A. K. Dewdney

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Alexander Keewatin Dewdney (born August 5, 1941) is a Canadian mathematician, computer scientist, author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist. Dewdney is the son of Canadian artist and author Selwyn Dewdney, and brother of poet Christopher Dewdney.

He was born in London, Ontario.

Art and fiction[edit]

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.[1][2] Margaret Atwood wrote that a poetry scrapbook by Dewdney, based on the Maltese Cross Movement film, "raises scrapbooking to an art".[3]

The Academy Film Archive has preserved two of Dewdney's films: The Maltese Cross Movement in 2009 and Wildwood Flower in 2011.[4]

He has also written two novels, The Planiverse (about an imaginary two-dimensional world)[5] 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.[6]

Computing, mathematics, and science[edit]

Dewdney has written a number of books on mathematics, computing, and bad science. He also founded and edited a magazine on recreational programming called Algorithm[7] between 1989 and 1993.

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.[8] Dewdney was a co-inventor of programming game Core War.[9]

Since the nineties, Dewdney has worked on biology, both as a field ecologist[10] and as a mathematical biologist,[11] contributing a solution to the problem of determining the underlying dynamics of species abundance in natural communities.

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Dewdney is a member of the 9/11 truth movement, and has theorized that the planes used in the September 11 attacks had been emptied of passengers and were flown by remote control.[12] He based these claims in part on a series of experiments (one with funding from Japan's TV Asahi) that, he claims, show that cell phones do not work on airplanes, from which he concludes that the phone calls received from hijacked passengers during the attacks must have been faked.


  • 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. ^ Description of Malanga, Four Girls, and Scissors, Film-Makers Coop, retrieved 2013-09-16.
  2. ^ Wildwood Flower Archived 2015-02-21 at the Wayback Machine, directed by Dewdney in 1971, at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 2013.
  3. ^ 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, p. 66, ISBN 9781770890107.
  4. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  5. ^ Stewart, P. J. (2016) [Spring 1991], "Allegory through the Computing Class: Sufism in 'The Planiverse' by A. K. Dewdney", Sufi (9): 26–30, retrieved May 10, 2017.
  6. ^ A. K. Dewdney website.
  7. ^ A. K. Dewdney (September 2013). "Curriculum Vitae".
  8. ^ "Books and articles", A. K. Dewdney website.
  9. ^ D. G. Jones & A. K. Dewdney (March 1984). "Core War guidelines". Department of Computer Science, The University of Western Ontario.
  10. ^ Newport Forest, Closed Conservation Area.
  11. ^ "The Shape of Biodiversity; Recent research & publications", A. K. Dewdney website.
  12. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (2011), The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition, ABC-CLIO, p. 125, ISBN 9781598849219.

External links[edit]