(I will post about CCC 2010 later in the week.)
Several people have posted on the death of Martin Gardner:
About a year and a half ago I reviewed some books of Martin
Gardner for my SIGACT NEWS Book Review Column.
(The review is in
Before I send in a review I contact all of the authors of books, authors of reviews,
and editors of the books and send them a copy of the review (by email).
I was told that Martin Gardner didn't use email (he was 94 years old!).
So I sent him the review by postal mail (you can ask your grandfather what
I got a response!
I posted it
though I blocked out his address and phone number for privacy reasons.
As you can see
the letter is coherent and cogent (I've gotten less coherent letters from
people half his age). It is good to know that he was sharp till the end.
The first theorem I ever read on my own was in one of his books: it was
that (in today's terms) a graph is Eulerian iff every vertex has even degree.
(ADDED LATER: The correct theorem is that a graph is Eulerian (has a cycle that
hits every edge exactly once) iff it is connected and every vertex has even degree.)
I also learned about
The Unexpected Hanging
from one of his columns.
These two stand out the most; however, I learned A LOT from his columns, plus
I learned that there was more to math than what was taught in the classroom.