Martin Gardner wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American for twenty-five years and published more than seventy books on topics as diverse as magic, philosophy, religion, pseudoscience, and Alice in Wonderland.
His informal, recreational approach to mathematics delighted countless readers and inspired many to pursue careers in mathematics and the sciences. Gardner's illuminating autobiography is a disarmingly candid self-portrait of the man evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould called our "single brightest beacon" for the defense of rationality and good science against mysticism and anti-intellectualism.
Gardner takes readers from his childhood in Oklahoma to his college days at the University of Chicago, his service in the navy, and his varied and wide-ranging professional pursuits. Before becoming a columnist for Scientific American, he was a caseworker in Chicago during the Great Depression, a reporter for the Tulsa Tribune, an editor for Humpty Dumpty, and a short-story writer for Esquire, among other jobs.
Gardner shares colorful anecdotes about the many fascinating people he met and mentored, and voices strong opinions on the subjects that matter to him most, from his love of mathematics to his uncompromising stance against pseudoscience. For Gardner, our mathematically structured universe is undiluted hocus-pocus - a marvelous enigma, in other words. Undiluted Hocus-PocusM offers a rare, intimate look at Gardner's life and work, and the experiences that shaped both.
©2013 James Gardner as Managing General Partner, Martin Gardnew Literary Interests, GP (P)2013 Audible Inc.
Martin Gardner was my greatest intellectual hero as I grew up, and I spent endless hours in the library reading his Scientific American column. He also wrote some of my favorite science books, such as Relativity for the Million, and The Ambidextrous Universe. His Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science was my introduction to skepticism.
Accordingly, I was thrilled to find this well written biography of him. I now feel I understand his intellectual development, and what made him tick. I was especially interested to hear about his belief in god, which is most unusual for someone with his level of skepticism.
My only regret was that the book was not longer, as I would have enjoyed hearing more about his books and Scientific American articles, especially the development of his Dr. Matrix character which I found so fascinating.
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