Gathering 4 Gardner Biennial Conference
The Gathering, also referred to as G4Gn (“n” denoting the number in the series), is an invitation-only biennial conference that started with G4G1 in 1993. Since the second conference in 1996 the meetings have been held every two years, the most recent being G4G13 in the spring of 2018. To date, all G4Gn conferences have been held in Atlanta, Georgia.
At each Gathering, there are typically lectures, performance art, puzzle and book displays, close-up and stage magic acts, and guided sculpture building. Traditionally, each conference has a Gift Exchange in which attendees swap puzzles, magic tricks, artwork, mathematical papers, novelty items, books and CDs/DVDs.
Typically there are 250-350 attendees between the ages of 8 and 102 from all over the world.
How the Gathering Began
Martin Gardner’s prolific output as a columnist and writer—he authored over 100 books between 1951 and 2010—put him in contact with a large number of people on a wide range of subjects from magic, mathematics, physics, philosophy, logic and rationality to Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz. As a result, he had a large following of amateurs and professionals eager to pay tribute to him. Gardner was famously shy, and generally declined to appear at any events honoring him.
In the early 1990s, Atlanta-based entrepreneur and puzzle collector Thomas M. Rodgers (1944 – 2012), a friend of Martin Gardner’s, conceived a plan to create a gathering of people who shared Gardner’s interests, especially puzzles, magic, and mathematics. Rodgers invited the world’s foremost puzzle composers and collectors, and enlisted magician Mark Setteducati and mathematician Elwyn Berlekamp to recruit leading magicians and recreational mathematicians, respectively. Thus was born the first Gathering (G4G1), held in Atlanta, Georgia, in January of 1993. A second Gathering (G4G2) was held in Atlanta in 1996. From then on the events have been held biennially, in the springs of even-numbered years, the most recent being G4G12 in March/April of 2016. Gardner (and his wife), who disliked travel in addition to wanting to avoid the limelight, attended only the first two Gatherings.
G4G Becomes a Non-Profit
The non-profit organization Gathering for Gardner, Inc., was formed in 2007 after board members Tom Rodgers, Elwyn Berlekamp, Mark Setteducati, Thane Plambeck and Scott Hudson de Tarnowsky decided that G4G should broaden its reach and expand the scope of its educational programs.
Since that time, ten more biennial conferences have been held. There has been significant media attention given to the conferences, including several articles in The New York Times, Science News, Seed Magazine and numerous other publications.