Celebration of Mind 2020 Recap

In honor of Martin Gardner’s legacy we continue to hold Celebrations of Mind (CoM for short). Since 2010, members of our community and many other enthusiasts worldwide have joined to share their joy and wonder of mathematics, magic, puzzles, science, and/or literature. The majority of the events take place around October 21, Martin’s birthday. He would be 106 this year!

2020 has been an eventful year. It also marks a full decade of Celebrations of Mind. Given the precautions required this year, we pioneered G4G’s first virtual CoM. Independently, many other CoM’s were held all over the globe.

Below you will find a recap of some of the events registered this year. If you held a CoM and would like it to be included here please share a description of what you did and who with, pictures, stories, or playthings. Contact us via support@g4gfoundation.org

G4G’s Virtual Celebration of Mind

Host: Gathering 4 Gardner

Location: United States of America

Venue: Online via Zoom

For the 10th anniversary of Celebration of Mind, we hosted a virtual Celebration of Mind over Zoom last month. Over the course of the week surrounding October 21 (Martin Gardner’s birthday), we hosted 21 presentations (3 per day). Themes ranged from the mathematics of twisty puzzles, flexagons, musical illusions and dance, to a live interview with Eddy Goldfarb, a 99-year-old toy inventor (Yakity Yak Teeth).

The full program can be reviewed at our event page here.  We are working on making all of the sessions available on our YouTube Channel.

Close to 500 people participated, and given the enthusiastic response, we hope to start hosting monthly Celebration of Mind events.  The first ones was on Saturday November 21, with the interview by Mark Setteducati of computer graphics and mosaics pioneer Ken Knowlton. We look forward to continue every 21st of each month at noon (Eastern Time). Make sure you keep up to speed with out CoM Virutal Events here.

Kafémath – “Gathering 4 Gardner Paris”

Host: Piere Berloquinn

Location: France

Venue: Online via Zoom

“We will go beyond the simple Zoom, which has already become classic and banal, to experience the “Commensal Zoom”, where each one of us puts a drink and a dish on his connection table, in front of the screen and visible from the camera. There will be up to 8 presentations shared on the main split screen, 10 minutes each followed by 5 minutes of discussion.” – announcement for Katémath’s Celebration of Mind.

Over the course of two hours, eight presentations were shared on the life and work of Martin Gardner, highlighting much of the content from his columns and books like the Doomsday calculation, homage to the founding fathers of Combinatorial Game Theory, Penrose’s tiling and ambigrams, and other topics like a survey on the history of Recreational Maths or Xess and its problems.

You can find multiple resources such as interesting papers presented during the CoM at the Kafemath webpage (in french).


Hosts: Multiple Events by Various People

Location: Worldwide

Venue: Pubs and Webmeetings Around the Globe

There were multiple MathsJams all over the world some of which focused their monthly meeting on Celebration of Mind. The shout-out theme was Collaborative Lockdown Puzzles #6. The MathsJam organized by Beatriz Salvador, Portugal, had participants puzzle with Martin’s name using Bob Hearn’s coin sliding puzzle found here and a selection from “Aha! Gotcha”. They tuned in watching a little bit of the Paris CoM and talked about De Viribus Quantitatis.

To find out more about MathsJam, you can read more on the MathsJam webpage.

CoM Panama

Host: Fundapromat, Jeanette Shakalli

Location: Panama

Venue: Online via Google Meet

The Panamanian Foundation for the Promotion of Mathematics (FUNDAPROMAT) invited participants to a virtual Celebration of Mind in Panama using the Google Meet platform. On Monday, October 26th at 10:00 am (Panama time), Dr. Ricardo Teixeira, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Houston – Victoria in the United States, spoke about Martin Gardner’s life and taught several magic and math tricks over the course of an hour.

CoM – Mágicas Matemáticas

Host: Museum of Mathematics UFMG,
Carmen Rosa

Location: Brazil

Venue: Online via Google Meet


The Museum of Mathematics UFMG is organized a series of activities in the spirit of fun and curiosity to show a part of what Martin Gardner enchanted: puzzles, games, mathematics, magic and much more! The first was an online session on Luca Pacioli and his puzzles via Zoom on October 21 followed by a session on Mathematical magic on October 27.

VII Feira da Matemática

Host:  National Museum of Natural History and Science

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Venue: Virtual via Zoom and Youtube

On the 23 and 24 of October, the Portuguese National Museum of Natural History and Science held the VII Feira da Matemática (a Mathfair) fully online as part of the CoMs. The full program can be viewed here. Some of the highlights include interactive quizzes, a talk on the history of the golden ratio, how to draw anamorfoses, what it is to be a mathematician, why study maths, the math of COVID-19, virtual discussions and guided tours as well as the release of the Portuguese translation of an Introduction to Mathematical thinking. Commemorations end with a plenary session on 106 years of Martin Gardner, by Jorge Nuno Silva, and a mathematical Fado (traditional portuguese music) session.

Festival del Ingenio

Host:  Rodolfo Kurchan

Location: Buenos Aires

Venue: Online via Zoom sponsored by Centro Cultural de la Ciencia

This year 24 talks with speakers from Colombia, Spain, Panama, and Portugal were given. Presentations were held on October 30 and November 1, 2020. Some of the topics were self-reference, the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, ludograms, puzzles and games of many kinds as well as live magic performances among many other thing.

For the full program you can visit Festival de Ingenio’s website here.

Other Media

Mariano Tomatis (Italy)

Video in Italian

António Peticov (Brazil)

Video in English

Meir Yedid

Photo Celebration of Mind meal in honor of Martin Gardner’s birthday. Meir Yedid, Mark Setteducati, Harvey Leeds and Bill Schmeelk.

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