Monday, June 2, 2014

Albrecht Dürer, Sprouts, Martin Gardner

"The triumph of melancholy: 500 years of Dürer's most enigmatic print" by Karl Galle, The Guardian, 16 May 2014

 "As mathematicians meet in New York to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Dürer's print Melencolia, Karl Galle asks whether it is a depiction of despairing genius or of scholarly optimism"

Martin Gardner is not mentioned in this article,  but this event is right up his alley. I was introduced to many interesting cultural artifacts via Martin Gardner, including this one.

I was introduced to John Horton Conway's game of Sprouts with the July 1967 issue of Scientific American, the first issue I ever bought and my introduction to Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column. If you follow the links from the Wikipedia page, you will see how much progress has been made in the mathematical analysis of the game. It is a simple yet fascinating pencil-and-paper game. This is but one of my many debts to Martin Gardner.