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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Martin Gardner: Introduction

Mathematician and Journalist

Short Biography of Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

Martin Gardner

US writer and mathematical games editor. For 25 years he covered a broad range of intellectual diversions in his regular column ‘Mathematical Games’ in the periodical Scientific American (1957–81). Collecting and adding to these columns, he published a seemingly endless stream of books on mathematical puzzles, logical brainteasers, and philosophical and literary diversions. His first book, In the Name of Science (1952), sounded another of his favourite themes – his exposure of cults, fads, and fallacies in the sciences over the centuries. He also wrote serious books on science, including Philosophical Foundations of Physics (1966), and a ‘metaphysical novel’, The Flight of Peter Fromm (1973).

He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1936, he became a reporter for the Tulsa Tribune. He then worked in public relations for the University of Chicago, later becoming a contributing editor of Humpty Dumpty magazine (1952–62). A practising magician (as well as musical saw player), he attacked those who misused magical tricks to suggest some supernatural powers. He also published editions of well-known texts with his own footnotes explaining esoterica and curiosities, including Lewis Carroll's The Annotated Alice (1960), Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Annotated Ancient Mariner (1965), and Ernest L Thayer's The Annotated Casey at the Bat (1967).

"Gardner, Martin (1914-2010)." The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Abington: Helicon, 2014. Credo Reference. Web. 2 October 2014.

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