CoM Organizing Committee

Planning & Development


Alice Peters – CoM Chair

Nancy Blachman
Chair, G4G Board of Directors  |  Founder, Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

In high school, Nancy was extremely fortunate to take George Polya’s short course in mathematical logic and to do a research project on continued fractions, both of which made her aware that it was more fun to learn by discovery than to be told how to solve problems and just to apply a formula. She enjoyed most of her math classes in college but she found Concrete Mathematics, taught by Donald Knuth, far more intriguing than all of the other math courses. To inspire students to explore the richness and beauty of mathematics through activities that encourage collaborative, creative problem-solving, Nancy founded the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival, which is described in the Huffington Post article and on the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival website.

 Neil Calkin
Department of Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University

Professor Neil Calkin is fascinated by origami, mathematics, and the intersection of puzzles, games, and magic with more “serious” academic pursuits. He likes to use recreational ideas to sneak mathematics into unsuspecting minds!

Yossi Elran
Director of the Technology in Education Unit, Weizmann Institute of Science

Yossi Elran is a theoretical chemist, recreational math enthusiast and puzzle collector. He works at he Davidson Institute of Science Education, the educational wing of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, currently heading the Unit for Technology in Education and Distant Learning Activities. After several years of post doctoral research in the field of quantum mechanics, he decided to put his efforts into promoting science and math education and critical thinking for all ages, incorporating state-of-the-art internet technology and pedagogy. Yossi authors and runs the Institutes’s recreational math and popular science massive online courses for kids: Math-by-Mail and Science-by-Mail, and regularly lectures and runs workshops for students, teachers and the general public. He also coordinates the Israeli G4G activities in honor of Martin Gardner, including the national recreational math, puzzles and games conference and the celebration of mind events. In the past, he wrote a monthly recreation math column for several years in the Hebrew popular science journal, Galileo. His non-mathematical time is dedicated to running an organization that helps underprivileged children with special needs.

Chaim Goodman-Strauss
Geometer, Artist, Expositor, Teacher

Mathematician and artist Chaim Goodman-Strauss co-authored the book The Symmetries of Things (A K Peters/CRC Press, 2008) with Conway and Burgiel. He produces large scale sculptures based on his mathematical interest in form (and is happy to take commissions). Goodman-Strauss has long engaged in mathematical outreach to the broader community, beginning the Saturday Morning Math Group (still continuing, at UT), producing the Math Factor podcast and radio segment. His graphic work can be seen at

Gordon Hamilton

Gordon Hamilton (MMath, PhD) is a board game and puzzle designer. He founded in 2010 to project ideas of mathematics education. His game, Santorini, is rated as one of the top family games.

Stan Isaacs
Computer Programmer & Teacher

A computer programmer, Stan retired from Hewlett Packard in 2002. He teaches in UNIX/Linux class locally. Also, in his spare time, he teaches vintage dancing (which is social dancing from the early 20th century and the 19th century) and folk dancing. He plays at mathematics (which was Isaacs’ major in college), and collect mechanical puzzles of all types. Isaacs collects books of Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland and more.)

Belinda Keir
Freelance Writer & Former K-12 Teacher

Belinda Keir is a freelance writer and former K-12 teacher living in Sydney, Australia. She first encountered Martin Gardner in a book in her high school library and has enjoyed the ‘fun’ side of mathematics ever since. Belinda is the convener of the Sydney MathsJam group, which meets monthly for pizza and puzzles.

Chris Morgan
Computer Consultant & Author

A computer scientist, author, magician, musician, photographer, book collector, and puzzle designer & collector, Chris is also a member of the International Puzzle Party. In 2012, he hosted the 32nd annual Puzzle Party in Washington, D.C.. He has written several books about the hi-tech world, and is a member of the Grolier Club, a book-collecting society. Chris is currently editing a book about Lewis Carroll’s game and puzzle pamphlets for the Lewis Carroll Society of North America. In the past, he was Editor of BYTE magazine, an early magazine about personal computing, and was also a vice president at Lotus Development Corporation.

John S Railing
Magician & Author

Widely considered to be one of the country’s top close-up magicians, John travels extensively to perform throughout the world. He has co-authored two successful series of magic kits for kids published by Scholastic Books. He has amassed one of the largest collections of pop-up and movable books. He is passionate about recreational mathematics and the books of Martin Gardner and delights in the Aha! moments that Gardner inspired.

Jorge Nuno Silva
Professor, University of Lisbon

Jorge Nuno Silva is Professor at the University of Lisbon. He got his PhD in mathematics from UC Berkeley. He is the President of Ludus, the Portuguese Conspiracy leading institution. His main interests are Mathematics, Recreational Mathematics, and Board Games and the history of these subjects. Ludus publishes Recreational Mathematics Magazine and Board Game Studies Journal.

Tanya Thompson
Director of Global Product Acquisition & Inventor Relations for Gaming at Hasbro, Inc.

Tanya Thompson is passionate about play.  As an educator and now an expert in the toy and game industry, she inspires people through toys, games and puzzles. As head of Gaming Product Acquisition, she travels the world looking for the next great game idea for Hasbro. She was a personal friend of Martin Gardner and has attended G4G since 2008. She is also a member of the International Puzzle Party – a group devoted to mechanical puzzles. She is on the boards of Chicago Toy and Game Group, HATCH, and SNAP Math Fairs.