Alexander Dewdney

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Alexander Keewatin Dewdney (born August 5, 1941 in London, Ontario) is a Canadian mathematician, computer scientist and author who has written a number of books on mathematics, computing, and bad science. He has also written two novels, The Planiverse (about an imaginary two-dimensional world) and Hungry Hollow: The Story of a Natural Place. Dewdney lives in London, Ontario, Canada where he holds the position of Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario.[1] Dewdney is the son of Canadian artist and author Selwyn Dewdney, and brother of poet Christopher Dewdney.

In his student days, Dewdney made a number of influential experimental films, including Malanga, on the poet Gerald Malanga, Four Girls, Scissors, and his most ambitious film, the pre-structural Maltese Cross Movement.[2][3][4]

Dewdney followed Martin Gardner and Douglas Hofstadter in authoring Scientific American magazine's recreational mathematics column, renamed to "Computer Recreations", then "Mathematical Recreations", from 1984 to 1991. He has published more than 10 books on scientific possibilities and puzzles.[5] Dewdney was a co-inventor of programming game Core War.[6]

Dewdney has published claims about events surrounding the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, stating that phone calls from the planes must have been faked and that the plane that hit the Pentagon was not Flight 77. Dewdney based these claims on four experiments that he conducted, one with funding from Japan's TV Asahi.[7] These claims are part of a fringe view of the terrorist attacks that is not accepted by any well-established scientific organization, e.g., National Institute of Science and Technology.[8][9]

For the last 20 years, Dewdney has concentrated on biology, both as a field ecologist[10] and as a mathematical biologist,[11] contributing a solution to the thorny problem of determining the underlying dynamics of species abundance in natural communities.


  • The Planiverse: Computer Contact with a Two-Dimensional World (1984). ISBN 0-387-98916-1.
  • The Armchair Universe: An Exploration of Computer Worlds (1988). ISBN 0-7167-1939-8. (collection of "Mathematical Recreations" columns)
  • The Magic Machine: A Handbook of Computer Sorcery (1990). ISBN 0-7167-2144-9. (collection of "Mathematical Recreations" columns)
  • The New Turing Omnibus: Sixty-Six Excursions in Computer Science (1993). ISBN 0-8050-7166-0.
  • The Tinkertoy Computer and Other Machinations (1993). ISBN 0-7167-2491-X. (collection of "Mathematical Recreations" columns)
  • Introductory Computer Science: Bits of Theory, Bytes of Practice (1996). ISBN 0-7167-8286-3.
  • 200% of Nothing: An Eye Opening Tour Through the Twists and Turns of Math Abuse and Innumeracy (1996). ISBN 0-471-14574-2.
  • Yes, We Have No Neutrons: An Eye-Opening Tour through the Twists and Turns of Bad Science (1997). ISBN 0-471-29586-8.
  • Hungry Hollow: The Story of a Natural Place (1998). ISBN 0-387-98415-1.
  • A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos (2001). ISBN 0-471-40734-8.
  • Beyond Reason: Eight Great Problems that Reveal the Limits of Science (2004). ISBN 0-471-01398-6.


  1. ^ A. K. Dewdney website.
  2. ^ Description of Malanga, Four Girls, and Scissors, Film-Makers Coop, retrieved 2013-09-16.
  3. ^ Wildwood Flower, directed by Dewdney in 1971, at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 2013.
  4. ^ Atwood, Margaret (2011) [1966], "Some old, some new, some boring, some blew, and some picture books", Second Words: Selected Critical Prose 1960-1982 (House of Anansi), ISBN 9781770890107 . Atwood reviews a poetry scrapbook by Dewdney, based on the "Maltese Cross Movement" film, on p. 66. She writes that it "raises scrapbooking to an art".
  5. ^ "Books and articles", A. K. Dewdney website.
  6. ^ D. G. Jones and A. K. Dewdney (March 1984). "Core War guidelines". Department of Computer Science, The University of Western Ontario. 
  7. ^ "Cellphone Technology", Physics 911.
  8. ^ "NIST NCSTAR 1: Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster". NIST. September 2005. p. 146. Archived from the original on 2009-05-29. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7" (PDF). NIST. August 2008. pp. 22–4. Archived from the original on 2008-09-28. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ Newport Forest, Closed Conservation Area.
  11. ^ "The Shape of Biodiversity; Recent research & publications", A. K. Dewdney website.

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