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Old 2010-05-23, 05:38   #1
cheesehead
 
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Default RIP: Martin Gardner (1914 – 2010)

Martin Gardner, "great expositor of science and scourge of pseudo-science", "an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, pseudoscience, literature (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll), philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion", has died.

http://www.google.com/search?q=Marti...r+death+passed

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/22...d-science.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Associated Press

Martin Gardner, 95, math and science writer, dies

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[, Oklahoma -- cheesehead].

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 popularization."

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. [http://www.csicop.org/si/show/oprah_...le_billionaire -- cheesehead]

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 firmament."

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.

. . .

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-05-23 at 06:13
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Old 2010-05-23, 08:51   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Martin Gardner, "great expositor of science and scourge of pseudo-science", "an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, pseudoscience, literature (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll), philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion", has died.

http://www.google.com/search?q=Marti...r+death+passed

http://www.kansascity.com/2010/05/22...d-science.html
I regret never meeting him. The SciAm challenge, aka RSA-129, appeared in his Mathematical Games column for August 1977. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the press conference where we announce the solution.

Paul
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Old 2010-05-23, 16:46   #3
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A truly remarkable figure. As a schoolboy, my interest in maths and logic became much greater when I read his books.
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Old 2010-05-24, 04:02   #4
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Is there any suspicion of foul play?

More seriously, Martin Gardner was a model for science writers and commentators. Much of the praise heaped on science or science fiction writers may not have accurately described the intended targets, but it usually described him.

Really a marvelous writer, and a principled skeptic. Not a surprise that he's gone, but still a sad day.
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Old 2010-05-24, 08:39   #5
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Three astronauts are at a Martian brothel and pay a visit to the same alien prostitute. They have but two condoms between them. Can they avoid Martian STDs?
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Old 2010-05-24, 09:40   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garo View Post
Three astronauts are at a Martian brothel and pay a visit to the same alien prostitute. They have but two condoms between them. Can they avoid Martian STDs?
I always thought that wearing two condoms would be like not having sex at all.
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Old 2010-05-24, 12:41   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garo View Post
Three astronauts are at a Martian brothel and pay a visit to the same alien prostitute. They have but two condoms between them. Can they avoid Martian STDs?
Does alien mean "not from Mars"?

(Desperately searching for a suggestion acceptable outside
the Soapbox or in Martin Gardner's column)

Last fiddled with by davieddy on 2010-05-24 at 12:45
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Old 2010-05-24, 12:43   #8
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No alien does not mean from outside Mars, simply from outside Earth. This is a very old Martin Gardner puzzle. I think it dates from the 60s. It is one of my favourites.
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Old 2010-05-24, 13:43   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garo View Post
Three astronauts are at a Martian brothel and pay a visit to the same alien prostitute. They have but two condoms between them. Can they avoid Martian STDs?
That is the old 1 patient 3 surgeons trick.
Hint to the noobs:2 condoms have a total of 4 sides, there are 4 individuals.
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Old 2010-05-24, 13:59   #10
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RIP, Mr. Gardner (P standing for puzzles of course :) )
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Old 2010-05-24, 14:53   #11
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Quote:
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That is the old 1 patient 3 surgeons trick.
Yup that was the sanitized version of this puzzle.
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