Posts Tagged ‘martin gardner’

Martin Gardner: Puzzler and Polymath

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Mathematician, scientist and philosopher Martin Gardner, died earlier this week. For 25 years, he inspired many new thinkers with Mathematical Games, his monthly column in the Scientific American. I knew him primarily as the author of The Annotated Alice, the definitive work on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. It perfectly demonstrates his multiplicity as a critical rationalist and sceptic with a love of the fantastical and irrational.

Academic obituaries often focus on contribution to knowledge and tangible artefacts. What’s interesting viewing Mathemagician, David Suzuki’s programme on Gardner from 1996 (The Nature of Things, CBC), is how much his unique interdisciplinarity was enthused by the network of personal connections that both inspired, and were inspired by, Gardner’s infectious sense of fun. As fitting a tribute as any.