Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gardner Finale...

Gotta be good!:

I just discovered that Martin Gardner's last book, "The Colossal Book of Wordplay" is now out: 

More fun from the man who made math and fun synonymous!

How timely too with the "Celebration of Mind" commemoration of Martin Gardner just a week away on October 21st.

In an interview, Gardner once said his two favorite books (that he authored) were, "The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener" (a favorite of mine as well, but one of his lesser-known and non-mathematical works) and his novel "The Flight of Peter Fromm" (which I've never read) --- seemingly odd choices from his vast outpouring, but then Gardner was unpredictable in so many ways. He critically (and hilariously) reviewed/debunked the 'Whys...' book for the NY Times under the alias George Groth; just one of many keenly-clever playful stunts he pulled off over the years.

I'm currently re-reading his "The Colossal Book of Mathematics," the wonderful compendium of his best "Scientific American" columns over the years (with great addenda added)... a must-have volume for any math-fan!
Gardner was a hugely humble individual who might likely be amazed at the outpouring of fondness/admiration expressed upon his death. Luckily he has left us with a lifetime-or-two of reading material. Even putting aside his mathematical work, I regard him as one of the best essayists of all time. Even when disagreeing with his takes on certain matters he was a joy to read (and that is a test of a great writer --- when you treasure reading them even when you disagree with them).
And to think, he barely studied math (academically) beyond high school! What a mind!! (worth a yearly celebration).

Martin... THANKS again for the memories, the musings, and the mathematics!

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