Gathering for Gardner 5
SYMMETRY. Word cross with five fold rotational symmetry. Two overlap points: the initial G becomes the final R, and the first R becomes the N.
STORY. Through his writings, Martin Gardner has created a world-wide community that includes mathematicians, magicians, puzzle people, skeptics (pseudoscience critics). In 1992 Gardner fan and puzzle collector Tom Rodgers started the Gathering for Gardner as a way to bring together people who had corresponded with him but never met him. Although Gardner himself was able to attend only the first two G4G installments, the event continues as a wonderfully fertile meeting of minds.
The conference itself is a closed invitational event, but fortunately many of the fruits of the conference are available online at the Gathering for Gardner web site. Here you’ll find links to work by the G4G attendees on such topics as puzzles, recreational math, geometry, mazes, illusions, magic and the fourth dimension. You’ll also find a free downloadable PDF version of The Mathemagician and the Pied Puzzler, a book of articles based on the first G4G event. Every G4G attendee is asked to bring 150 copies of something to share with every other attendee; you can find some of the G4G4 exchange items on the site, including matchstick puzzles, ancient chinese mazes and a mechanical impossibility.
My contributions to G4G include helping to rally the papers for the first book, and designing the cover of the seoncd book, entitled Puzzler’s Tribute, edited by David Wolfe and Tom Rodgers. I also contributed a chapter to Puzzler’s Tribute that displays ambigrams on mathematical and magical names.
I created the logo above for the fifth Gathering for Gardner. Naturally I wanted to incorporate the number five. I thought immediately of a star with overlapping words. Although I have created many such “word crosses”, such as one on “M. C. Escher”, I had never created one where letters overlapped at such peculiar angles.
The challenge in this design was to make the letters appear to be all tilted at the same angle instead of leaning left and right willy nilly. The solution required blobby lettershapes and strokes that could be bent flexibly at different angles.The R/N combination was easy enough, but G/R took some wrangling…and the G still appears to be at a different angle from the other letters.