Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Honor of a Non-mathematician...

Dave Richeson, just back from Atlanta and the 11th Gathering For Gardner (which got rave reviews!) reports on the interesting "gift exchange" therefrom:

The theme for the conference was "John Horton Conway," though I dare guess presentations and activities strayed pretty far afield, covering Martin Gardner's wide-ranging interests in math, magic, science, and philosophy.

I suspect there will be more blog reports (from some of the 350 attendees) in the next week on the always-unique conference … anyone who attended and writes a blog-post, please feel free to add a link to your post in the comments.

Also, note the new wonderful Martin Gardner website in honor of this, his Centennial year:

One can imagine Martin, wherever he is, almost embarrassed by all the attention (while he plays nimbly with a hexaflexagon) :-)

I'll end with some of the words from Doug Hofstadter's eulogy to him that I've quoted previously:
"He is totally unreproducible -- he was sui generis -- and what's so strange is that so few people today are really aware of what a giant he was in so many fields -- to name some of them, the propagation of truly deep and beautiful mathematical ideas (not just 'mathematical games,' far from it!), the intense battling of pseudoscience and related ideas, the invention of superb magic tricks, the love for beautiful poetry, the fascination with profound philosophical ideas (Newcomb's paradox, free will, etc. etc.), the elusive border between nonsense and sense... Martin Gardner was so profoundly influential on so many top-notch thinkers in so many disciplines -- just a remarkable human being -- and at the same time he was so unbelievably modest and unassuming. Totally. So it is a very sad day to think that such a person is gone, and that so many of us owe him so much, and that so few people -- even extremely intelligent, well-informed people -- realize who he was or have even ever heard of him. Very strange. But I guess that when you are a total non-self-trumpeter like Martin, that's what you want and that's what you get." 
 Thanks to all who keep spreading his name and legacy to a wider audience and future generations.

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