In the early 1990s, Tom Rodgers conceived the idea of hosting a weekend gathering in honour of Martin Gardner, to bring together people interested in problems and puzzles. Members of the three communities of mathematicians, magicians and puzzlers met to honour their forefront man and nexus, and so far four ‘Gatherings for Gardner’ (known as G4G1 through G4G4) have been organised. At these gatherings, held in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 2002, participants share problems and puzzles, knowledge and ideas. In 1999, ‘The mathemagician and pied puzzler’ was published as a tribute to Martin Gardner, based on contributions to G4G1. This is a second volume.
In the preface, the work of Martin Gardner and his contribution to the popularisation of mathematics is briefly reviewed: in the words of John Conway, ‘Martin Gardner has brought more mathematics, to more millions, than anybody else’. The book continues with a section dedicated to the memory of Mel Stover, Harry Eng and David Klarner, three G4G participants who have passed away. Called ‘The toast tributes’, this section contains several short moving articles commemorating their lives and ideas. The rest of the book contains 56 contributions of G4G participants, divided into six sections. This presents an incredible range of beautiful material, witty ideas, tantalising puzzles, intriguing problems, and surprising ingenious solutions. Anyone interested in mind-boggling problems will find plenty to interest them here. The famous authors in the area, such as Barry Cipra, Roger Penrose, Raymond Smullyan, Keith Devlin, John Conway, and many more, are among the contributors. The material covers all kinds of problems that one can possibly think of: card problems, labyrinth problems, topological games, knots, floor-tiling problems, spider-and-fly problems, pentacube towers, chess, magic squares, pure arithmetic problems, geometry, trigonometry, Japanese puzzles and much, much more.