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Topic: Martin Gardner, math and science writer, dies
Replies: 1   Last Post: May 24, 2010 8:54 PM

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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Martin Gardner, math and science writer, dies
Posted: May 24, 2010 6:22 PM
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From the Associated Press, Sunday, May 23, 2010. See
Martin Gardner, 95, math and science writer, dies

(AP) - 1 day ago

NORMAN, Okla. - Prolific mathematics and science writer Martin
Gardner, known for popularizing recreational mathematics and
debunking paranormal claims, died Saturday. He was 95.

Gardner died Saturday after a brief illness at Norman Regional
Hospital, said his son James Gardner. He had been living at an
assisted living facility in Norman.

Martin Gardner was born in 1914 in Tulsa, Okla., and earned a
bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University of Chicago.

He became a freelance writer, and in the 1950s wrote features and
stories for several children's magazines. His creation of
paper-folding puzzles led to his publication in Scientific American
magazine, where he wrote his "Mathematical Games" column for 25 years.

The column introduced the public to puzzles and concepts such as
fractals and Chinese tangram puzzles, as well as the work of artist
M.C. Escher.

Allyn Jackson, deputy editor of Notices, a journal of the American
Mathematical Society, wrote in 2005 that Gardner "opened the eyes of
the general public to the beauty and fascination of mathematics and
inspired many to go on to make the subject their life's work."

Jackson said Gardner's "crystalline prose, always enlightening, never
pedantic, set a new standard for high quality mathematical

The mathematics society awarded him its Steele Prize for Mathematical
Exposition in 1987 for his work on math, particularly his Scientific
American column.

"He was a renaissance man who built new ideas through words, numbers
and puzzles," his son, a professor of special education at the
University of Oklahoma, told The Associated Press.

Gardner also became known as a skeptic of the paranormal and wrote
columns for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He wrote works debunking
public figures such as psychic Uri Geller, who gained fame for
claiming to bend spoons with his mind.

Most recently he wrote a feature published in Skeptical Inquirer's
March/April on Oprah Winfrey's New Age interests.

Former magician James Randi, now a writer and investigator of
paranormal claims, paid tribute to Gardner on his website Saturday,
calling his colleague and longtime friend "a very bright spot in my

He ended his Scientific American column in 1981 and retired to
Hendersonville, N.C. Gardner continued to write, and in 2002 moved to
Norman, where his son lives.

Gardner wrote more than 50 books.

Gardner was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte. Besides James
Gardner, he is survived by another son, Tom, of Asheville, N.C.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244

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