As has been customary since Martin Gardner’s passing in 2010, we continue to keep the spirit of his work alive with the Celebration of Mind. Members of our community and other enthusiasts worldwide have joined to share their joy and wonder of mathematics, magic, puzzles, science and/or literature. The majority of the events took place around the 21st of October, Martin’s birthday (he’d be 104 this year), but some were hosted at other times of the year.


Celebrations of Mind (CoM) can be intimate, involve thousands of people, or something in between. Examples of CoMs include: two people getting together at a café to discuss science and inviting any curious onlooker to join, a MathsJam in which mathematics enthusiasts get together in a pub or bar, puzzle parties, magic shows, science fairs, lectures and performances. What ties these events together is the curious exploration of the interdisciplinary topics that excited Martin Gardner.

In 2018, Celebrations of Mind were hosted in five of the seven continents, with the majority of the events in the United States. Testimonials from organizers of 2018 Celebrations of Mind events/parties/get togethers are included below. If you hosted, organized, or attended a Celebration of Mind, please email and tell us about it.

For more pictures, information, ideas on how to hold and to register your own Celebration of Mind, visit the event website:

Celebration of Mind at the MSRI


Location: Berkley, CA, USA

Venue: MSRI

Relevant links:


At the University of Northern Colorado, our Celebration of Mind event took place on the evening of October 17, 2018, with a guest lecture by Professor Jennifer Quinn of the University of Washington, Tacoma: “Epic Math Battles: Counting vs. Matching.”  She used an interactive “game show” format to present a variety of beautiful combinatorial identities, and ways to prove them via bijections or involutions. The audience participated enthusiastically, and at the end, voted “The Countess,” representing bijective proof, as the winner over “Sir Match-A-Lot,” representing involutions.  Students also enjoyed meeting informally with Professor Quinn to discuss academic and career paths, and other aspects of mathematical life.

The festival following the talk was also greatly enjoyed.  Students from UNC’s Math Club organized tables of mathematical puzzles, games, card tricks, and activities, illustrating concepts in geometry, number theory, combinatorics, and other areas of mathematics not generally familiar to the public.  There was also a demonstration of the Zometools geometric construction set, and our traditional contest to estimate the volume of a pumpkin (in units of sugar cubes).

This year’s event was our best-attended ever.  We had exactly 100 people at the talk (the maximum capacity of the room) and 164 attended the more casual festival event.  This substantially exceeded our expectations, and next year, we will plan a larger space for the lecture.

Celebration of Mind at the University of Northern Colorado


Host: Eldredge, Nathaniel

Location: Greely, Colorado, USA

Venue: University of Northern Colorado

Mad Math


Host: Jim Henle

Location: Northampton, MA, USA

Venue: Smith College

Relevant Links:


Smith College’s first Mad Math day was held in honor Martin Gardner, who inspired a generation of mathematicians—Jim Henle included. Gardner helped change mathematics, Henle said, from a solitary occupation “to a collaborative, social enterprise.”

It was a field day of mathematical amusements and astonishments that started at 9am and went into the afternoon at 9pm open to the general public. Many activities were available the whole day like the A seven and one half foot-high puzzle, The world’s only walk-in Klein bottle! A thirty-foot-long sudoku board with puzzles, others were walk in guided activities Mathematical Origamist, Charlene Morrow, Constructing polyhedra and puppies from 50-foot-long balloons, A workshop in puzzle design led by genius student puzzle designers, Construction of George Hart’s “Amazing Acrobats” sculpture, A puzzle hunt: Four challenging puzzles, A pozzle hunt: Four moderately challenging pozzles. Beyond these there were 4 talks given by Colm Mulcahy on mathematical magic titled Mathematical Magician, a guided tour of mathematical art on campus and the Change-ringing at the Smith bell tower. The day was filled with many surprises.

Pictures were taken by Dana Vera, Emmely Rogers, Isabelle Hodge, Quincy Webb, Jennifer Warren, Charlene Morrow, and Jim Henle

We ran an Alice In Wonderland festival, with a CoM / MG theme: we had about 500-1000 people come through (with a good number of them being Pokemon players since there was something they were doing in the SC Botanical Gardens)  We had everything from queen of hearts and tarts to math and magic tricks. Several dozen volunteers too.

Mystery & Math: Alice in the Garden

Host: Neil Calkin

Location: Clemson, SC, USA

Venue: Clemson University

Antonio Peticov Institute of Arts and Culture – Brazil


Host: Antonio Peticov

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Venue: The Antonio Peticov Institute of Arts And Culture

Mr Celio Amino, one of the best Brazilian magicians, performed Mathematical Magic. In addition to Mr. Amino, there were three very young magicians, excellent amateurs. Also in attendance were math teachers, a very important doctor famous for his research on psychedelic healing, and two visual artists who have a particular interest in Martin´s work.


Towards the end, we ate some delicious pizzas celebrating Martin’s birthday.

We ran out CoM event at our National Botanic Gardens on 21st October. It was mainly attended by families with young children. We had puzzles and games and we also ran shows during the day. 8,000 attended and most either engaged with activities or at least saw them in action. We had some pop-up CoM banners and also in the introduction to shows we mentioned Martin Gardner. The prior knowledge of Martin Gardner was very low […]


National Botanic Gardens – Ireland


Host: Eoin Gill

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Venue: National Botanic Gardens

Ye Olde Gamery


Host: Kate Jones

Location: Maryland, Renaissance Festival

Venue: Ye Olde Gamery

Relevant Links:

We had a very successful Celebration of Mind event again this year at our pavilion, Ye Olde Gamery, at the Maryland Renaissance Festival on both Oct. 20 and 21, 2018. I attach a few of the photos of visitors who became introduced to our games, puzzles, and stories about Martin Gardner. We had hundreds of people stop by and experience recreational mathematics and learn about Martin.

Magic and Puzzle Night


Host: Colm Mulcahy

Location: Atlanta, GA

Venue: Private Location

Noite de Magia Com Calma – Portugal


Host: Tiago Hirth

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Venue: Com Calma cultural association

On October 21st, we held our CoM as part of a regular magic night organized by Adrien Lochon, Tiago Hirth and various other invited magicians. For this specific night we had Jorge Nuno Silva, co-founder of the portuguese Mathematical Circus and the Mathemagicians Silva as invited guest who presented a brief overview of Martin’s work, after this we had our regular hour long  we decided to only do magic Martin Gardner had written about. I also brought some of his most relevant literature in this respect, like the Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic, and, some puzzles, some of them more magical than others. As part of the show we spoke about Gardner’s work and some famous anecdotes related to him. We performed into the night and then fell into discussion and exchange of tricks, puzzles, riddles etc. with a general public that mostly comes for the magic shows, but was eager to learn and find out more about both Martin Gardner and what he did.

This event followed an initiative first held in 2013 were both parts defied the brains and everyone left as a winner. The competition was open to anyone else who wanted to join in on the fun. Although there were interested parties in France and Italy, it was a two team challenge. It was a simple get together via webcam of two workgroups, one in Israel the other in Portugal. The Israeli team had about 20 people versus 6 Portuguese. Problems included simple Recreational Mathematics brain teasers, mathematical word games up to geometrical problems. Both parties looked forward to repeat the experience in 2019.

Puzzle and Problem Competition – Israel & Portugal


Host: Yossi Elrand, Jorge Nuno Silva

Location: Web conference

Venue: Weizmann Institute of Science, Portuguese Museum of Natural History and Science

Butler University Celebration of Mind 

Host: Steve Bloom, Jeremiah Farrell

Location: Indianapolis, IA

Venue: Butler University

Relevant Links:

A New Jersey G4G Celebration Of Mind

Host: Meir Yedid

Location: New Jersey

Gathering in honor of Martin Gardner. With lots of Gardner stories, jokes and puzzles from people who met, knew or were fans of his withHarvey LeedsMarc FeinsonMarc SalemHarry Zarrow and Mark Setteducati.

Intimate Lunch – San Francisco Bay Area

Host: Nancy Blachman

Location: Burlingame, California

Venue: Rise Pizzeria, 1451 Burlingame Ave, Burlingame

Because there were large Celebrations of Mind in the SF Bay Area (one at Stanford and on in Berkeley), I hosted an intimate lunch on October 26, 2018 at which I introduced my first cousin to the Celebration of Mind.