Sunday, January 4, 2015

Gardner Reflects...

What better way to begin a new year of Sunday reflections than with some words of reflection from Martin Gardner (from his autobiographical "Undiluted Hocus Pocus"):

"Writing the column for more than twenty-five years was one of the greatest joys of my life. If you look over all my columns you'll find that they steadily become more sophisticated mathematically. That was because I was learning math. I had not taken a single math course in college, although I loved the low-level math I learned in high school. And I had always been fond of recreational math ever since I was introduced to it as a boy by Sam Loyd's mammoth Cyclopedia of puzzles.
"One of the pleasures in writing the column was that it introduced me to so many top mathematicians, which of course I was not. Their contributions to my column were far superior to anything I could write, and were a major reason for the column's growing popularity. The secret of success was a direct result of my ignorance. Even today my knowledge of math extends only through calculus, and even calculus I only dimly comprehend. As a result, I had to struggle to understand what I wrote, and this helped me write in ways that others could understand.

[…If you have a favorite math-related passage that might make a nice Sunday morning reflection here let me know ( If I use one submitted by a reader, I'll cite the contributor.]

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