I came late to love math. Not sure why, but my grasp of the concepts (which is far from great) is not matched by skill or speed at calculation. There always seemed to be teeth missing in the gears of my mind. Give me a short column of two-digit numbers and I’m likely to give you three answers in three tries.
Still, I’ve long appreciated what the human mind could do with math (which is approximately everything, if you want a working civilization), thanks not to any teachers of the subject, but rather to Martin Gardner of Scientific American. He made math fun, even when I didn’t get where he was going with it. He even played a small role, I think, in getting me my first (and pretty much only) writing gig for a major magazine.
Alas, he died yesterday, at age 95. Here’s a profile of him, from 1995.
Thanks to @dpentecost for the heads-up.
Tags: Martin Gardner, math, mathematics, Scientific American
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