[Martin Gardner]

Martin Gardner receives his David Hilbert Award from WFNMC President Peter O'Halloran (left) at his home in Hendersonville, North Carolina on 13 August 1992. Also in the picture are Graham Pollard and Warren Atkins, both from Australia.


Martin Gardner is regarded by the scientific community, and the community at large, to be the master communicator of mathematics. His books and articles, over the years, have exemplified the criteria of a successful presentation. To describe what I consider a successful article in this context, I would like to reword Hilbert’s statement defining a good challenge problem in mathematics to define a good challenge article in mathematics ... "A mathematical article should be interesting, motivating and challenging but be at a level not inaccessible lest it mock our efforts. It should be a guidepost on the difficult paths of hidden and beautiful truths, ultimately rewarding us with the pleasure of having a clear and complete understanding of that truth".

And this, I believe, describes what Martin Gardner’s articles and books are all about. This is one of Martin Gardner’s great contributions and service to the scientific community and the public at large. As David Hilbert has been the master challenger, Martin Gardner has been the master communicator. His clear expositions of mathematical concepts and ideas have enabled the community at large to share with him the beauty and excitement of mathematics. His books and articles, I know, have been the source of many inspirational contest questions all around the world. At a personal level, I confess, some of my most successful lectures have been based on his articles.

Thus Martin, on behalf of millions of grateful people around the world for “your outstanding series of books and articles which have made mathematical recreations exciting and challenging, and yet at the same time accessible, to both the scientific community and the public community in general” please accept the David Hilbert International Award.

Peter O'Halloran
President WFNMC
13 August 1992