You ought to give the kid a chance

Martin Gardner (1914 – 2010) was best known for his articles on recreational mathematics, especially his column in Scientific American which he wrote from 1956 to 1981. Once Gardner wrote a letter of recommendation for a young man applying to graduate school at Harvard.

I don’t know a lot about mathematics, but this kid invented two of the best card tricks of the last ten years. You ought to give him a chance.

The kid was Persi Diaconis. At the time, Diaconis, like Gardner, was something of a mathematical outsider, someone with more creativity than credentials. Diaconis went on to become a mathematics professor at Harvard and won two MacArthur genius awards. He is now a professor at Stanford.

Source: Magical Mathematics (ISBN 0691151644)

9 thoughts on “You ought to give the kid a chance

  1. (was a professor at Harvard, now a professor at Stanford, unless something has changed the last few days)

  2. @AntiSlice , The video I featured was ome of the most enjoyable piece of math I have ever viewed. Do you believe there will be a camera in that room ?

    Should we crowdsource the question to ask Persi ?

  3. human mathematics

    Saw Diaconis give a talk several years ago and I’ve still not forgotten it. He used the Poisson distribution to disprove Karl Jung’s “Synchronicity”.

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