cover image Gardner's Whys & Wherefores

Gardner's Whys & Wherefores

Martin Gardner. University of Chicago Press, $23.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-226-28245-9

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.)