Happy 95th Birthday, Martin Gardner!

Published on Thursday, October 22, 2009 in , , , , , , ,

Martin GardnerYesterday, October 21st, was Martin Gardner's 95th birthday, and we here at Grey Matters wish him a very happy birthday!

If you're not familiar with Martin Gardner, he's the only individual whose name is a label here on Grey Matters. His best known work is his Scientific American Mathematical Games column, which are all available as books, and even on CD-ROM.

The best introduction to the man is David Suzuki's documentary Mystery and Magic of Mathematics: Martin Gardner and Friends, which I first mentioned last December.

I guarantee that if more people taught mathematical concepts like Martin Gardner does, people bragging about hating or doing poorly in math would be far fewer in number.

Over at Metafilter, in an entry appropriately titled Martin has turned thousands of children into mathematicians, and thousands of mathematicians into children, you can get an idea not only of some his best-known work, but also the appreciation people have for his work.

If you go through Grey Matters' Marting Garder section, it's not so much about learning math as it is discovering treasure. Wandering through his prolific authoring and co-authoring of over 70 books also has this same effect.

I myself was introduced to Martin Gardner's works as a kid when I was given one of his Aha! books (click to view explore these wonderful books). These books contain very high-level concepts that are usually reserved for college study, but it presents them in such a simple and straightforward manner that even some older pre-teens can grasp them.

Yes, this post is short, but if you're willing to go through and explore Martin Gardner's work and influence in just these few links, you'll find that you'll probably spend more time on this post than any of the others.

He's truly changed mathematics for the better by bringing a sense of fun into it. Even this blog would be a far poorer place without the work of Martin Gardner.

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