Magic and Mathematics were stunningly combined this weekend at the Gathering for Gardner in Atlanta. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to attend the Friday evening dinner and magic show.
Martin Gardner was a man fascinated by mathematics. Although he was never trained professionally as a mathematician, he popularized math, puzzles, and sleight of hand, bringing--as Richard K. Guy has said--”more mathematics, to more millions, than anyone else.”
This logo for the Gathering for Gardner was designed by Scott Kim. Notice how the letters are made up exclusively of the numbers one through ten. Just seeing the logo was worth the journey into Atlanta on a rainy night.
And the show after dinner? Fantastic! Every single act was wonderfully entertaining. People telling jokes, doing magic tricks with cards, miming the meeting between a young woman and a “worm” made of squashy aluminum air conditioning duct stuff, and a twelve-year-old (Ethan Brown) who could do square roots and cube roots in his head. The link shows him at age ten wowing a science conference.
The final act was of a strong man in the tradition of the old strong men of the vaudeville circuit. Dennis Rogers bent nails, tore phone books apart, bent a socket wrench, wrenched apart a horseshoe, and deflected a bowling ball dropped onto his stomach from a the top of an 8’ ladder. If you click on his name, you can watch a YouTube video of him bending a horseshoe.
Was I astonished? Yes. Was I delighted? Absolutely. But even more than that, it was great fun being in a ballroom full of people for whom math is fun.
Next year, I’d like to attend the whole conference.
BEEattitude for Day #536:
Blessed are those who can be surprised, for they shall find endless entertainment around them.
The teeny details:
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