Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
MembersReviewsPopularityRatingFavorited   Events   
17,909 (96,610)1,6031,056 (4)480
Martin Gardner is the author of more than seventy books on a vast range of topics including "Did Adam & Eve Have Navels?", "Calculus Made Easy", & "The Annotated Alice". He lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina. (Publisher Provided)
— biography from Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
… (more)
Disambiguation Notice

Martin F. Gardner, the author of Threatened Plants of Central and South Chile, is a different author.

Aha! Insight 467 copies, 3 reviews
Relativity Simply Explained 377 copies, 4 reviews
Mathematical Carnival 338 copies, 4 reviews
The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener (Author) 324 copies, 4 reviews
Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus 308 copies, 7 reviews
Mathematical Circus 303 copies, 3 reviews
Mathematics, Magic and Mystery 274 copies, 1 review
Mathematical Magic Show 219 copies, 1 review
New Mathematical Diversions 194 copies, 2 reviews
Great Essays in Science (Editor) 184 copies, 1 review
Best Remembered Poems (Editor) 147 copies, 3 reviews
Classic Brainteasers 111 copies, 1 review
The Flight of Peter Fromm 101 copies, 1 review
Logic Machines and Diagrams 94 copies, 2 reviews
Gardner's Whys & Wherefores 70 copies, 2 reviews
Order and Surprise 67 copies, 2 reviews
The Incredible Dr. Matrix 47 copies, 1 review
Mind-Boggling Word Puzzles (Author) 46 copies
Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery 38 copies, 3 reviews
The Snark Puzzle Book 23 copies, 1 review
The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was (Editor) 20 copies, 1 review
Famous Poems from Bygone Days 18 copies, 1 review
Smart Science Tricks 12 copies, 1 review
Impromptu 4 copies
Thang 3 copies
Oom 2 copies
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass (Introduction, some editions) 23,575 copies, 305 reviews
The Wizard of Oz (Introduction, some editions) 19,099 copies, 421 reviews
The Martian Chronicles (Introduction, some editions) 15,007 copies, 292 reviews
The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (Editor, some editions) 6,331 copies, 161 reviews
The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of… (Foreword, some editions) 2,916 copies, 24 reviews
The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition (Introduction; Editor) 2,516 copies, 37 reviews
The Annotated Alice (Introduction; Editor) 2,283 copies, 31 reviews
Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 (Introduction, some editions) 1,195 copies, 52 reviews
The Napoleon of Notting Hill (Introduction, some editions) 1,012 copies, 15 reviews
The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Foreword, some editions) 906 copies, 15 reviews
The Club of Queer Trades (Introduction, some editions) 905 copies, 24 reviews
The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (Contributor) 736 copies, 7 reviews
Calculus Made Easy (some editions) 709 copies, 6 reviews
The Annotated Snark (Editor) 596 copies, 7 reviews
The Moscow Puzzles (Editor, some editions) 446 copies, 2 reviews
100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories (Contributor) 370 copies, 5 reviews
American Fairy Tales (Introduction, some editions) 315 copies, 5 reviews
The Annotated Ancient Mariner (Editor) 314 copies, 8 reviews
Little Wizard Stories of Oz (Introduction, some editions) 285 copies, 6 reviews
Queen Zixi of Ix (Introduction, some editions) 265 copies, 6 reviews
A Dreamer's Tale and Other Stories (Foreword, some editions) 258 copies, 6 reviews
The Magical Monarch of Mo (Introduction, some editions) 256 copies, 5 reviews
Alice in Puzzle-Land (Introduction, some editions) 231 copies, 1 review
Wordplay: The Philosophy, Art, and Science of Ambigrams (Foreword, some editions) 227 copies, 1 review
536 puzzles & curious problems (Editor, some editions) 224 copies, 1 review
An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Editor) 218 copies, 1 review
The Country of the Blind and Other Science-Fiction Stories (Editor, some editions) 208 copies, 1 review
The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown (Editor) 135 copies, 3 reviews
The Wasp in a Wig (Editor, some editions) 86 copies, 1 review
John Dough and the Cherub (Introduction, some editions) 62 copies, 2 reviews
The Vintage Anthology of Science Fantasy. (Contributor) 62 copies, 1 review
Anticipations (Introduction, some editions) 57 copies, 2 reviews
The Outer Edge (Contributor) 46 copies, 1 review
The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949 (Contributor) 24 copies, 1 review
Magician's Magic (Introduction) 23 copies, 1 review
Lewis Carroll observed (Contributor) 17 copies
Beware familiar spirits (The Scribner library ; 860) (Introduction, some editions) 17 copies
As Tomorrow Becomes Today (Contributor) 9 copies
Kalki : Studies in James Branch Cabell (Contributor, some editions) 1 copy

Top members (works)

Member favorites

19th century (482) 20th century (380) adventure (413) Alice (378) annotated (342) British (418) British literature (419) children (993) children's (1,764) children's books (338) children's fiction (391) children's literature (1,148) classic (2,054) classics (1,999) ebook (371) English literature (446) fantasy (4,616) fiction (7,157) illustrated (359) literature (1,289) Mars (376) Martin Gardner (351) math (2,562) mystery (435) non-fiction (1,085) novel (921) own (363) Oz (715) philosophy (584) physics (519) poetry (542) puzzles (1,019) read (964) recreational mathematics (378) science (1,675) science fiction (3,230) sf (460) short stories (822) to-read (2,640) unread (347)
No events listed. (add an event)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical name
Legal name
Other names
Date of birth
Date of death
Burial location
Country (for map)
Place of death
Cause of death
Places of residence
Awards and honors
Short biography
Martin Gardner was born on October 21 1914 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of a geologist who started a small oil business and became a wildcatter. As a child Martin enjoyed magic tricks and playing chess. After graduating from high school in 1932, he earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy at the University of Chicago, having also studied history, literature and the sciences under the intellectually-stimulating Great Books curriculum.
Although brought up a devout Methodist, he lost his Christian faith as a result of his wide reading, a transition he covered in a semi-autobiographical novel The Flight of Peter Fromm (1973).
In 1937 Gardner returned to Oklahoma, taking a reporter's job on the Tulsa Tribune, and after a spell in public relations back at the University of Chicago, in 1942 joined the US Naval Reserve as a yeoman in the destroyer escort USS Pope. On night watch, he dreamed up plots for stories, which he sold to Esquire magazine. After the war he became a freelance writer, and in the 1950s wrote features for Humpty Dumpty's Magazine and other children's periodicals.
In 1956 he sold an article to Scientific American magazine and followed this up with an essay about hexaflexagons – hexagons made from strips of paper that show different faces when flexed in different ways. This so impressed the publisher that Gardner was invited to produce a regular column along similar lines. Since he had not studied mathematics after high school, Gardner plundered second-hand bookshops in Manhattan to find enough material to sustain his "Mathematical Games" column. In the event it ran for 25 years and earned Gardner the American Mathematical Society's prize for mathematical exposition.
His lack of scholarly expertise meant that instead of relying on academic jargon, Gardner packed his prose with cross-cultural references, jokes and anecdotes, giving the column the broadest-possible appeal. He introduced his readers to riddles, paradoxes, enigmas and even magic tricks, as well as concepts such as fractals and Chinese tangram puzzles, redefining the concept of "recreational mathematics".
Gardner also became known as a sceptic of the paranormal, and wrote works debunking public figures such as the psychic Uri Geller, who gained fame for claiming to bend spoons with his mind. In his first book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (1952), Gardner exposed such quackery as flat-earth cults, alien abductions and a belief in UFOs. The book has since become a classic; the novelist Kingsley Amis, an early fan, regretted not stealing a copy when he had had the chance.
In 1976, with Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov and others, Gardner co-founded the Committee for the Scientific Evaluation of Claims of the Paranormal, and wrote regularly for its magazine, the Skeptical Inquirer. Its most recent issue includes a feature he wrote on Oprah Winfrey's New Age interests.
In more than 70 books, Gardner produced lay guides to Einstein's Theory of Relativity; ambidexterity and physical symmetry; the bath plug vortex (the phenomenon by which bathwater in the northern hemisphere drains in an anticlockwise direction and clockwise in the southern hemisphere); and even the concept of God. He also published fiction, poetry and literary and film criticism as well as puzzle books.
In The Numerology of Dr Matrix (1967) Gardner investigated links between numerals and the occult, asking (for example) what is special about the number 8,549,176,320? (A: It is the 10 natural integers arranged in the order of the English alphabet.)
His many admirers instituted a regular convention of Gardner followers, known as "Gatherings for Gardner" (G4G), which attracted magicians, puzzle fans and mathematicians from all over the world.
Although Gardner attended these as guest of honour, as a matter of course he avoided conferences, meetings and parties, and despite his facility as a polymath never owned a computer or used email. He preferred to work standing up, and, while magic and conjuring tricks remained his principal hobby, was also an accomplished exponent of the musical saw.
Martin Gardner married, in 1952, Charlotte Greenwald, who predeceased him in 2000. Their two sons survive him.
(The Telegraph: Martin Gardner, 7:14PM BST 25 May 2010)
Disambiguation notice
Martin F. Gardner, the author of Threatened Plants of Central and South Chile, is a different author.

Member ratings

Average: (4)
0.5 14
1 181
1.5 42
2 702
2.5 176
3 3216
3.5 709
4 5789
4.5 574
5 5695

Author pictures (3)


(see all 3 author pictures)

Improve this author

Combine/separate works

Author division

Martin Gardner is currently considered a "single author." If one or more works are by a distinct, homonymous authors, go ahead and split the author.


Martin Gardner is composed of 16 names. You can examine and separate out names.

Combine with…


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 173,593,040 books! | Top bar: Always visible