Martin Gardner's legacy in mathematics and science is well established, and never is he so at home than when picking apart paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Yet like Isaac Asimov, Gardner's interests encompass a wide range of views and arguments. His wit and encyclopedic knowledge have made him a sought-after contributor to Discover, Nature, ...
Martin Gardner's legacy in mathematics and science is well established, and never is he so at home than when picking apart paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Yet like Isaac Asimov, Gardner's interests encompass a wide range of views and arguments. His wit and encyclopedic knowledge have made him a sought-after contributor to Discover, Nature, Psychology Today, and The New York Review of Books. A delightful collection of his best essays, Gardner's Whys & Wherefores includes articles on the puzzles in James Joyce's Ulysses and on the fantasies of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Lord Dunsany, Gilbert Chesterton, and H.G. Wells. Gardner expresses strong opinions about the "anthropic principle," computer games capable of discovering scientific laws, the philosophy of W.V. Quine, Marvin Minsky's view of the workings of the mind, the idiosyncrasies of social theorist Allan Bloom, the reality of unknown digits that "sleep" in pi, and whether physicists are really on the verge of discovering Everything. A delightful bit of publishing history is a hilarious selection from The New York Review of Books in which Gardner, writing under a pseudonym, blasts his own book, The Ways of a Philosophical Scrivener. Exciting, provocative, and enduring, Gardner's Whys & Wherefores is a distinct pleasure.
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Publishers Weekly, 1989-02-24 Well-known for his math-games column in Scientific American and his many books, Gardner here brings together 16 diverting essays on literature and mathematics and 20 book reviews on science-related matters, reprinted from Nature , Science , Discover , the Boston Globe and the New York Review of Books. The subjects of these pieces range from the abacus, the pi ratio, the science fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Casey at the Bat to puzzle poems, the ``curious mind'' of Allan Bloom and unsolved problems in number theory. As Gardner says of himself in his NYRB review of one of his own books (reprinted here), ``the man has a reputation as a hoaxer.'' But in this delightful collection of brilliant insights he will pull no wool over the eyes of his many readers-to-be. Illustrated. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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