When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish takes aim at a gallery of amusing targets, ranging from Ann Coulter's qualifications as an evolutionary biologist to the logical fallacies of precognition and extrasensory perception, from Santa Claus to The Wizard of Oz, from mutilated chessboards to the little-known "one-poem poet" Langdon Smith (the original author of this volume's title line). The writings assembled here fall naturally into seven broad categories: Science, Bogus Science, Mathematics, Logic, Literature, Religion and Philosophy, and Politics. Under each heading, Gardner displays an awesome level of erudition combined with a wicked sense of humor.
"A very able and even-tempered presentation." — New Yorker
This witty and engaging book examines the various fads, fallacies, strange cults, and curious panaceas which at one time or another have masqueraded as science. Not just a collection of anecdotes but a fair, reasoned appraisal of eccentric theory, it is unique in recognizing the scientific, philosophic, and sociological-psychological implications of the wave of pseudoscientific theories which periodically besets the world.
To this second revised edition of a work formerly titled In the Name of Science, Martin Gardner has added new, up-to-date material to an already impressive account of hundreds of systematized vagaries. Here you will find discussions of hollow-earth fanatics like Symmes; Velikovsky and wandering planets; Hörbiger, Bellamy, and the theory of multiple moons; Charles Fort and the Fortean Society; dowsing and the other strange methods for finding water, ores, and oil. Also covered are such topics as naturopathy, iridiagnosis, zone therapy, food fads; Wilhelm Reich and orgone sex energy; L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics; A. Korzybski and General Semantics. A new examination of Bridey Murphy is included in this edition, along with a new section on bibliographic reference material.
Learn to use the most important codes and methods of secret communication in use since ancient times. Cipher and decipher codes used by spies. Explore the famous codes that changed the fate of nations and political leaders. And enjoy hours of fun experimenting with cryptography ― the science of secret writing.
Beginning with simple letter substitutions and transposition ciphers, world-famous science writer Martin Gardner explains how to break complicated polyalphabetical ciphers and codes worked with grids, squares, triangles, and charts. You'll learn codes that are keyed to typewriters and telephone dials . . . even codes that use playing cards, knots, and swizzle sticks. Experiment with invisible writing ― inks that glow in black light and turn red under heat ― and explore the possibilities of sending messages through outer space to unknown worlds.
Using this book, you can solve the historically famous Playfair Cipher used by Australia in World War II, the Pigpen Cipher used by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, Thomas Jefferson's Wheel Cipher, the Beaufort system used by the British Royal Navy, codes devised by authors for heroes in literature ― Sherlock Holmes, Captain Kidd, and the Shadow. And you will enjoy experimenting with bizarre methods of message sending ― the Dot Code, Knot Code, Swizzle Code, and more.
Young cryptanalysts, cipher fans, and puzzlists of all ages will find hours of intrigue and challenge in Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing. "A stimulating must for the intermediate cryptographer." ― The Kirkus Reviews
Gardner shows you how to re-create classic experiments with easily obtainable objects. Using just a flashlight, a pocket mirror, and a bowl of water, you can demonstrate the color composition of white light just as Newton did 300 years ago. With cardboard, colored paper, and wax paper you can perform "Meyer's experiment" with complementary colors. You need only a playing card, a spool, and a thumbtack to demonstrate Bernoulli's principle of aerodynamics. A soda bottle filled with water, a few paper matches, and a toy balloon elucidate Pascal's law governing pressure in liquids. And two drinking glasses, some matches, and a piece of wet blotting paper re-create a famous experiment, first performed in 1650 in Magdeburg, Germany, that dramatically reveals the force of ordinary atmospheric pressure.
In language simple enough to be easily understood by an 11-year-old, yet technically accurate and informative enough to benefit adults, and aided by Anthony Ravielli's clear illustrations, Gardner presents a splendid practical course in basic science and mathematics. While your child perplexes and delights his or her friends with a series of 100 amusing tricks and experiments, he or she is learning the principles of astronomy, chemistry, physiology, psychology, general mathematics, topology, probability, geometry, numbers, optics (light), gravity, static electricity, mechanics, air hydraulics, thermodynamics (heat), acoustics (sound), and inertia. This is a perfect refresher course for adults as well as an ideal introduction to science for youngsters.
"The experiments … are all clearly explained and unusually well illustrated." — Booklist.
Step-by-step instructions and nearly 200 easy-to-follow diagrams and illustrations provide all the information and advice you’ll need to make cards vanish and reappear, get coins to pass through solid objects, make articles mysteriously travel from one location to another, and much more.
Gardner takes readers from his childhood in Oklahoma to his varied and wide-ranging professional pursuits. He shares colorful anecdotes about the many fascinating people he met and mentored, and voices strong opinions on the subjects that matter to him most, from his love of mathematics to his uncompromising stance against pseudoscience. For Gardner, our mathematically structured universe is undiluted hocus-pocus—a marvelous enigma, in other words.
Undiluted Hocus-Pocus offers a rare, intimate look at Gardner’s life and work, and the experiences that shaped both.
Ask Professor Picanumba, a master of riddles who carries dozens of surefire tricks up his sleeve. He'll show you how to astonish your friends and family by predicting the answers to 88 word and number challenges. These tricks require only simple props—a deck of cards or a couple of pairs of dice, a calculator, and a pencil and paper. With or without an audience, these foolproof feats of mental magic offer hours of amusement. Solutions appear at the end, with 64 illustrations in between.
Author Martin Gardner has written more than 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion. Well known for the mathematical games that appeared in Scientific American for decades and for his "Trick of the Month" column in Physics Teacher magazine, Gardner has had a lifelong passion for magic tricks and puzzles.
Mr. Gardner offers lucid explanations of not only the special and general theories of relativity, but of the Michelson-Morley experiment, gravity and spacetime, Mach's principle, the twin paradox, models of the universe, and other topics. A new Postscript, examining the latest developments in the field, and specially written for this edition, is also included.
The clarity of the text is especially enhanced by the brilliant graphics of Anthony Ravielli, making this "by far the best layman's account of this difficult subject." — Christian Science Monitor.
Recalling such philosophers was Wittgenstein and Arendt, The Whys of Philosophical Scrivener embodies Martin Garner's unceasing interest and joy in the impenetrable mysteries of life.
Martin Gardner is perhaps the wittiest, most devastating unmasker of scientific fraud and intellectual chicanery of our time. Here he muses on topics as diverse as numerology, New Age anthropology, and the late Senator Claiborne Pell's obsession with UFOs, as he mines Americans' seemingly inexhaustible appetite for bad science. Gardner's funny, brilliantly unsettling exposés of reflexology and urine therapy should be required reading for anyone interested in "alternative" medicine. In a world increasingly tilted toward superstition, Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? will give those of us who prize logic and common sense immense solace and inspiration. "Gardner is a national treasure...I wish [this] could be made compulsory reading in every high school—and in Congress."—Arthur C. Clarke "Nobody alive has done more than Gardner to spread the understanding and appreciation of mathematics, and to dispel superstition."— The New Criterion, John Derbyshire
Fun and fascinating, the simple maneuvers require only basic everyday props, and those requiring matches, knives, boiling water, and other tricky items are marked with a symbol that lets kids know they'll need assistance from an adult. Helpful drawings illustrate each stunt.
The present volume contains a rich selection of 70 of the best of these brain teasers, in some cases including references to new developments related to the puzzle. Now enthusiasts can challenge their solving skills and rattle their egos with such stimulating mind-benders as The Returning Explorer, The Mutilated Chessboard, Scrambled Box Tops, The Fork in the Road, Bronx vs. Brooklyn, Touching Cigarettes, and 64 other problems involving logic and basic math. Solutions are included.