Books by Martin Gardner

Released: Dec. 1, 2004

Ninety-five super science tricks and brief experiments to delight science teachers and young readers gleaned from the author's "Trick of the Month" feature in Physics Teacher magazine. Gardner, who has authored nearly 70 science titles, has another winner. Each trick explains what you need, what to do and why it works with a helpful line drawing. All projects can be done in a minute or two and involve items readily available at home: water, eggs, balloons, playing cards, pencils and such. Topics include tricks with water, motion, air, light, mirrors, optical illusions, mathematics, sound, electricity, magnetism and gravity. Great science-starters for teachers and outstanding for children and teens interested in either magic or science. It will send them scrambling to learn more about important science topics. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-14) Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2003

"A must for fans of Gardner, and for rationalists of all stripes."
America's favorite skeptic (Visitors From Oz, 1998, etc.) presents another smorgasbord of common sense, practical criticism, and entertainment. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 30, 1998

First-novelist/polymath Gardner (essays:The Night Is Large, 1996, etc.) undertakes a sequel to L. Frank Baum's Oz story (on the occasion of its 100th birthday) and comes up with a winner. Using simple prose and similarly simple dialogue, Gardner constructs a riddle and solves it: Producer Samuel Gold has filmed The Emerald City of Oz because he truly believes Oz is a real place and so has sent an E-mail to Glinda, the good witch who rules Oz, asking if Dorothy and some her friends might not like to visit Earth again and go on tour for his animated movie. The big problem: Glinda has removed Oz to a parallel universe, away from the influx of humans. So how can Dorothy get from Oz to Earth and back again? Only Professor Wogglebug, T.E.H.M. (Thoroughly Educated Highly Magnified) can manage this, which he does by having Ku-Klip (who made the Tin Woodman) build two life-size Moebius strips to form a Klein Bottle, which will deposit the travelers on Earth. On the way, they find the Entrance to Wonderland irresistible and have a chat with the White Rabbit, then meet Tenniel's pink caterpillar, the Ugly Duchess (actually a sweet-tempered, gorgeous young woman wearing a rubber mask because Lewis Carroll's readers expect it of her), the White Knight, Humpty Dumpty, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and other Wonderland folk. When the Klein Bottle is stolen, Private Detective Sheerluck Brown (a large brown bear in a deerstalker cap) recovers it from the giant Big Jim Foote. Arriving in moonlit Central Park, they are interviewed by Time and the New York Times's science editor, then appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show. When they are beset by mobsters, Glinda saves them by teleporting Waters of Oblivion to Earth. Before returning home, Dorothy & Co. tour the bookstores for Martin Gardner's Visitors from Oz. Deserves the Cosmotic Greatheart Medal of Oz from the Wizard. (N.B.: Probably not harmful for children.) Read full book review >
THE NIGHT IS LARGE by Martin Gardner
Released: July 1, 1996

In a broad-ranging collection of essays on mathematics, theoretical physics, philosophy, literature, and religion, Gardener has a panoramic view from the shoulders of such giants as Einstein, William James, and L. Frank Baum. When a best-of collection spans almost 60 years, several disciplines, and a prolific output of books and articles for the New York Review of Books, Scientific American, and the Skeptical Inquirer, the odds are it will be stimulating, informative, and even contentious. Gardner's is, naturally, and his own personal touches—a sense of humor equal to his curiosity, for instance- -match his talents for smooth prose and clear encapsulation. In such an intellectual potpourri, Gardner's mind may appear slightly contradictory: He defends relativity in physics but not relativism in anthropology, accepts quantum mechanics's paradoxes but not Newcomb's paradox of free will, and takes proofs for Nothing (or at least the null set) but not for God. Gardner proves skeptical but never close-minded, a realist in his epistemology, a Platonist in his mathematics, and a theist in his religion. Such a character of course wades into debates on relativity, superstrings, cosmology, and artificial intelligence, and iconoclastically investigates the gullibility of William James and Sigmund Freud. He also has some lucid speculations on Time, Nothing, and Everything and sprightly essays on invented languages, James Joyce, and Georges Perec. And he includes whimsy, such as his again-timely spoof of Reaganomics's warped Laffer Curve, a combination burlesque of T.S. Eliot and mathematical conundrums, and a pseudonymous, sardonic review of his own The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener (1983). If Newton was, as he said, like a boy playing on the seashore of an undiscovered ocean of truth, then Gardner too has amassed an impressive shell collection. (line drawings not seen) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

Gardner (The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, 1983, etc.), world-class debunker of paranormal phenomena, now turns his demolition skills on the woman who founded one of America's most successful home-grown religions. The title is bitingly ironic, for Gardner considers Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science to be neither healing nor revelatory but, rather, a farrago of wild imaginings. According to Gardner, Eddy (1821-1910) suffered from ``delusions of grandeur'' and ``delusions of persecution,'' and wrote her books by plagiarizing other writers. In fact, he declares, Christian Science's central precept- -that Divine Mind is the sole reality, and illness and death illusions—was lifted by Eddy from the teachings of a ``quack'' named Phineas Parkhurst, who cured her of a spinal ailment. Eddy always denied her connection to Parkhurst, claiming that her doctrines came as a direct transmission from God; to Gardner, this is yet more evidence of her ``outrageous lying.'' He makes a strong case, demonstrating Eddy's plagiarism in damning fashion by placing her writings side-by-side with her apparent sources, and detailing her relentless persecution of heretics, her nervous disorders (including lifelong morphine addiction), and her extraordinary fears (she believed enemies were killing her through ``malicious animal magnetism''). Most welcome from the standpoint of literary history is the author's favorable reassessment of Mark Twain's forgotten booklength battering of Eddy, Christian Science (1907). More inquisition than objective report, but on target: a well- aimed tomato to the face. (Photographs—not seen) Read full book review >