Martin Gardner wrote the Mathematical Games column for Scientific American for twenty-five years and published more than seventy books on topics as diverse as magic, religion, and Alice in Wonderland. Gardner's illuminating autobiography is a candid self-portrait by the man evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould called our "single brightest beacon" for the defense of rationality and good science against mysticism and anti-intellectualism.
Gardner takes readers from his childhood in Oklahoma to his varied and wide-ranging professional pursuits. He shares colorful anecdotes about the many fascinating people he met and mentored, and voices strong opinions on the subjects that matter to him most, from his love of mathematics to his uncompromising stance against pseudoscience. For Gardner, our mathematically structured universe is undiluted hocus-pocusa marvelous enigma, in other words.
Undiluted Hocus-Pocus offers a rare, intimate look at Gardner’s life and work, and the experiences that shaped both.
Martin Gardner (1914–2010) was an acclaimed popular mathematics and science writer. His numerous books include The Annotated Alice, When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish, and Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Magic, Mathematics, and Mysterians, by Persi Diaconis xi Preface xxiii Prologue: I Am a Mysterian xxv 1 Earliest Memories 1 2 Lee School 10 3 Tulsa Central High, I 21 4 Central High, II 28 5 Hutchins and Adler 40 6 Richard McKeon 47 7 I Lose My Faith 53 8 Chicago, I 62 9 Chicago, II 76 10 I Become a Journalist 88 11 Mother and Dad 98 12 The Navy, I 111 13 The Navy, II 119 PHOTO ESSAY follows page 124 14 Esquire and Humpty 125 15 Scientific American 134 16 Pseudoscience 150 17 Math and Magic Friends 160 18 Charlotte 173 19 Bob and Betty 185 20 God 191 21 My Philosophy 195 Afterword: My Most Elegant Friend . . . , by James Randi 209 Index 215