When David and I were first married and were barely making ends meet on our Christian school teaching salaries, I had one "vice" - one thing on which I could not resist spending the little money I could scrape together from time to time. This vice cost $12.95 each time I indulged in it, a small fortune for us at that time, but so well worth it in my eyes. What did I buy? Books of mathematical recreations by Martin Gardner. How could I resist given such titles as Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments and Wheels, Life, and Other Mathematical Amusements?
I enjoyed these books then, and they have continued giving enjoyment for more than 20 years! When I first began teaching I could teach math alright, but I didn't have the passion for it that I have now. That passion developed, in part, through the work of Martin Gardner. Martin Gardner was more than a writer of mathematical recreations. He was a deep thinker, a magician, a philosopher, a literary commentator, and so much more. In recent years I have purchased collections of his philosophical essays.
Over the weekend the world lost this great man. Thankfully he lived to the ripe old age of 95 and contributed to us all throughout his life, having published as recently as 2009.
Yesterday there was a tribute to him on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, which you can find at: