• Thu. Jan 28th, 2021

When Scientific American Made M. C. Escher Famous

Between 1957 and 1986 Martin Gardner wrote the Mathematical Games column for this magazine, with a total of 297 installments. During that time he became the world’s most prolific and best-known popularizer of recreational mathematics. His fans still revere him as a kind of sorcerer who conjured up an endless feast of puzzles, games and riddles built on mathematical ideas that often turned on counterintuitive twists. He may have lived as he wrote: after visiting Gardner’s office, in the attic of the writer’s home, the late mathematician John Horton Conway remarked that “it was filled with puzzles, games, mechanical toys, scientific curiosities, and a host of other intriguing objects, exactly like a wizard’s den.”