Sunday, May 23, 2010

Martin Gardner

One of the giants of popular mathematics passed away yesterday. The great Martin Gardner died in Norman, Oklahoma at 95.

Even though he did not understand calculus and never took a mathematics course past high school, he "more or less single-handedly renewed and nurtured interest in recreational mathematics in North America for a large part of the 20th century" (Wikipedia). He introduced dozens of new and unusual concepts to the public, from irregular Penrose tilings to John Conway's Game of Life to fractals.

He was also an accomplished magician, a profilic writer in multiple subject areas, a noted literary critic,an expert on Alice in Wonderland, a skeptic and debunker, and more. The man was simply amazing. I've read a lot of his works and been very impressed.

Mr. Gardner, you will be missed.

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