Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tomorrow in San Diego -- Math Poetry Event

If you are in San Diego tomorrow, I hope you will attend:

A Reading of Poetry with Mathematics
5 – 7 PM    Friday, January 11, 2013
Room 3, Upper Level, San Diego Convention Center  San Diego, CA
sponsored by the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics
at the Joint Mathematics Meetings
Poetry reading organizers are Mark Huber, Gizem Karaali, and Sue VanHattum

An article by Charlotte Henderson about last year's reading in Boston
may be found here
with selected poems from that reading at this link.

If I were able to attend, I would beg the other poets there to write and publish poems about women mathematicians.  And I would read this example (a revision of a poem first posted in June 2012).

With Reason:  A Portrait      by JoAnne Growney

          Sophia Kovalevsky *    (1850-1891)

Because she was Russian  . . .
Because she had abundant curly hair . . .
Because she loved mathematics . . .
Because she was born in the 19th century . . .
Because lecture notes for calculus papered her nursery walls . . .
Because her parents forbade her to leave home . . .
Because her sister died . . .
Because a woman could not travel abroad from Russia without her father or a husband . . .
Because ideas came to her in torrents . . .
Because she married a man she did not love . . .
 

Because her mind was powerful . . .
Because her passion was mathematics . . .
Because her mentor was Karl Weierstrass  . . .
Because she extended Cauchy’s theorem for partial differential equations . . .
Because she could not care for her daughter when exhausted by mathematics . . .
Because she investigated the refraction of light . . .
Because she knew Saturn’s rings are unstable . . .
Because she understood fixed points completely . . .
Because she struggled with happiness . . .


Because she went to Sweden and the Northern Lights . . .
Because she was the first woman professor at a European University . . .
Because she wrote novels and a memoir . . .
Because her paper on the Rotation of a Solid Body about a Fixed Point won the Bordin Prize . . .
Because she continued Abel’s quest to express Abelian integrals using elliptic functions . . .
Because her colleagues were not women  . . .
Because she dreamed mathematics even in a lover’s arms . . .
Because a poet wrote “To her whose star shines bright” . . .

Because she caught influenza, complicated by pneumonia,
                                                                                 at age 41 Sophia Kovalevsky died.


*Russian names have masculine and feminine forms -- and the commonly used spelling "Kovalevsky" has a masculine ending.  In Russia, Sophia's surname is "Kovalevskaya."

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