Here is a puzzle: Who in Norman has done the most to get people excited about math and explain all sorts of cool ideas, puzzles, etc. to anybody who cared to listen? Dr. Goodey? Dr. Petrov? Dr. Shankar? Dr. Breen? Dr. Gutman? Maybe a teacher at Norman High or Norman North? Nope, nope, nope, and nope! He is one of the great advertisers of mathematics by showing that it can be fun and and interesting.
The answer is Martin Gardner! Born in Tulsa, Mr. Gardner wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, and he has published over 70 books. These columns and books show that there is a recreational side to math. Plus, he wrote a fantastic annotated version of Alice in Wonderland — written by another of our favorite mathematicians, Charles Dodgson.
This was a notable week for Mr. Gardner as his latest book, When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish: And Other Speculations About This and That, just appeared in print. To read a review, look here.
Equally noteworthy, Mr. Gardner also celebrated his 95th birthday!
Happy Birthday Mr. Gardner!
But wait!, you say. OK, he was born in Tulsa, so he’s an Oklahoman, but you said a person in Norman!
It is little known, but actually Mr. Gardner has been living in Norman since 2002! His son is a professor here at the University and so he moved here to be closer to him. Thus we declare Martin Gardner an honorary member of the OU Math Club!