Celebrating Martin Gardner

posted Oct 20, 2012, 9:32 AM by debrataylor@sjisd.org   [ updated Jan 4, 2015, 1:56 PM ]
Celebration of The Mind--Celebrating Martin Gardner whose birthday is October 21st (Sunday). (Great Mrs. Taylor, but who is this Gardner guy and more importantly, how do I get invited to the party so I may enjoy some cake...hope it's chocolate). 

Martin Gardner (October 21, 1914 – May 22, 2010) was an American popular mathematics and science writer who wrote about math puzzles and intellectual recreations in Scientific American for a quarter-century.  He published almost 100 books on topics as diverse as magic, recreational mathematics, philosophy and the nuances of Alice in Wonderland.  He was a leading voice in refuting pseudoscientific theories and so-called paranormal powers, from ESP to flying saucers to spoon-benders.  Gardner’s was a clarifying intelligence: his talent was asking good questions and transmitting the answers clearly and crisply.  He conveyed “the magical quality of mathematics,” according to Douglas Hofstadter, the cognitive scientist. As ace statistician and card magician Persi Diaconis has remarked, Gardner "turned thousands of children into mathematicians, and thousands of mathematicians into children.

Check out the following site to dig deeper into Gardner's Hexaflexagon Discovery! http://www.puzzles.com/hexaflexagon/

Some of you may recognize Vi Hart  from Khan Academy explorations http://www.khanacademy.org/math/vi-hart It makes sense she would do a video on Celebrating Gardner.  

The story behind the hexaflexagon discovery is quite fascinating...Richard Feynman (physicists with his own incredible life story) was one of Gardner's math "playmates". Read this engaging story to find out more about Feynman and Gardner Hexaflexagons and Other Mathematical Diversions: The first Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Games