Celebration of Mind 2014 — at Ye Olde Gamery

Photo by Eric Bare  

Kate Jones and Meshele Merchant kicked off the day with a burst of enthusiasm beneath the special commemorative banner honoring Martin Gardner (1914-2010) on the centennial of his birth. Dozens of other Celebrations of Mind were organized across the planet by other admirers of Martin Gardner's work, tracked by the Gathering for Gardner foundation.

Our theme for Ye Olde Gamery's hosting of the Celebration of Mind weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year continued our metaphorical message — Polyform Puzzles—Gateway to the Universe. For a poetic hint about the meaning of this cryptic title, see From Singularity to Infinity. For an example, see Poly-5 and its bigger brothers. They start with 1 square and expand, well, forever, though we show only to size 9. Further explanations are below.

Martin's writings on recreational mathematics had directly inspired Kadon's founding, work and mission. Kadon is also the exclusive publisher of Martin Gardner's two games: Lewis Carroll's Chess Wordgame and The Game of Solomon.

Hundreds of visitors came, all day long Saturday and Sunday, and played and heard the story of Martin and math and puzzles. Many also received souvenir copies of the special "100" Latin Square puzzle Kate had designed for the occasion. (You, too, are welcome to print it out for yourself and play!)

As we like to say, as often as possible, Ye Olde Gamery represents the intellectual side of the Renaissance—an oasis of thinking, logic, math, science, geometric tilings, artistry, the fun of discovery and solving of beautiful conundrums. Visitors are instructed and entertained by the Gamery's knwledgeable and well-dressed crew, some of whom are shown below (left to right): Dick Jones, Kate Jones, Thomas Atkinson, Meshele Merchant. The banner on the wall is for Kadon's own 35th anniversary this year. Lots to celebrate!

Photo by Eric Bare

Visitors of all ages, many in costume, spend considerable time in the Gamery, learning new games, solving puzzles, discussing interesting subjects. Grown-ups and kids all have a rollicking good time. Even the royal court came and played. Kids are a special delight when they succeed in creating a beautiful new solution. Their radiant smiles light up the whole place.


Photo by Dick Jones

We had lots of profound conversations about recreational mathematics, how our work builds on the legacy of Martin Gardner, and the importance of math and puzzles in awakening and building the mind's capacity for problem-solving and critical thinking.

These are valuable skills to nurture in education, and they open a window for understanding how puzzles are really paradigms of everything that exists and how stuff formed in the Universeómatter and energy, the laws of physics, systems and evolution, even the logic structure of the mind. These are very intense topics and close to proprietress Kate Jonesís heart. It's interesting to see how many people have the mindset to engage in such conversations. Good thing the rest of the crew are there to attend to other visitors when Kate gets sidetracked philosophizing.

Happy birthday, Martin Gardner!


See also:

  • Celebration of Mind 2012: "Polyform Puzzles—Combinatorics of World and Mind"
  • Celebration of Mind 2013: "Polyform Puzzles—Portals to World and Mind"
  • Celebration of Mind 2015: "Polyform Puzzles—A Renaissance in Puzzle Art"
  • Celebration of Mind 2016: "Polyform Puzzles—A Renaissance in Puzzle Art"
  • Celebration of Mind 2017: "Dissection Puzzles—The Art of Combinatorics"
  • Celebration of Mind 2018: "When are you?"—humorous time travel to historical games
  • Celebration of Mind 2019: "Birthday Cakes—Pentomino/Sudoku"

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