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At the G4G there were talks on how to envisage a Rubik's cube in four dimensions which drew a huge round of applause , new methods of making shapes fit together, the launch of a puzzle game called Doris, and demonstrations of how laser cutting is changing wooden mechanical puzzles.
Since the simplest puzzles tend to be the best, there is a certain underlying tension in discussions of supposed advances - the idea of sophistication in puzzle design is almost a self-contradiction. The most recent puzzle craze, Sudoku, could have been invented 1, years ago. Moscovich speaks with an eastern European twang and has a pencil moustache and brushed back, black hair.
An Auschwitz survivor, he remembered reading Gardner's first article in Scientific American in , and said it shaped the rest of his life. He comes to the G4G for inspiration. One of the rooms in Atlanta's Ritz Carlton, where the gathering was based, was given over to an exhibition of "mathematical objects" such as origami, geometrical shapes and elaborate puzzles.
He picked one up and held it lovingly in his hand. He pointed at the palm-sized planet's crystalline landscape and said: "Spidrons. He called the shape a "spidron" since it curved like a spiral. By the time he left university, spidrons had become his obsession. He endlessly played around with them, noticing that they could be fitted together like tiles in many aesthetically satisfying ways, in both two and three dimensions.
When, about five years ago, a Hungarian friend helped write a program to generate them on the computer, the spidron became known all around the world. He believes it could have applications in the design, for example, of solar panels. At the G4G, he had met a man who runs a company that launches rockets. The spidron, he said, may be about to go into space.
At university level and above, maths is a very male affair, although at GCSE girls now outperform boys. Some of them presented talks in which they applied high level maths to crochet, knitting, needlework and quilting. It turns out that "mathematics and the fibre arts" can actually convey deep mathematical ideas in a novel way - such as what a hyperbolic space might look like, which is something that has baffled mathematicians for centuries. Carolyn Yackel, one of the genre's pioneers, gave a talk on how to knit a pair of hyperbolic trousers.
You knit an octagon in hyperbolic space and then join the sides together. Yackel, who is young, engaging and on the right side of kooky, says, "I don't think that maths is inherently male at all, although the atmosphere can be made to be. I like doing this because it mixes two things I really like, which are maths and craft. There are so many really neat ideas. Tessellations are super-duper cool. Another type of craft that is, literally, on the cutting edge of maths research is origami.
Demaine made his first major mathematical breakthrough when, at the age of 17, he and his collaborators proved that it is possible to create any straight-sided shape by folding a piece of paper and making just one cut. It might appear that such a result would be useful only to schoolchildren making complex Christmas decorations, but in fact Demaine's work has found uses in industry, especially in car air bag design.
Even though Gardner was in his 60s by the time Demaine was born, the young professor says he was influenced by Gardner's books and philosophy. People tend to be too serious. My aim is to make everything I do fun. Demaine's father is a sculptor, and an aesthetic sense has been passed on to his son - some of his origami models are at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Demaine argues that mathematicians are creative artists.
Art and maths are concerned with "simplicity and beauty and trying to make things elegant I asked about the Haberdasher's Puzzle and the applause he received. I was surprised. It's a problem that I care very deeply about, having worked on it for about 10 years. It was nice to get that validation. The few dozen magicians present were giving impromptu demonstrations of close-up magic.
One was "Jordini", a year-old in a top hat, who is the first undergraduate in the US to be majoring in magic. A charming aspect of the G4G is that all guests are asked to bring a gift - "something you would want to give to Martin".
In fact, you are asked to bring of them, as each guest is given a goodie bag at the end containing a gift from everyone else. This year it included puzzles, magic tricks, books, CDs, gadgets and a piece of plastic that can make a Coke can talk. One bag was for Martin Gardner, and I took it to him.
Gardner lives in Norman, Oklahoma. The day I arrived, storms were moving across the state. I took a few wrong turns off the interstate until I found his home, an assisted living centre next to a Texan fast-food joint. By his door was a box of outgoing mail. Gardner, who does not use email, is still a prolific letter writer. The king of recreational maths answered the door wearing a green shirt and slacks. He is still mentally and physically fit - he works standing up.
He writes every day, has published about a book a year since the mids, and continues to contribute to magazines and journals. Gardner was widowed in , and moved here four years ago to be close to his son, who works at the university in Norman. On the wall is a portrait of himself made out of dominoes - a classic genre of recreational maths art - and a large photo of Einstein, one of his heroes. The shelves are full of books and on one of his desks is an old electronic typewriter.
We began talking about magic. He described it as his principal hobby. He still practises tricks, as far as his arthritis allows. He showed me what he said is the only sleight-of-hand with cards he invented: a "wink change" where the colour of a card is changed "in a wink". He took a pack of cards and lodged a black card between the deck and the palm of his hand.
Instantly, the card became a red one. Gardner became interested in maths through "mathematical" magic tricks - and magicians, not mathematicians, formed his main social circle as a young adult. He liked magic, he said, because it gave rise to a sense of wonder about the world. I gave him the G4G goodie bag and asked how it felt to be the subject of a conference. I was interviewing an elderly magician in hurricane-strewn Oklahoma. Already I had felt as if I were meeting the Wizard of Oz.
And now he had pulled away the curtain. It took me so long to understand what I was writing about that I knew how to write in a way most readers would understand. Yet, even though he inspired generations of readers to take up maths, and influenced the direction of research, he still feels like an interloper. His lack of ego endeared him to the maths community: he brought out the wonder in their subject, and was also assiduous in crediting all the academics and puzzlists who contributed ideas.
His research and correspondence are considered important enough for his archive to be kept at Stanford University. While he devised some puzzles himself, essentially he assembled the work of others and presented it beautifully. Does he even like doing puzzles? Philosophy, which he studied at university, is Gardner's first love. He began his writing career publishing science fiction stories in Esquire. And before he got on to maths, he had written Fads And Fallacies In The Name Of Science, the first popular book to debunk pseudoscience, precursor to a whole genre leading to the current atheist polemics of, say, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
His bestselling book is The Annotated Alice, a timeless compendium of footnotes to the two Alice books, and a decade ago he wrote a sequel to The Wizard Of Oz in which Dorothy and friends go to Manhattan. It was reviewed in serious newspapers, if not very favourably.
He shows no signs of slowing down. This year he will publish a book of essays on GK Chesterton, and among his many other projects he is compiling a bumper book of word games. As I left, I wondered if the other residents of this featureless old people's home - who were listening to a seniors' country and western band - had the slightest inkling that such an intellectual dynamo was living among them. So what can the harm be in accepting David Singmaster's offer of a simple game?
To that end they formed the c 3 non-profit corporation Gathering 4 Gardner, Inc. So far there have been 14 Gatherings, all held in downtown Atlanta. The 14th Gathering took place in April delayed for 2 years because of the COVID pandemic and was a hybrid event, with some participants joining remotely as speakers and audience members.
The logo of Gathering for Gardner, as well as the logo for the first CoM event, employs ambigrams designed by long-time Gardner associate Scott Kim. Packed with wonderful treats and startling surprises, it provided one "aha! Continuing Martin Gardner's pursuit of a playful and fun approach to learning, G4Gn events explore ideas in fields of interest to Gardner. The term G4G is also used to denote the community of people who participate in these events. With the "n" denoting the number in the series, G4Gn is an invitation-only bi-annual conference that started with G4G1 in January After a delay because of Covid, G4G14 finally took place in April Activities typically include lectures, performance art, puzzle and book displays, close-up and stage magic acts.
Another tradition held at these off-site events was the directed community building of original mathematical sculptures under the leadership of George Hart , Chaim Goodman-Strauss and others. Gardner and many of his admirers were filmed at G4G2 in , and this footage formed the basis for a minute episode of The Nature of Things made by David Suzuki.
Titled, Mystery and Magic of Mathematics: Martin Gardner and Friends , it showcases Martin's numerous passions, and reminds us of the amazing panoply of people that he informally assembled and mentored over the decades. Developed in after Martin Gardner's death that spring, Celebration of Mind CoM is a worldwide series of events held on or around Gardner's birthday: October The goal is to celebrate the boundless creativity and curiosity of the human mind, and they have been held in locations from Boston to Beijing, and from Riga to Rio.
There have been Celebration of Mind events hosted on all seven continents, and G4G encourages organizers to register their events at the CoM website. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Rodgers  Type c 3 Focus recreational mathematics, magic and illusion, puzzles, philosophy, rationality Location Atlanta, GA. Board of directors. Guy George W. Gathering for Gardner — join the Celebration of Mind party! Who wants to host a Celebration of Mind?