Martin Gardner and Scripta Mathematica

Martin's second published book Mathematics, Magic and Mystery (Dover, 1956) appeared a few months before the start of his long tenure at Scientific American. It was arguably the first book aimed at the general public which combined mathematics and magic, but it wasn't the first time he'd written about the connection between the two. The book actually grew out of some earlier writing of Martin's for Scripta Mathematica, "a quarterly journal published by Yeshiva University devoted to the philosophy, history, and expository treatment of mathematics." (Curiously, for many years the journal had a section entitled "Recreational Mathematics" unrelated to his contributions.)

In a Mar 2006 interview published online at MAA.org in "Martin Gardner's Magic Spells" (Oct 2006), Martin revealed, "When I was living in New York, I use to go to a gathering of mathematicians at Yeshiva University, and it was a gathering that was run by a fellow named Jekuthiel Ginsburg who edited Scripta Mathematica, a magazine devoted to history of mathematics. He found out that I was interested in mathematical magic and asked me to do a series of articles, for Scripta. So I did a series of pieces, one on card tricks and one on dice tricks and on miscellaneous objects and so on, and I put those together and that became a book."

Martin's first article for Scripta Mathematica was published in 1948. Over a five year period, Martin published the following four articles there:

        "Mathematical Card Tricks" (14, 99–111, 1948)

        "Mathematical Tricks with Common Objects" (15, 17–26, 1949)

title

        "Topology and Magic" (17, 75–83, 1951)

        "Mathematical Tricks with Special Equipment" (18, 237–249, 1952)

Martin later published "Topology: a strange new mathematics" in Science World (1, 7–9, 1957).


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