysis is the study of methods for obtaining the meaning of encrypted information, without access to the secret information that is normally required to do so. Typically, this involves knowing how the system works and finding a secret key...

    /public key cryptography/trapdoor ciphers/the RSA-129 cryptographic challenge
  • The work of M. C. Escher
    M. C. Escher
    Maurits Cornelis Escher , usually referred to as M. C. Escher , was a Dutch graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints...

  • Fractal
    Fractal
    A fractal has been defined as "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole," a property called self-similarity...

    s.


Many of these articles have been collected in a series of books starting with Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions, first published in 1956.

In 1981, on Gardner's retirement from Scientific American, the column was replaced by Douglas Hofstadter
Douglas Hofstadter
Douglas Richard Hofstadter is an American academic whose research focuses on consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics...

's "Metamagical Themas
Metamagical Themas
Metamagical Themas is a collection of eclectic articles written for Scientific American during the early 1980s by Douglas Hofstadter, and published together as a book in 1985 by Basic Books ....

", a name that is an anagram
Anagram
An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once; e.g., orchestra = carthorse, A decimal point = I'm a dot in place, Tom Marvolo Riddle = I am Lord Voldemort. Someone who...

 of "Mathematical Games". Gardner never really retired as an author, but rather he continued to do literature research and to write, especially in updating many of his older books, such as Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma Cube, ISBN 978-0-521-73524-7, published 2008.

Gardner also wrote a "puzzle" story column for Asimov's Science Fiction
Asimov's Science Fiction
Asimov's Science Fiction is an American science fiction magazine which publishes science fiction and fantasy and perpetuates the name of author and biochemist Isaac Asimov...

magazine for a while in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Pseudoscience


Gardner's uncompromising attitude toward pseudoscience
Pseudoscience
Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status...

 made him one of the world's foremost anti-pseudoscience polemicists of the 20th century. His book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, also known just as In the Name of Science, was Martin Gardner's second book, and has become a classic in the literature of entertaining scientific skepticism...

(1952, revised 1957) is a classic and seminal work of the skeptical movement
Scientific skepticism
Scientific skepticism is the practice of questioning the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence or reproducibility, as part of a methodological norm pursuing "the extension of certified knowledge". For example, Robert K...

. It explored myriad dubious outlooks and projects including Fletcherism
Horace Fletcher
Horace Fletcher was an American health-food faddist of the Victorian era who earned the nickname "The Great Masticator," by arguing that food should be chewed thirty two times – or, about 100 times per minute – before being swallowed: "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate." He invented...

, creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

, food faddism
Food faddism
The phrases food faddism and fad diet originally referred to idiosyncratic diets and eating patterns that promote short-term weight loss, usually with no concern for long-term weight maintenance, and enjoy temporary popularity...

, Charles Fort
Charles Fort
Charles Hoy Fort was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print today.-Biography:Charles Hoy Fort was born in 1874 in Albany, New York, of Dutch...

, Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher...

, Scientology
Scientology
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard , starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics...

, Dianetics
Dianetics
Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body that was invented by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology...

, UFOs, dowsing
Dowsing
Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation , without the use of scientific apparatus...

, extra-sensory perception
Extra-sensory perception
Extrasensory perception involves reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. The term was coined by Frederic Myers, and adopted by Duke University psychologist J. B. Rhine to denote psychic abilities such as telepathy, clairaudience, and...

, the Bates method
Bates Method
The Bates method is an alternative therapy aimed at improving eyesight. Eye-care physician William Horatio Bates attributed nearly all sight problems to habitual strain of the eyes, and felt that glasses were harmful and never necessary...

, and psychokinesis
Psychokinesis
The term psychokinesis , also referred to as telekinesis with respect to strictly describing movement of matter, sometimes abbreviated PK and TK respectively, is a term...

. This book and his subsequent efforts (Science: Good, Bad and Bogus, 1981; Order and Surprise, 1983, etc.) earned him a wealth of detractors and antagonists in the fields of "fringe science
Fringe science
Fringe science is scientific inquiry in an established field of study that departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories, and is classified in the "fringes" of a credible mainstream academic discipline....

" and New Age philosophy
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

, with many of whom he kept up running dialogs (both public and private) for decades.

In 1976, Gardner was a founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), and he wrote a column called "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" (originally "Notes of a Psi-Watcher") from 1983 to 2002 for that organization's periodical Skeptical Inquirer
Skeptical Inquirer
The Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly American magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry with the subtitle: The magazine for science and reason....

. These have been collected in five books: New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher (1988), On the Wild Side (1992), Weird Water and Fuzzy Logic (1996), Did Adam and Eve Have Navels (2000), and Are Universes Thicker than Blackberries (2003). Gardner was a senior CSICOP fellow and prominent skeptic of the paranormal.

On August 21, 2010, Gardner was posthumously honored with an award recognizing his contributions in the skeptical field, from the Independent Investigations Group
Independent Investigations Group
The Independent Investigations Group is a volunteer-based organization founded by James Underdown in January 2000 at the Center for Inquiry-West in Hollywood, California...

 during its 10th Anniversary Gala.

Religion and philosophy


Gardner had an abiding fascination with religious belief. He was a fideistic
Fideism
Fideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths...

 deist, professing belief in God as Creator, but critical of organized religion. He has been quoted as saying that he regards 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.

Gardner wrote repeatedly about what public figures such as Robert Maynard Hutchins, Mortimer Adler
Mortimer Adler
Mortimer Jerome Adler was an American philosopher, educator, and popular author. As a philosopher he worked within the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions. He lived for the longest stretches in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and San Mateo, California...

, and William F. Buckley, Jr.
William F. Buckley, Jr.
William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for...

 believed and whether their beliefs were logically consistent. In some cases, he attacked prominent religious figures such as Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of Christian Science , a Protestant American system of religious thought and practice religion adopted by the Church of Christ, Scientist, and others...

 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. He described his own belief as philosophical theism
Philosophical theism
Philosophical theism is the belief that God exists independent of the teaching or revelation of any particular religion. It represents belief in a personal God entirely without doctrine...

 inspired by the theology of the philosopher Miguel de Unamuno
Miguel de Unamuno
Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright and philosopher.-Biography:...

. While critical of organized religions, Gardner believed in God, asserting that this belief cannot be confirmed or disconfirmed by reason or science. At the same time, he was skeptical of claims that God has communicated with human beings through spoken or telepathic revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 or through miracle
Miracle
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

s in the natural world.

Gardner's philosophy may be summarized as follows: There is nothing supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

, and nothing in human reason or visible in the world to compel people to believe in God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

. The mystery of existence
Existence
In common usage, existence is the world we are aware of through our senses, and that persists independently without them. In academic philosophy the word has a more specialized meaning, being contrasted with essence, which specifies different forms of existence as well as different identity...

 is enchanting, but a belief in "The Old One" comes from faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 without evidence
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

. However, with faith and prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 people can find greater happiness than without. If there is an afterlife
Afterlife
The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

, the loving "Old One" is probably real. "[To an atheist] the universe is the most exquisite masterpiece
Masterpiece
Masterpiece in modern usage refers to a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill or workmanship....

 ever constructed by nobody", from G. K. Chesterton
G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG was an English writer. His prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction....

, was one of Gardner's favorite quotes.

Gardner has said that he suspects that the fundamental nature of human consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 may not be knowable or discoverable, unless perhaps a physics more profound than ("underlying") quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 is some day developed. In this regard, he said, he was an adherent of the "New Mysterianism
New Mysterianism
New mysterianism is a philosophical position proposing that the hard problem of consciousness cannot be resolved by humans. The unresolvable problem is how to explain the existence of qualia.-Name:...

".

Literary criticism and fiction


Gardner was considered a leading authority on Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

. His annotated version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

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
The Annotated Alice
The Annotated Alice is a work by Martin Gardner incorporating the text of Lewis Carroll's major tales: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as well as the original illustrations by John Tenniel...

(Clarkson Potter, 1960), a sequel 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. The book arose when Gardner, who found the Alice books 'sort of frightening' when he was young but found them fascinating as an adult, felt that someone ought to annotate them and suggested to a publisher that Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 be asked; when the publisher did not manage to get past Russell's secretary, Gardner was asked to take the project. The book has been Gardner's most successful, selling over half a million copies.

In addition to the 'Alice' books, Gardner produced “Annotated” editions of Chesterton’s
G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG was an English writer. His prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction....

 The Innocence Of Father Brown
Father Brown
Father Brown is a fictional character created by English novelist G. K. Chesterton, who stars in 52 short stories, later compiled in five books. Chesterton based the character on Father John O'Connor , a parish priest in Bradford who was involved in Chesterton's conversion to Catholicism in 1922...

and The Man Who Was Thursday
The Man Who Was Thursday
The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare is a novel by G. K. Chesterton, first published in 1908. The book is sometimes referred to as a metaphysical thriller.-Plot summary:...

as well as of celebrated poems including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss...

, Casey at the Bat
Casey at the Bat
"Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888" is a baseball poem written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888, it was later popularized by DeWolf Hopper in many vaudeville performances.The poem was originally published...

, The Night Before Christmas, and The Hunting of the Snark
The Hunting of the Snark
The Hunting of the Snark is usually thought of as a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll in 1874, when he was 42 years old...

; the last also written by Lewis Carroll.

Gardner occasionally tried his hand at fiction of a kind always closely associated with his non-fictional preoccupations. His roman à clef
Roman à clef
Roman à clef or roman à clé , French for "novel with a key", is a phrase used to describe a novel about real life, overlaid with a façade of fiction. The fictitious names in the novel represent real people, and the "key" is the relationship between the nonfiction and the fiction...

novel was The Flight of Peter Fromm (1973) and his short stories were collected in The No-Sided Professor and Other Tales of Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, and Philosophy (1987).
Gardner published stories about an imaginary numerologist
Numerology
Numerology is any study of the purported mystical relationship between a count or measurement and life. It has many systems and traditions and beliefs...

 named Dr. Matrix
Irving Joshua Matrix
Irving Joshua Matrix , born Irving Joshua Bush and commonly known as Dr. Matrix, was a fictitious polymath scientist, scholar, and entrepreneur who made extraordinary contributions to perpetual motion engineering, Biblical cryptography and numerology, pyramid power, pentagonal meditation,...

 and Visitors from Oz
Visitors from Oz
Visitors from Oz: The Wild Adventures of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman is an unofficial sequel to the Oz book series. Published in 1998, it was written by Martin Gardner and illustrated by Ted Enik. It follows up after the last Oz book written by L...

(1998), based on L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

's Oz books, which reflected his love of Oz. (He was a founding member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, and winner of its 1971 L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.)
Gardner was a member of the all-male literary banqueting club, the Trap Door Spiders
Trap Door Spiders
The Trap Door Spiders are a literary male-only eating, drinking, and arguing society in New York City, with a membership historically composed of notable science fiction personalities...

, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

's fictional group of mystery solvers, the Black Widowers
Black Widowers
The Black Widowers is a fictional men-only dining club created by Isaac Asimov for a series of sixty-six mystery stories which he started writing in 1971...

.

Gatherings for Gardner


Gardner was famously shy and declined many honors when he learned that a public appearance would be required if he accepted. However, in 1993 Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

 puzzle collector Tom Rodgers persuaded Gardner to attend an evening devoted to Gardner's puzzle-solving efforts. The gathering was repeated in 1996, again with Gardner in attendance, which convinced Rodgers and his friends to make the gathering a regular event. It has been held since then in even-numbered years near Atlanta, and the program consists of any topic which could have been touched by Gardner during his writing career. The event is called "Gathering for Gardner", and is written "G4Gn", with n being replaced by the number of the event (the 2010 event thus was G4G9). Gardner only attended the 1993 and 1996 events.

Controversy


In addition to writing about mathematics, Gardner was an avid controversialist on contemporary issues, arguing for his points of view in a wide range of fields, from general semantics
General Semantics
General semantics is a program begun in the 1920's that seeks to regulate the evaluative operations performed in the human brain. After partial program launches under the trial names "human engineering" and "humanology," Polish-American originator Alfred Korzybski fully launched the program as...

 to fuzzy logic
Fuzzy logic
Fuzzy logic is a form of many-valued logic; it deals with reasoning that is approximate rather than fixed and exact. In contrast with traditional logic theory, where binary sets have two-valued logic: true or false, fuzzy logic variables may have a truth value that ranges in degree between 0 and 1...

 to watching TV (he once wrote a negative review of Jerry Mander
Jerry Mander
Jerold Irwin "Jerry" Mander is an American activist and author, best known for his 1977 book, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television...

's book Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television is a book written by Jerry Mander which argues that there are a number of problems with the medium of television...

). His philosophical views are described and defended in his book The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener. Under the pseudonym "George Groth", Gardner panned his own book for the New York Review of Books. Although Gardner was a fierce critic of paranormal claims, under his "George Groth" pseudonym he wrote an article for Fate magazine (October 1952, pp. 39–43) titled "He Writes with Your Hand," which touted the psychic abilities of mentalist Stanley Jaks as genuine.

Gardner was known for his sometimes controversial philosophy of mathematics. He wrote negative reviews of The Mathematical Experience
The Mathematical Experience
The Mathematical Experience is a 1981 book by Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh that discusses the practice of modern mathematics from a historical and philosophical perspective...

by Philip J. Davis
Philip J. Davis
Philip J. Davis is an American applied mathematician.Davis was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He is known for his work in numerical analysis and approximation theory, as well as his investigations in the history and philosophy of mathematics...

 and Reuben Hersh
Reuben Hersh
Reuben Hersh is an American mathematician and academic, best known for his writings on the nature, practice, and social impact of mathematics. This work challenges and complements mainstream philosophy of mathematics.After receiving a B.A...

 and What is mathematics, really? by Hersh, each 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
Formalism (mathematics)
In foundations of mathematics, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of logic, formalism is a theory that holds that statements of mathematics and logic can be thought of as statements about the consequences of certain string manipulation rules....

 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.

Books

  • 1949 Over the Coffee Cups. Tulsa: Montandon Magic. A book of close-up magic, described by Gardner as "dinner-table tricks and gags."
  • 1952 In the Name of Science: An Entertaining Survey of the High Priests and Cultists of Science, Past and Present G. P. Putnam's Sons
    G. P. Putnam's Sons
    G. P. Putnam's Sons was a major United States book publisher based in New York City, New York. Since 1996, it has been an imprint of the Penguin Group.-History:...

  • 1957 Science Puzzlers The Viking Press, Scholastic Book Services
    Viking Press
    Viking Press is an American publishing company owned by the Penguin Group, which has owned the company since 1975. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim...

  • 1957 Great Essays in Science (editor); Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by Paul Kurtz, who also founded the Council for Secular Humanism and co-founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is currently the chairman of all three organizations. Prometheus Books publishes a range of books, including many...

     (Reprint edition 1994) ISBN 0-87975-853-8
  • 1957 The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was. (with Russel B. Nye) Michigan State University Press. Revised 1994.
  • 1958 Logic Machines and Diagrams. McGraw-Hill New York
  • 1960 The Annotated Alice
    The Annotated Alice
    The Annotated Alice is a work by Martin Gardner incorporating the text of Lewis Carroll's major tales: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as well as the original illustrations by John Tenniel...

    New York: Bramhall House Clarkson Potter. Lib of Congress #60-7341 (no ISBN)
  • 1962 The Annotated Snark New York: Simon & Schuster. (Unabridged Hunting of the snark
    The Hunting of the Snark
    The Hunting of the Snark is usually thought of as a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll in 1874, when he was 42 years old...

     with introduction and extensive notes from Gardner). 1998 reprint, Penguin Classics; ISBN 0-14-043491-7
  • 1962 Relativity for the Million New York: MacMillan Company (o.p.). Revised and updated 1976 as The Relativity Explosion New York: Vintage Books. Revised and enlarged 1996 as Relativity Simply Explained New York: Dover; ISBN 0-486-29315-7
  • 1964 The Ambidextrous Universe: Mirror Asymmetry and Time-Reversed Worlds
    The Ambidextrous Universe: Mirror Asymmetry and Time-Reversed Worlds
    The Ambidextrous Universe is a popular science book by Martin Gardner covering aspects of symmetry and asymmetry in human culture, science and the wider universe....

    (Revised ed., 1990 as The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings; 3rd ed., 2005, Dover; ISBN 0-486-44244-6)
  • 1965 The Annotated Ancient Mariner New York: Clarkson Potter, Reprint. Prometheus. ISBN 1-59102-125-1
  • 1967 Annotated Casey at the Bat: A Collection of Ballads about the Mighty Casey New York: Clarkson Potter. Reprint. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. ISBN 0-226-28263-5 Reprint. New York: Dover, 1995. ISBN 0-486-28598-7
  • 1973 The Flight of Peter Fromm, Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc. Prometheus Books; Reprint edition (1994) ISBN 0-87975-911-9
  • 1976 The Incredible Dr. Matrix, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons; ISBN 0-684-14669-X
  • 1978 Aha! Insight, W.H. Freeman & Company; ISBN 0-7167-1017-X
  • 1981 Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-573-3 (paperback), ISBN 0-87975-144-4 (hardback), ISBN 0-380-61754-4 (Avon pocket paperback)

  • 1981 Entertaining Science Experiments With Everyday Objects; Dover; ISBN 0-486-24201-3
  • 1982 Aha! Gotcha: Paradoxes to Puzzle and Delight (Tools for Transformation); W.H. Freeman & Company; ISBN 0-7167-1361-6
  • 1983 The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, 1999 reprint St. Martin's Griffin; ISBN 0-312-20682-8
  • 1983 Order and Surprise, Prometheus Books, ISBN 0-879-75219-X
  • 1984 Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing (Test Your Code Breaking Skills), Dover; ISBN 0-486-24761-9
  • 1985 Magic Numbers of Dr Matrix, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-282-3
  • 1986 Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles, Dover; ISBN 0-486-25211-6
  • 1987 The No-Sided Professor and other tales of fantasy, humor, mystery, and philosophy, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-390-0
  • 1987 The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-217748-6 (Notes by Gardner, on G. K. Chesterton
    G. K. Chesterton
    Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG was an English writer. His prolific and diverse output included philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction....

    ’s stories).
  • 1987 Riddles of the Sphinx Mathematical Association of American, ISBN 0-88385-632-8 (collection of articles from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)
  • 1987 Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments, W.H. Freeman & Company; ISBN 0-7167-1925-8
  • 1988 Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers, Dover; ISBN 0-486-25637-5
  • 1988 New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-432-X (collection of "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" columns)
  • 1990 More Annotated Alice, Random House; ISBN 0-394-58571-2 (a "supplement" to The Annotated Alice
    The Annotated Alice
    The Annotated Alice is a work by Martin Gardner incorporating the text of Lewis Carroll's major tales: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as well as the original illustrations by John Tenniel...

    )
  • 1991 The Unexpected Hanging and Other Mathematical Diversions, University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition; ISBN 0-226-28256-2
  • 1991 The Annotated Night Before Christmas: A Collection Of Sequels, Parodies, And Imitations Of Clement Moore's Immortal Ballad About Santa Claus Edited, with an introduction and notes, by Martin Gardner, Summit Books (Reprinted, Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books
    Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by Paul Kurtz, who also founded the Council for Secular Humanism and co-founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is currently the chairman of all three organizations. Prometheus Books publishes a range of books, including many...

    , 1995); ISBN 0-671-70839-2
  • 1991 Fractal Music, Hypercards and More; W. H. Freeman
  • 1992 On the Wild Side, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-713-2 (collection of "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" columns)
  • 1993 The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy, Prometheus Books,
  • 1994 My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles, Dover; ISBN 0-486-28152-3
  • 1995 Classic Brainteasers, Sterling Publishing; ISBN 0-8069-1261-8
  • 1995 Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-955-0
  • 1996 The Universe in a Handkerchief: Lewis Carroll's Mathematical Recreations, Games, Puzzles, and Word Plays, Springer-Verlag
  • 1996 Weird Water & Fuzzy Logic: More Notes of a Fringe Watcher, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-096-7 (collection of "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" columns)
  • 1997 The Night Is Large : Collected Essays, 1938-1995, St. Martin's Griffin; ISBN 0-312-16949-3
  • 1998 Calculus Made Easy
    Calculus Made Easy
    Calculus Made Easy is a book on calculus originally published in 1910 by Silvanus P. Thompson, considered a classic and elegant introduction to the subject. The original text continues to be available as of 2008 from Macmillan and Co., but a 1998 update by Martin Gardner is available from St...

    , St. Martin's Press; Revised edition ISBN 0-312-18548-0 (Revisions and additions to the 1910 calculus textbook by Silvanus P. Thompson
    Silvanus P. Thompson
    Silvanus Phillips Thompson FRS was a professor of physics at the City and Guilds Technical College in Finsbury, England. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1891 and was known for his work as an electrical engineer and as an author...

    .)
  • 1998 Martin Gardner's Table Magic, Dover; ISBN 0-486-40403-X
  • 1998 Mathematical Recreations: A Collection in Honor of Martin Gardner, Dover; ISBN 0486400891
  • 1998 Visitors From Oz St. Martin's Press; ISBN 0-312-19353-X
  • 1999 Gardner's Whys & Wherefores Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-744-9
  • 1999 The Annotated Alice
    The Annotated Alice
    The Annotated Alice is a work by Martin Gardner incorporating the text of Lewis Carroll's major tales: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass as well as the original illustrations by John Tenniel...

    : The Definitive Edition
    ; W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-04847-0
  • 1999 The Annotated Thursday: G. K. Chesterton's Masterpiece, the Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton, Edited by Martin Gardner.
  • 2000 From the Wandering Jew to William F. Buckley, Jr. : On Science, Literature, and Religion, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-852-6
  • 2000 The Annotated Wizard of Oz, New York: W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-04992-2 (introduction)
  • 2001 A Gardner's Workout: Training the Mind and Entertaining the Spirit ISBN 1-56881-120-9
  • 2001 Mathematical Puzzle Tales; Mathematical Association of America ISBN 0-88385-533-X (collection of articles from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)
  • 2001 Did Adam and Eve Have Navels?: Debunking Pseudoscience, W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-32238-6 (collection of "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" columns)
  • 2002 Martin Gardner's Favorite Poetic Parodies Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-925-5
  • 2003 Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Gödel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and Other Mathematical and Pseudoscientific Topics, ISBN 0-393-05742-9 (collection of "Notes of a Fringe Watcher" columns and others. The title alludes to Charles Sanders Peirce's ridiculing of Laplace's "principle of insufficient reason", which suggested uniform prior probability
    Prior probability
    In Bayesian statistical inference, a prior probability distribution, often called simply the prior, of an uncertain quantity p is the probability distribution that would express one's uncertainty about p before the "data"...

     for Bayesian statistics
    Bayesian statistics
    Bayesian statistics is that subset of the entire field of statistics in which the evidence about the true state of the world is expressed in terms of degrees of belief or, more specifically, Bayesian probabilities...

    .)
  • 2004 Smart Science Tricks, Sterling; ISBN 1-4027-0910-2
  • 2007 The Jinn from Hyperspace: And Other Scribblings—both Serious and Whimsical, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-5910-2565-6
  • 2008 Bamboozlers: The Book of Bankable Bar Betchas, Brain Bogglers, Belly Busters & Bewitchery by Diamond Jim Tyler, Diamond Jim Productions; ISBN 0-967-60181-9 (introduction)
  • 2009 When You Were a Tadpole and I was a Fish and other Speculations about This and That, Hill and Wang
    Hill and Wang
    Hill & Wang is an American book publishing company focused on American history, world history, and politics. It is a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux....

    ; ISBN 0-8090-8737-2
  • 2009 The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek, Sunday Press Books; ISBN 0-9768885-7-2 (introduction)

  • (For a downloadable version of The Mathemagician and the Pied Puzzler, another tribute book, see external links below)


Note: Gardner has a number of books on magic written "for the trade
Exposure (magic)
Exposure in magic refers to the practice of revealing the secrets of how magic tricks are performed.The practice is generally frowned upon as a type of spoiler that ruins the experience of magical performances for audiences.-Background:...

", which are not listed here.

Collected Scientific American columns


Fifteen books altogether—what Don Knuth calls "the Canon"—encompass Gardner's columns from Scientific American:
  • Hexaflexagons and Other Mathematical Diversions: The First Scientific American Book of Puzzles and Games 1959; University of Chicago Press 1988 ISBN 0-226-28254-6 (originally published as The Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions)
  • The Second Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions 1961; University of Chicago Press 1987; ISBN 0-226-28253-8
  • Martin Gardner's New Mathematical Diversions from Scientific American 1966; Simon and Schuster; reprinted by Mathematical Association of America
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

     1995
  • Numerology of Dr. Matrix 1967; reprinted/expanded as The Magic Numbers of Dr. Matrix; Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-281-5 / ISBN 0-87975-282-3
  • Unexpected Hangings, and Other Mathematical Diversions Simon & Schuster 1968; reprinted by University of Chicago Press, 1991 ISBN 0-671-20073-9
  • The Sixth Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions Simon & Schuster 1971
  • Mathematical Carnival Vintage 1975; reprinted by Mathematical Association of America
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

  • Mathematical Magic Show Vintage 1977; reprinted by Mathematical Association of America
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

  • Mathematical Circus Vintage 1979; reprinted by Mathematical Association of America
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

  • Wheels, Life, and Other Mathematical Amusements 1983; W. H. Freeman & Co. ISBN 0-7167-1589-9
  • Knotted Doughnuts and Other Mathematical Entertainments 1986; W. H. Freeman & Co. ISBN 0-7167-1799-9
  • Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments 1988; W. H. Freeman & Co. ISBN 0-7167-1925-8
  • Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers 1989; W. H. Freeman & Co. ISBN 0-7167-1987-8; reprinted by Mathematical Association of America
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

  • Fractal Music, Hypercards and More 1991; W. H. Freeman
  • Last Recreations: Hydras, Eggs, and other Mathematical Mystifications 1997; Springer Verlag; ISBN 0-387-94929-1


Three other books collect some or all of Gardner's columns from Scientific American:
  • The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems 2001; W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-02023-1 (a "best of" collection)
  • Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games 2005; Mathematical Association of America
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

    ; ISBN 0-88385-545-3 (CD-ROM of all fifteen books above, encompassing all articles in the column)
  • The Colossal Book of Short Puzzles and Problems 2006; W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN 0-393-06114-0

See also

  • Bulgarian solitaire
    Bulgarian solitaire
    In mathematics and game theory, Bulgarian solitaire is a random card game.In the game, a pack of N cards is divided into several piles. Then for each pile, either leave it intact or, with a fixed probability p, remove one card; collect the removed cards together to form a new pile .If p=1, the...

  • Heegner number
    Heegner number
    In number theory, a Heegner number is a square-free positive integer d such that the imaginary quadratic field Q has class number 1...

  • Russell's paradox
    Russell's paradox
    In the foundations of mathematics, Russell's paradox , discovered by Bertrand Russell in 1901, showed that the naive set theory created by Georg Cantor leads to a contradiction...

  • Three Prisoners problem
    Three Prisoners Problem
    The Three Prisoners problem appeared in Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column in Scientific American in 1959. It is mathematically equivalent to the Monty Hall problem with car and goat replaced with freedom and execution respectively, and also equivalent to, and presumably based on,...

  • Newcomb's paradox
    Newcomb's paradox
    Newcomb's paradox, also referred to as Newcomb's problem, is a thought experiment involving a game between two players, one of whom purports to be able to predict the future. Whether the problem is actually a paradox is disputed....


Interviews

  • 1979 interview with Gardner by Anthony Barcellos for the College Mathematics Journal
    College Mathematics Journal
    The College Mathematics Journal, published by the Mathematical Association of America, is an expository journal aimed at teachers of college mathematics, particular those teaching the first two years. It is a continuation of Two-Year College Mathematics Journal. It covers all aspects of mathematics...

  • 1998 interview with Gardner by Kendrick Frazier
    Kendrick Frazier
    Kendrick Frazier is a science writer and editor. He was the editor of Science News for several years. Since 1977 he has been the editor of Skeptical Inquirer, the journal published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry [CSI. He is a member of the executive council of CSI, an international...

     for the Skeptical Inquirer
    Skeptical Inquirer
    The Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly American magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry with the subtitle: The magazine for science and reason....

  • 2004 interview with Gardner (PDF) by Allyn Jackson for the AMS
    American Mathematical Society
    The American Mathematical Society is an association of professional mathematicians dedicated to the interests of mathematical research and scholarship, which it does with various publications and conferences as well as annual monetary awards and prizes to mathematicians.The society is one of the...

     Notices
    Notices of the American Mathematical Society
    Notices of the American Mathematical Society is a membership magazine of the American Mathematical Society, published monthly except for the combined June/July issue. It is the world's most widely read mathematics magazine, sent to the approximately 30,000 AMS members worldwide...

  • The Martin Gardner Interview (2005) - Cambridge University Press blog - Part 1
  • 2006 interview with Gardner by Colm Mulcahy for the MAA
    Mathematical Association of America
    The Mathematical Association of America is a professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists;...

     Online website

Tributes


Obituaries