Mathematician:Martin Gardner

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Colossally influential American mathematician and magician best known for the books he wrote (of which there were many) popularizing mathematics and science.

Author of the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American between $1956$ and $1981$. This position was taken over by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

Also contributed a series of "puzzle page" articles for Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in the late 1970's to early 1980's.

Also wrote a column called Notes of a Fringe Watcher (originally Notes of a Psi-Watcher) from 1983 to 2002 for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's periodical Skeptical Inquirer.




  • Born: 21 Oct 1914, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
  • Died: 22 May 2010, Norman, Oklahoma, USA

Theorems and Definitions


  • 1957: Science Puzzlers
  • 1957: The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was (with Russel B. Nye)
    • 1994: The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was (with Russel B. Nye) (Revised edition)
  • 1958: Logic Machines and Diagrams
  • 1962: The Annotated Snark
    • 1998: The Annotated Snark (Reprinted edition)
  • 1962: Relativity for the Million
  • 1965: The Annotated Ancient Mariner
  • 1966: Martin Gardner's New Mathematical Diversions from Scientific American (collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 1967: Annotated Casey at the Bat: A Collection of Ballads about the Mighty Casey
  • 1971: The Sixth Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions (collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 1973: The Flight of Peter Fromm
  • 1978: Aha! Insight
  • 1981: Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus
  • 1981: Entertaining Science Experiments With Everyday Objects
  • 1981: Science Fiction Puzzle Tales (collection from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)
  • 1982: Aha! Gotcha: Paradoxes to Puzzle and Delight (Tools for Transformation)
  • 1983: The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener
  • 1983: Order and Surprise
  • 1984: Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing (also as Test Your Code Breaking Skills)
  • 1985: The Magic Numbers of Dr Matrix
  • 1986: Entertaining Mathematical Puzzles
  • 1986: Knotted Doughnuts and Other Mathematical Entertainments (collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 1987: The No-Sided Professor and other tales of fantasy, humor, mystery, and philosophy
  • 1987: The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown
  • 1987: Riddles of the Sphinx (collection from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)
  • 1988: Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers
  • 1988: New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher (collection of Notes of a Fringe Watcher columns)
  • 1989: Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers (collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 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
  • 1991: Fractal Music, Hypercards and More (collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 1992: On the Wild Side (collection of Notes of a Fringe Watcher columns)
  • 1993: The Healing Revelations of Mary Baker Eddy
  • 1994: My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles
  • 1995: Classic Brainteasers
  • 1995: Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery
  • 1996: Weird Water & Fuzzy Logic: More Notes of a Fringe Watcher (collection of Notes of a Fringe Watcher columns)
  • 1997: The Night Is Large: Collected Essays, 1938-1995
  • 1997: Last Recreations: Hydras, Eggs, and other Mathematical Mystifications
  • 1998: Calculus Made Easy (Revisions and additions to the 1910 textbook Calculus Made Easy by Silvanus P. Thompson)
  • 1998: Martin Gardner's Table Magic
  • 1998: Mathematical Recreations: A Collection in Honor of Martin Gardner
  • 1999: Gardner's Whys & Wherefores
  • 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
  • 2000: The Annotated Wizard of Oz (introduction)
  • 2001: A Gardner's Workout: Training the Mind and Entertaining the Spirit
  • 2001: Mathematical Puzzle Tales (collection of articles from Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)
  • 2001: The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems (a "best of" collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 2002: Martin Gardner's Favorite Poetic Parodies
  • 2003: Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?: Discourses on Gödel, Magic Hexagrams, Little Red Riding Hood, and Other Mathematical and Pseudoscientific Topics (collection of Notes of a Fringe Watcher columns and others)
  • 2004: Smart Science Tricks
  • 2005: Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games (CD-ROM version of the complete collection of Mathematical Games columns)
  • 2007: The Jinn from Hyperspace: And Other Scribblings—both Serious and Whimsical
  • 2008: Bamboozlers: The Book of Bankable Bar Betchas, Brain Bogglers, Belly Busters & Bewitchery by Diamond Jim Tyler (introduction)
  • 2009: When You Were a Tadpole and I was a Fish and other Speculations about This and That
  • 2009: The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek (introduction)
  • 2014: The Magic and Mystery of Numbers (posthumous collection)

Mathematical Games columns in Scientific American

  • October 1978: Mathematical Games: Puzzles and Number-Theory Problems Arising from the Curious Fractions of Ancient Egypt (Scientific American)

Notable Quotes

Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals -- the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great creative scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned if at all.
-- Epigraph to Part $\text A$ of 1992: George F. Simmons: Calculus Gems

Critical View

WARNING: Martin Gardner has turned dozens of innocent youngsters into math professors and thousands of math professors into innocent youngsters.
-- Persi Diaconis (quoted as a blurb on the dustcover of The Colossal Book of Short Puzzles and Problems)