Gathering 4 Gardner - Celebration of Mind 2010

Sjaak, Joy, Ben, Me, Hans-Friedrich, Tim, Will, Klaus, Vladimir, Vaidas

It’s amazing what happens when people gather who share a common interest.  October 21, 2010 was the inaugural G4G – CoM, the event to celebrate Martin Gardner and what would have been his 96th birthday.  It was an overwhelming success.  There were over 66 parties on five continents!  You can read writings and see photos and videos about many of them here.  It’s hard to believe that while I was celebrating in Germany, others were celebrating in Canada, the U.S., Japan, China, Israel, France, England, … and all for Martin.  He touched so many people from every part of the world.

My event was a small but mighty one in Essen, Germany.  I was in Essen on business meeting with inventors at the giant Essen Game Fair.  I hosted a party in a place I’d never been with people I had never met.  And it was wonderful!  There were ten people in attendance from seven countries.  The event was held at the the UnperfektHaus.  Tim Skellet found this place and it was a wonderful facility that reminded me of an artist commune.   We had our own meeting room complete with data projector.  We also enjoyed an incredible German buffet here too!

At the start of our event we all went around and individually introduced ourselves.  Hans-Friedrich Bauch and Klaus-Peter Rudolph from Northern Germany, Ben Muldrum (aka Professor Puzzle) from England, Vaidas Rimkus from Lithuania, Will Strijbos and Sjaak Griffioen from the Netherlands, Vladimir Krasnoukov from Russia, Tim Skellet from Germany, and Joy Walker from Switzerland.  After introductions we went for our first course and while eating enjoyed part of the David Suzuki’s Nature of Things program on Martin.  You can see it here

After a fantastic dinner we began the presentations.  I began with a video I had taken of Martin when I visited him last December.  Martin was going to have published in the February 2010 Games Magazine an article about a magic card trick called An Amazing Mathematical Card Trick.  Martin performed this trick for me and I captured it on video.  I showed everyone this video as well as some personal photos of my visits with Martin and the last Gathering for Gardner.

Next Hans-Friedrich Bauch gave a great presentation on a math paper he had written called “The Smallest Magic Hexagon” that stemmed from a 1963 article that Martin had written in his Scientific American column.  Hans mentioned that he read Martin’s column faithfully because it was information from the “outside” world.  Many journals were banned in Northern Germany at that time but since Scientific American was based on science, it was approved.  His presentation was excellent and he is hoping to connect with others who are interested in Magic Hexagons.  Vladimir Krasnoukov also gave a presentation on a number of puzzles he invented.  Will Strijbos brought puzzles as well as interesting gadgets to share from his collection.  Joy Walker is a teacher and an inventor that I met for the first time at Essen.  She gave a lovely speech about the profound affect Martin’s work continues to have on people like herself even after his death.  Sjaak Griffioen was another inventor who shared some of his work.

It was a wonderful night where we left feeling thankful to have met other people who appreciated Martin’s life’s work.  I couldn’t help but feel so thankful to have known Martin and to  have been able to join people from all over the world in this celebration of mind.  I look forward to watching this global event grow in the years to come.  Thank you Martin.

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