Martin Gardner is 95, and the New York Times has a great article about the man and his new book.
For those who don't know the name, Gardner wrote the column "Mathematical Games" in Scientific American for a quarter of a century. The following quote from the NYT article summarises the impact of those columns perfectly: "Martin has turned thousands of children into mathematicians, and thousands of mathematicians into children."
I am not a mathematician, but perhaps close enough to be counted. I first read him as a child -- it was my mother's yellowing copy of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions, a collection of Scientific American columns that began with the "Hexaflexagons" column mentioned in the NYT article above -- and was hooked. I collected several more of those volumes over the years.
Almost equally delightful has been his debunking, over the years, of various forms of pseudoscience. I say "almost" because I think he sometimes went a bit overboard, to the detriment of his argument. But perhaps I will leave that to another blog post.
And then there are gems like "The Annotated Alice" and "The Annotated Snark", which will teach you more about the hidden layers in the Lewis Carroll books than you ever believed existed...