RIP Martin


Martin Gardner passed away yesterday (May 22) at the age of 95 — a number that is 0 mod 1, 1 mod 2, 2 mod 3, and 3 mod 4, as I’m sure he’d appreciate.    It seems like half the puzzles I hear about were either invented by him or popularized by him.  Falling into the latter category are the flexagons, which are, of course, a favorite of Godzilla and which were described in the first “Mathematical Games” column of Scientific American (you know, according to Wikipedia).

A quick search reveals lots of puzzles, most of which have a visual component.  As a treat, here’s a quick one that doesn’t (from the group Gathering for Gardner):

  • Write out the alphabet starting at J (and ending at I):

    Now erase all the letters that have vertical symmetry, like M.

    There will be 5 groups of consecutive letters left.  Write the number of letters in each group:

    ___   ___   ___   ___   ___

Cool, huh?

Scientific American itself just posted 3 Gardner puzzles here in tribute to the man who served them well for many years.

Martin, thanks for the fun.

The photo of Martin Gardner was taken by Konrad Jacobs of  Erlangen and is licensed under CC.  From Wikipedia.


5 Responses to “RIP Martin”

  1. S Says:

    JKL N PQRS Z BCDEFG, so 3 1 4 1 6! Cool. 🙂

    Martin Gardner was quite an inspiration to many; I’ve lost count of the number of mathematicians I’ve seen mentioning him as an early influence. (It might be nice to make a list…)

    (No ‘i’ in Gardner, BTW.)

  2. Martin Gardner (1914-2010) « Apuntes Matemáticos Says:

    […] – 360: RIP Martin […]

  3. Ξ Says:

    S, I agree — he’s had a wonderful impact on mathematics. (And thanks for pointing out my misspelling — how embarrassing!)

  4. Shecky Riemann Says:

    Gardner was an American gem; I loved his essays and philosophical dabblings even more than his recreational math, but both were wonderful

  5. Fall Newsletter Is Up! « 360 Says:

    […] 5.1.3: (From a Martin Gardner collection) An absentminded teller switched the dollars and cents when cashing a check for Mr. […]

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