Game inventor: Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner was one of the most beloved personalities in the areas of recreational mathematics, magic and puzzles. The influence of his work is immeasurable.

He was the author of more than 65 books and over 300 articles (see their index), ranging over the fields of science, mathematics, philosophy, literature, and conjuring.

His best-selling book was The Annotated Alice, an analysis of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, followed by a sequel, More Annotated Alice. He wrote two novels—The Flight of Peter Fromm and Visitors from Oz. His Scientific American columns are collected in fifteen volumes. No-Sided Professors is a collection of his short fiction.

Martin inspired and enlightened three generations of readers with the delights of mathematical recreations, the amazing phenomena of numbers, magic and puzzles, the play of ideas.

It was Martin's article on pentominoes in 1957 that popularized this set of shapes and led, through an amazing series of events, to the founding of Kadon Enterprises, Inc. We hold him and his life's work in a very special place of reverence. We were honored when Martin offered us the opportunity to design and produce the two games he had created—The Game of Solomon and Lewis Carroll's Chess Wordgame, the latter based on a note in Lewis Carroll's diaries.

Martin Gardner was born October 21, 1914, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a geologist and oil producer. He graduated at the University of Chicago in 1936 with a major in philosophy. Before World War II he was a reporter on the Tulsa Tribune, later a writer in the University of Chicago's press relations office.

After four years as a yeoman in the Navy, Martin returned to Chicago where he began his free-lance career by selling short stories to Esquire. After moving to New York City, he became a contributing editor for eight years to Humpty Dumpty's Magazine. This was followed by 25 years as the writer of the "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American.

After living in the western mountains of North Carolina for many years, he returned to Norman, Oklahoma, in 2004, his 90th year. He continued to write until his death on May 22, 2010, at the age of 95.

There is an excellent entry about Martin on Wikipedia, an ever-growing, open-content, online collection of all of human knowledge.

There is a delightful film about Martin and his influence, with interviews by David Suzuki of Martin and a large group of his friends, all tops in their fields, who share their specialties and discuss The Nature of Things.

A biennial celebration of Martin Gardner's life and work has been held in Atlanta, Georgia, since 1994, founded and hosted by Tom Rodgers, a businessman, scholar and Renaissance man. The Gathering for Gardner is an invitation-only get-together for mathematicians, magicians and puzzlers who enjoy sharing their work and play inspired by Martin's writings. We were all greatly saddened when Tom Rodgers passed away in 2012, and a Gathering for Gardner Foundation has been established as a central organization for continuing these biennial events and for the Celebration of Mind annual birthday tributes for Martin held every October 21 in dozens of countries.

Since 2012, Kadon hosts an annual Celebration of Mind in Ye Olde Gamery on the last weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, at the end of October. Hundreds of visitors get to experience the joy of mathematical games and hear about Martin Gardner. See the write-ups of the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Celebrations!

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