Into The Large Night ...


Almost 15 years ago I ran into a copy of Martin Gardner's "The Night Is Large" at a small used book store, in Oregon. This was a pivotal book for me. Both as an introduction to the complete Gardner, and personally as a life saver. I was going through a difficult period in my life, and in dire need of what has been called "consolation of philosophy." The book put me on a path to untangling dozens of previously intractable knots in my mind, for which I shall remain eternally indebted to the author.

So with tremendous sadness I mourn the loss of this great mind, this great teacher, the scrivener, the skeptic, the philosopher, the fringe watcher, the magician, the pied puzzler, the mathematician(*), and an all too brief personal acquaintance. Its been a month, since his passing into the night, on May 22, 2010. Born in 1914, that put him at almost 96 years of age (see mainstream media obituary announcements in London Times, NY Times, and Boing Boing). While mouring his death, this is also a time to celebrate his fruitful life. Just a few more individuals as tirelessley enriching to all as he was, and our world would blossom into a cognizant, sane, intellectually competent place it ought to be.

PS: I'd be interested in hearing from any Martin Gardner fans in Northern Virginia. I'd like to organize a rememberance gathering here.

(*) I despise the prefix 'amateur' that is often associated with him in this regard, and refuse to use it. The amount of work he did puts more PhD weilding, junk paper publishing, unteaching teachers, the so called 'professionals,' to shame than I care to name.


ColmOCi said...

Very sad news, I still have very fond memories of the column on Penrose tiles by Martin Gardner .