Welcome to this week’s Math Munch!
Meet the incredible Martin Gardner. If you’re a mathematician then chances are good you already have, but any reader of this blog has certainly felt the ripples of his influence. Nearly everything we share on Math Munch can be traced back to the recreational mathematics of Martin Gardner. For 25 years he wrote the “Mathematical Games” column for Scientific American, in which he shared wonderful puzzles, riddles, and games that have inspired generations of mathematicians. We’re trying to do the same here at Math Munch, so Gardner’s a sort of hero for us.
Maybe the best way to connect with this math legend would be to take on a few of his puzzles. (I’ve linked to some of my favorites below.) Many of the puzzles have a “Print ‘n Play” option you may want to take advantage of. His columns and other writings now live in the more than 100 books he wrote. Pick one up at your local library and dig in!
In this video you can hear Scott Kim (remember his ambigrams?) talk about his own connection to Martin Gardner, and here he talks about his involvement with the Gathering 4 Gardner. These are events that take place across the world to celebrate Gardner’s work and legacy. If you’re inspired by some of this stuff, maybe you’ll get a few friends together and share it with them.
Gardner’s very first article for Scientific American was about the hexaflexagon, so as part of this year’s Gathering 4 Gardner, people are making flexagons of all sorts. Here’s a video of Martin himself talking about them, which is part of full-length video about Gardner called “The Nature of Things.” Justin wrote about flexagons here, and Vi Hart followed suit with a pair of fantastic videos telling the true story of their discovery.
And here’s part 2.
Here’s one last flexagon resource with instructions you might prefer. There are so many videos to watch, puzzles to solve, and flexagons to flex. Hopefully you’ll have a very mathy week in honor of Martin Gardner.