Gathering for Gardner

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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/14/02 10:15 PM

Did anyone attend the Gathering for Gardner in Atlanta a week ago? It is a biennial event hosted by puzzle-ologist Tom Rodgers, in honor of Martin Garnder. I went two years ago, and it was the most interesting magic related get-together I've ever been to. In attendance: Teller, Looy Simonoff, Jay Marshall, Lee Freed, Paul Swinford, Lennart Green, Daniel Rhod, Bob Friedhoffer, Herb Zarrow, Mark Setteducati, Jerry Andrus, Ray Hyman, Gary Plants, Richard Hatch, and Charlie Randall.

Personal conflicts prevented me from going this year, but I hope to make it in 2004.

Can anyone give a report?

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Postby Ryan Matney » 04/14/02 11:33 PM

Wow, I have never even heard of this! I wish I had known before. Sounds like it might make a good write-up in Genii (Nudge Nudge)

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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/15/02 07:08 AM

Should have mentioned above -- it is invite only.
That may be why you've not heard of it -- there isn't any publicity.

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Postby Adam Brooks » 04/15/02 12:58 PM

My college advisor went, and he had a fantastic time. He gave a talk on "domino portraits", where a certain number of complete sets of double-9 dominos are used to create remarkably detailed pictures.
I've talked to him about G4G5, and he told me of some fantastic things that went down.

There was one guy (his name escapes me) did a series of three "impossible" tasks, one visual, one tactile, and one auditory. Unfortunately, the only one I remember is the auditory one: he played a "perpetual" scale on the piano, where the scale kept on going up, but it never ended. Apparently the aural illusion was very strong.

Of course, the thing that intrigued me the most was the gift exchange: 150 people attend every gathering, and eachy person has to bring gifts for everybody else. That's 150 gifts times 150 people. That's 22,500 gifts in all, from magicians, puzzle-enthusiasts, mathematicians and scientists.

Lucky bast*rds...

-Adam

P.S. I guess if you wanted to be technical, each person would bring 149 gifts for each of the 149 other people attending. Eh, 22,201 just doesn't look as nice...
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Postby Bill Mullins » 04/15/02 02:49 PM

Was the impossible tasks guy Scott Kim? He's a graphic designer who comes up with "Inversions", words/phrases that can be read in different directions because of symmetry that he either discovers or invents. See his website
www.scottkim.com and poke about. Two years ago,
he performed rounds of "Row row row your boat" by himself, whistling one part and humming the other part, each part temporally out of synch with the other, just like you did in groups in grade school. My brain hurts just thinking about doing it. I fancy myself to be a pretty smart guy, but for a whole weekend I felt like I was the dumbest person in a very big room.

One night at dinner, I was sitting at a table with Richard Hatch, Charlie Randall, Gordon Bean, and John Conway. Conway is a mathematics professor at Princeton, who used to be at Cambridge, where he held a post formerly held by Isaac Newton. He invented the computer game of "Life". His presentation was on the calendar and the pecularities caused by the transition from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date but on different days; Spain, a Catholic country had jumped to the Gregorian calendar, but England, Protestant, had not); at dinner, he taught us an easy way to calculate the day of the week for any given date on the (Gregorian) calendar.

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Postby Ryan Matney » 04/15/02 07:09 PM

Should have mentioned above -- it is invite only.
That may be why you've not heard of it -- there isn't any publicity.
Someone invite me! This sounds better than FFFF to me. Thanks for rubbing it in Bill. Let's see...gifts?? I could bring 150 slim jims and cheese balls. Even the brains need snacks, right? Also, if I were there, you would no longer feel like the dumbest person in the room. :D
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Postby Adam Brooks » 04/15/02 08:46 PM

Was the impossible tasks guy Scott Kim? He's a graphic designer who comes up with "Inversions", words/phrases that can be read in
different directions because of symmetry that he either discovers or invents.
That's the guy. I was playing around on his site today; some incredible inversions there; highly entertaining.

My advisor gave the same lecture he gave at G4G5 a few days ago here at Oberlin, and he brought the invitation to this year's gathering; the insignia was a 5 pointed star with the the word "Gardner" as each of the main diagonals. It looks very pretty.

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Postby Adam Brooks » 04/15/02 08:57 PM

If you'd like to see what kinds of things do down at this gathering, check out:

http://www.g4g4.com

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Postby Matthew Field » 04/16/02 06:42 AM

Also check out the review of the collection of G4G4 material, which Jamy Ian Swiss reviews in the May Genii.

I got invited this year (by Mark Setteducati) but, alas, am tied to New York City by my blasted job.

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