[seqfan] Re: Martin Gardner & humour

Maximilian Hasler maximilian.hasler at gmail.com
Wed Jun 9 05:29:25 CEST 2010

On Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 10:09 AM, Eric Angelini <Eric.Angelini at kntv.be> wrote:
> Hello Math-Fun and SeqFan,
> I'm asked to write a 10,000-sign paper on Martin Gardner's
> sense of humour (the man &/or his articles, columns, books).
> Do some of you have nice stories or souvenirs?
> Best,
> É.

In its obituary about Martin Gardner, available at


Scientific American presents three of Gardner's puzzles, starting with
the topological problem of trousers to be turned inside-out, which is
somehow funny:

"Each end of a 10-foot length of rope is tied securely to a man’s
ankles. Without cutting or untying the rope, is it possible to remove
his trousers, turn them inside out on the rope and put them back on
correctly? Party guests should try to answer this confusing
topological question before initiating any empirical tests."

As remarked on http://www.scienceblogs.de/mathlog/,
this is not unrelated to a joke from Lewis Caroll, quoted by Gardner
in his book "The universe in a handkerchief: Lewis Carroll's
mathematical recreations, ...",
cf. http://books.google.com/books?id=v6JIKj0K-ZQC&pg=PA27 :

 "He (Dodgson) knows a man whose feet are so large that he has to put
on his trousers over his head." One can call this a joke about


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