Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics--a TREASURE

     Online and available FREE, the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics is a wonderful source of poems and stories and articles that connect mathematics to life.  Thanks to editors Mark Huber and Gizem Karaali who lead the effort to bring us new issues each January and July.  Here is a link to the Table of Contents for the July 2019 issue.   Included in this issue is a thoughtful article by Sarah Mayes-Tang entitled "Telling Women's Stories:  A Resource for College Mathematics Instructors" -- and, related to this, here is a link to postings in this blog found using a SEARCH for "mathematics and women and poem."  (Scroll down the list of postings to find individual poems.)
     This current issue of JHM also offers a selection of five poems and also a folder with insightful reflections in both prose and poetry -- "A Life of Equations Shifting to a Life of Words" by Thomas Willemain.

Follow the links.  And enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Celebrating Paul Erdos

     One of the most interesting and productive mathematicians of all time was Paul Erdos (1913-1996).  He was author of more than 1416 papers, and his name became associated with a labeling process for mathematicians, an idea called the Erdos Number.  A mathematician who co-authored a paper with Erdos could claim Erdos Number 1.  A mathematician who co-authored with a co-author of Erdos had Erdos Number 2.  And so on.  
     Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya (one of the poets at the 2019 Bridges MathArts  Conference) has written a wonderful poem to celebrate Erdos;  I offer below the central stanza of Bonch-Osmolovskaya's poem; the complete poem is available here.

from:   Paul Erdos     by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

          he inhaled and exhaled mathematics   

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Poetry and Science

     Originally from Scotland, Alice Major is a celebrated Canadian poet whose work often focuses on key ideas in mathematics and science. (Visit her website for lots of links.)  The following lines of Major's verse appear in the Canadian magazine Prairie Fire (offering Major's presentation in the Anne Szumigalski lecture series entitled "Scansion and Science"); they are taken from Major's latest collection, Welcome to the Anthropocene."  Enjoy this sample, then follow the links and read much more:

 . . . poetry by Alice Major . . .

Also from Welcome to the Anthropocene, Major's poem  "Zero divided by zero" is available at this link here in my blog "Intersections -- Poetry with Mathematics" -- and a blog-search leads to lots more of her work.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A visual poem -- Decision tree

From Norwegian math-poet Mike Naylor, this fascinating visual poem. 
(Thanks, Mike -- from JoAnne Growney -- for permission to post.)

Naylor presented this poem at the 2019 BRIDGES Math-Art conference
More information about the poets and poems for the 2019 BRIDGES Poetry reading is available here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Recursion . . . in a life . . . in a poem . . .

     The New Yorker offers a rich variety of poetry and in their print issue of 22 July 2019 they give a poem that I love:  "Sentence" -- by Tadeusz Dabroswski  (translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones) plays with two meanings of the word "sentence" and also embodies the concept of recursion -- so important in mathematics.  Below I offer the opening lines; at this link may be found the entire poem (both a print version and an audio recording).

Sentence     by Tadeusz Dąbrowski

It’s as if you’d woken in a locked cell and found
in your pocket a slip of paper, and on it a single sentence
in a language you don’t know.   

Monday, July 29, 2019

What is beauty? Is mathematics beautiful?

     My thoughts have been turned to the beauty of mathematics by stumbling onto a very fine article, "Beauty Bare: The Sonnet Form, Geometry and Aesthetics," by Matthew Chiasson and Janine Rogers -- published in 2009 in the Journal of Literature and Science and available online here.
      The article opens with this quote from A Mathematician's Apology (see p. 14) by G. H. Hardy:       Beauty is the first test:  there is no permanent place 
                                                   in the world for ugly mathematics.

Today I'm puzzling over what "beauty" means . . .   

Thursday, July 25, 2019

As in mathematics--a lot in a few words--in Haiku

     Recently on a visit to the website Singapore Math I found dozens of "mathematical" Haiku -- and I offer several below.   Still more Haiku may be found at "The Republic of Mathematics" (a blog curated by Gary E. Davis), including a link to Haiku by Daniel Mathews.
     Haiku are three-line poems that often -- but not always -- conform to a 5-7-5 syllable count.  With their brevity they often resemble mathematics in that they have condensed a large amount of meainng into a few words.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mathematicians are not just white dudes . . .

     Recently I found the wonderfully informative website arbitrarily close: musings on math and teaching -- my first visit to the site was to this 2016 posting about "The Mathematician's Project" -- a project and posting that offers lots of resources and links to introduce us to female mathematicians, black mathematicians, and more . . . 
     The following lines are from a puzzle-poem by mathematician-poet Benjamin Banneker -- a non-white dude; the sample has been obtained from a website that celebrates Banneker -- a website compiled by Washington, DC high school teacher John Mahoney.  These lines come from Puzzle 5:

A snip from a puzzle by Benjamin Banneker

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Math-Poetry -- Linz, Austria -- 07/19/2019

     On Friday, July 19, 2-4 PM at the 2019 Bridges Math-Arts Conference in Linz, Austria will be a Reading of Mathematical Poetry that features these poets:

Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya 
     Susan Gerofsky
          Emily Grosholz 
               Lisa Lajeunesse 
                    Marco Lucchesi 
                         Iggy McGovern 
                               Mike Naylor and
                                   Eveline Pye 
reading mathy selections from their work.

And here is a sample of the stanzas you will enjoy at the reading -- from "First Test" by Marco Lucchesi, translated from the Portuguese by Renato Rezende:  

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

An Ode to Mathematics

     One of the math-poets that I have met through this blog is Foteck Ivota, a mathematics teacher in the Cameroon.  In an email message, Ivota has offered this point of view:
       I love poetry too so much and I believe poetry  can be used as a means of making students love and develop interest in mathematics. As teachers of this beautiful subject we face a lot of challenges to make students perceive maths as easy and down to earth.   
     Ivota also has shared several poems with me; here is one of them:

      An Ode to Mathematics     by Foteck Ivota

       Your merits, maths, many may miss
       And in ignorance may dismiss
       Marvelous Maths that is life,
       Believing that all is strife.

            Chorus:
                 Maths for you and Maths for me,
                 Maths, Maths and Maths for all,
                 Maths, Maths for everything.    

Monday, July 15, 2019

Mother-daughter geometry -- in poetry . . .

     Last week (July 9) was the birthday of my mother -- and, although her body lies in a grave, her spirit continues to dance (and to both inform and confuse me).  Recently published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (January 2019 issue) this poem by Jenny Patton -- a creative writing teacher at Ohio State University and a wellness coach -- has been provoking my memories. 

       Geometry of Night     by Jenny Patton

       In three-dimensional Euclidean space,

       lines in a plane that do not meet are parallel.

       My beautiful aunt loved to sleep, blogs

       my insomniac cousin about my mother
       who went to her parallel life every night.

       Those studying Playfair’s axiom note the

       constant distance between parallel lines. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Euler's Vision -- in Verse

      Scheduled to be read at the Mathematical Association of Victoria's annual conference in December of this year is a poetical choral piece for eight voices entitled "Euler's Vision" -- composed by Tom Petsinis -- a Melbourne writer (poet, playwright, and novelist) and mathematician.  Here are the opening lines:
From "Euler's Vision" by Tom Petsinis

Monday, July 8, 2019

Visual Poetry -- Newton's Third Law

     One of the long-term and talented producers and advocates of mathematical visual poetry is Kaz Maslanka; his long-term mathematical-poetry blog is found here.  Maslanka is a featured participant in The Film and Video Poetry Society's 2019 program.  On Saturday, August 3, in Pasadena, CA, Maslanka will offer a presentation entitled "Mathematics and Digital Art."  In addition, work by Maslanka on display (July 11 - August 3) at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.  Kaz has sent me this photo of one of his featured (backlit) images:

Newton's Third Law in Karmic Warfare
by Kazmier Maslanka

Digital painting displayed as a Duratrans

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fighting the heat -- with limericks!

     Brief poems with strict patterns -- like the FIB and the LIMERICK -- are often used to convey mathy messages.  Recently this limerick caught my eye (found at madkane.com).

       Heated Limerick     by Madeleine Begun Kane

       One-hundred degrees? I may swoon.
       Yes, I’m singing a very hot tune.
       And I’m down in the mouth
       Cuz this isn’t the south,
       But Bayside, New York — early June.

At her long-standing and encyclopedic website, madkane.com, Kane offers lots more limericks -- and instructions for writing a limerick --  and also math-humor.  

     A wonderful source of math-humor and limericks is Ben Orlin's site, "Math with Bad Drawings."  Here is a sample:

A limerick for mathematicians -- by Ben Orlin

This next clever limerick -- originally first posted in this blog back in March 2010,  has been attributed to Leigh Mercer:  

A clever computational limerick -- by Leigh Mercer

To find limericks previously posted in this blog, use the SEARCH box in the right-hand column OR follow this link.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Out of Nothing -- A Strange New Universe

     Shashi Thutupalli is a scientist -- in Bangalore, India -- who enjoys poetry and often explores the connections between poetry and mathematics.   He has shared with me several samples of his work and I offer below the opening page (of three) of Thutupalli's poem, "Out of Nothing I Have Created a Strange New Universe."  (The full poem, together with artwork, is available in Visual Verse -- at this link.)

Page 1 of 3  -- the entire poem is found here at VisualVerse.org.

Also in Visual Verse is Thutupalli's "Dimensional Reduction' -- at this link

Monday, June 24, 2019

Counting to seventy . . .

    I am exited by last week's news that Oklahoma poet-- and member of the Muskogee Nation -- Joy Harjo has been appointed Poet Laureate of the United States.  Harjo came to poetry via music and she sees in poetry a way of making connections and building understanding.  
     Struggling through complexity to understanding is a similarity between poetry and mathematics. Beyond that basic connection, however, Harjo's poetry is not closely linked to mathematics.  EXCEPT:  One of her poems (found online at PoetryFoundation.org) follows a strict syllable count.  In a birthday tribute to a friend who has turned seventy, Harjo has produced a seventy-line poem in which the syllable counts proceed as 1, 2, 3, 4, . . . , 69, 70. (In the terminology of OULIPO, Harjo has produced a growth-only snowball.)   Here are the opening lines of Harjo's poem:

from Becoming Seventy     by Joy Harjo
                    Knoxville, December 27, 2016, for Marilyn Kallet’s 70th birthday.
                    This poem was constructed to carry any memory you want to hold close.
     We
     arrived
     when the days
     grew legs of night.  

Friday, June 21, 2019

Connecting with BRIDGES . . .

     Bridges Math-Arts Conferences have become an annual summer tradition and this year's conference is July 16-20 in Linz, Austria.  One of the participants in this year's Mathematical Poetry Program is University of British Columbia Professor Susan Gerofsky -- and I offer her "Desert Poem" below.  Gerofsky's poem was constructed using a permutation pattern called PH4 (from bell-ringing) and an explanation follows the poem.

               Desert Poem     by Susan Gerofsky

               Wings over dry land
               Over wings, land dry
               Over land, wings dry
               Land over dry wings
               Land dry over wings
               Dry land wings over
               Dry wings land over
               Wings dry over land --
               Wings over dry land.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Love, marriage, and number . . .

     Australian poet Richard Scutter has online collection of his own poems (this link leads to a chronological listing) and of favorite poems (go to this link and scroll down) by himself and others.  Here are samples:

        Marriage Mathematics

        each one bending
        to a heavenly plus
        couple greater value
                   1 + 1 = 3 + ...      

         ... and serious if a series starts
        but the minus of hell
        when one leaves  
                   2 – 1 = 0                          

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Solve a puzzle -- find a poem!

     At Canada's Capilano University, Lisa Lajeunesse teaches in mathematics in the School of STEM -- and is an enthusiastic promoter of links between mathematics and the arts.  At the 2018 Bridges Math-Arts Conference she presented this paper on "Poetry Puzzles"; a sample puzzle is offered below.
                              Place 2 or 4 or 1 or 3
                              in each cell that is free.
                              When you finish each number should show
                              once in each column and once in each row.
                                                  When you've filled in each cell --
                                                  all the numbers are there --
                                                  you can then read the poem
                                                  from your solved square.   

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sailboat Mathematics

     Celebrated on June 2 at the Joaquin Miller Poetry Series Washington DC's Rock Creek Nature Center, poetry by winners of the  Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition, sponsored by The Word Works, Inc.  One of these winners, Julien Berman, is a student at Georgetown Day School and a prize winning writer and accomplished violinist AND a member of the GDS Math team.
     Here is Julien's winning poem:

Sailboat Mathematics     by Julien Berman

A stretched canvas tarp
Not ungainly in style, but again not cut in a perfect polygon.
A wooden beam or two
Slung upwards and out, at ninety degrees.     

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Have fun with "The Pi Song"

     Often we celebrate the number pi -- ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, an infinite non-repeating decimal that begins with 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 . . ..  Pi is a bridge between day-to-day mathematics that nearly all of us know and mathematics that is complex and difficult. 
     My own celebration of Pi includes these earrings -- but I have friends and former colleagues in the Bloomsburg University Department of Mathematics and Digital Sciences that celebrate Pi in a far more entertaining way -- in song.  Here is a link to the YouTube version of "The Pi Song" with lyrics by Bill Calhoun and Kevin Ferland and performed by "Professor Parody (Kevin Ferland).  Performance credits are found here.  And here is a link to some more details about the song.
Here is a link to a previous posting with more mathy song lyrics by Bill Calhoun.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Celebrating Walt Whitman . . .

     Last Friday -- May 31, 2019 -- was the 200th anniversary of the birth of American poet, Walt Whitman and the website of the Academy of American Poets offers poems by Whitman and background information to enrich our celebration.  Here, from his oft-revised-and-expanded Leaves of Grass (Signet Classics, 1960), is a poem -- "When I heard the learn'd astronomer" -- with mention of mathematics.  (Much of Whitman's work is available online here at Project Gutenberg.)

     WHEN I heard the learn'd astronomer
     When the proofs, the figures, were ranged before me,
     When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, 
               and measure them,

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Delicious Geometry. . .words from Bertrand Russell

     Sometimes we find that words presented as prose are poetic . . . as these words of British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (1872-1970):

          At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, 
          with my brother as my tutor. This was one 
          of the great events of my life, as dazzling 
          as first love. I had not imagined 
          that there was anything so delicious in the world.

— Bertrand Russell Autobiography: 1872-1914, (Routledge, 2nd Ed. 2000, p. 30).

More thoughtful quotes from Russell may be found here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

2019 Student Math-Poetry -- FREE Poster

MATH-POETRY POSTER!
A GREAT item for a classroom bulletin board!
Late in 2018 Maryland math students were invited to enter a math-poetry contest (go here and scroll down for contest rules) -- the winners were celebrated at the 2019 January Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore and also here in this blog.  A poster of the winning poems is shown below AND is available by request from the American Mathematical Society, email: paoffice AT ams.org.  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Seek . . . and Find

     This blog has more than a thousand posts -- and many have been discovered as the days passed and are not organized by topic.  To explore, simply scroll down and encounter a variety of math-poetic views.  If you visit this post for March 18, 2019 you will find a list of titles and links to all of the previous posts.  If you are seeking a post on a particular topic, perhaps you will want to use the SEARCH feature in the right column of the blog.  For example, if you enter "math women" you get this list of postings. The SEARCH entry term "imaginary" leads to these posts.   Enjoy!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Poetic roots -- square, cube, . . .

     In the 2008 film, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Kumar offers a poem, "Square Root of Three" -- a poem attributed to Dave Feinberg, and Feinberg has this to say about it:
          I wrote it during a high school biology class. A couple guys from my high school went on to write the Harold and Kumar movies, and they modified my poem for their movie. Originally, the poem began "I'm sure that I will never see a poem as lovely as root three," and it ended "when multiplied we stand up tall but when divided we will fall." I don't remember what else changed for the movie.
     In my email correspondence with Feinberg, he offered me a new poem to present here in my blog -- a sequel to the square root poem and a poem offered first here in his blog -- a poem about the CUBE root of three; enjoy:

       The Cube Root Of Three     by Dave Feinberg

       I take the cake, you must agree,
       for I'm a cube root of a three!
       There must be three of me to make
       a product you cannot mistake.   

Thursday, May 16, 2019

If 1718 is a poem title . . .

If 1718 is a poem title, 
the poem should celebrate Marie Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)
author of the first book about both differential and integral calculus.

This post celebrates not only Agnesi (who was born 301 years ago today) but also present-day mathematician and writer Evelyn Lamb who produces lively and informative articles about STEM topics and people.  Go here to read Lamb's article about Agnesi for the Smithsonian Magazine on May 16, 2018 -- celebrating Agnesi's 300th birthday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I'm tired of being a zero vector . ..

there are more       to figures       than ever meets       the eye

     Inexhaustible GOOGLE has led me to a website "The Best Philippine Short Stories" which contains not only stories but also artwork and poems.  Eileen Tupaz, now a central character in Quezon City's White Space Wellness Studio, has given me permission to include samples of her math poems first published by BPSS -- poems written in 2000 when she was a student at Ateneo de Manila University.
Poems by Eileen Tupaz
     soulmates
  
     we are all of us
     nonsingular creatures
     whose identities
     must be affirmed
     before our inverses
     can be found   

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dinner at a Math Conference . . .

     A strong advocates of humanistic mathematics -- supporting links between mathematics and the arts -- is Greg Coxson, both a poetry fan and a Research Engineer in the Department  Electrical and Computer Engineering at the US Naval Academy.  Greg has been, over the years of this blog, a valuable contributor of information about mathy poems and poets.  Recently Greg has turned his hand to some poetry of his own -- and he has sent me this:

Crawfish Dinner at a Computational Theory Conference 
by Greg Coxson
In this drama, the crawfish come off the best
   Offered by our host as a gift of local color,
They look up innocently from their pile,
   Radiant in their trim carmine carapaces.

Next, there are the computational theorists
   Many of them from a more formal continent
Some are my heroes I am seeing up-close now,
   Not from photos at the end of reference sections.   

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What is TIME?

    Recently I have been reflecting on the capacity for multiple meanings -- a feature that strongly links mathematics and poetry; with this similarity in mind, I present a thought-provoking couplet, an epigram from one of my favorite poets, Rabindranath Tagore:

       'I have created the worlds,' proclaims Time.
       'And we have created you,' the clocks chime.

From Rabindranath Tagore: An Anthology, eds. Krishna Dutta, Andrew Robinson (Picador, 1997)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Celebrating math teachers

  This week (May 6-10) is 
   
  US Teacher Appreciation Week 2019  
    
  Celebrate your teachers with poems!  
   
This link leads to lots of previously-posted poems about math teachers.

Here is a sample (remembering my high school math teacher, Laura Church):

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PLAY with math words . . . find a poem

A few days ago -- playing with math words -- I found this.


Here's a link to SEARCH results for this blog's presentations of "visual" poetry
and this link leads to information about the 
 NATIONAL MATHEMATICS FESTIVAL 
in Washington, DC this coming Saturday, May 4.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Al-gorithms . . . conform or suffer?

     Thanks to poet/mathematician Scott Williams who alerted me to this work by "a good poet and friend" Stephen Lewandowski, a retired conservation worker and author of 14 books (for example, One Foot) with another on the way.  Steve says this of his poem:  "SPELL" exists because I fear the misuse of algorithms to standardize people . . ."

A SPELL AGAINST AL-GORITHMS     by Stephen Lewandowski

Named for a man, Abu Ja-far Muhammed ibn Musa,
and the Persian city Khwarizma where he lived
in the year 800, pursuing calculations
arithmetical and al-gebraical.

Begins admirably as
“how to solve a class of problems” and
proceeds through disambiguation to specification by
massaging a mass of data.
If the data are people, then
the massage is called a “census.”  

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Zero plus anything is . . .

     Poet Jane Hirshfield is an award-winning poet, essayist and translator whose work and I admire and enjoy.  In her collections I have found a thoughtful share of poems with links to mathematics -- and links to my previous postings of her work may be found here.  The MATH theme collection at poets.org has led me to another of her poems and I offer its opening stanzas here:

     Zero Plus Anything Is a World      by Jane Hirshfield

     Four less one is three.

     Three less two is one.

     One less three
     is what, is who,
     remains.     

Monday, April 22, 2019

Poems in support of Earth Day

     These words come from an editorial by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post in September of 2018.

          Public awareness
          and pressure are
          the best hope
          for effective
          climate
          action.

This link leads to postings -- and poems -- in this blog related to CLIMATE.
And here is a link to several previous EARTH DAY postings..

 fine source for lots more climate information is the Center for Mathematics and the Environment at the University of Exeter.   Another is 350.org -- which offers 350 poems of 3.5 lines each at this link; these poems came as part of a call for climate action for October 24, 2009.  Alas, it is ten years later and we have not answered the call.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Some of the Magic of THREE

The Universe in Verse -- an Earth-Day celebration of Science and Poetry
A NYC event on April 23 -- learn more here!

     In her brain-pickings website, Maria Popova offers myriad links between science and poetry -- and one of the poems she has, to my delight, reminded me of is "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950).  Here is the first stanza:

 from    Renascence   by Edna St. Vincent Millay

          All I could see from where I stood
          Was three long mountains and a wood;
          I turned and looked another way,
          And saw three islands in a bay.
          So with my eyes I traced the line
          Of the horizon, thin and fine,
          Straight around till I was come
          Back to where I’d started from;
          And all I saw from where I stood
          Was three long mountains and a wood.
              . . .

Millay goes on to speak of flat and wide, of spheres and Infinity . . .. a story related to the poems is available here and the entire poem is found here at PoetryFoundation.org.

Monday, April 15, 2019

If I had a million lives to live . . .

     This posting features Carl Sandburg's "Humdrum," a poem that reflects on "million."  (This poem and others by Sandburg may be found online at poets.org -- at this vast resource-site also is a collection of poems with math-themes.)  For me, Sandburg was the poet who introduced the idea that lines can be poetic without having rhyme.  (This link leads to several of my previous Sandburg-postings.)

       Humdrum     by  Carl Sandburg  (1878-1967)

       If I had a million lives to live
          and a million deaths to die
          in a million humdrum worlds,

       I’d like to change my name
          and have a new house number to go by   

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Poetry with NEGATIVE numbers

     In October of 2018, I was reminded of the significant achievements of poet and playwright, Ntozake Shange (1948-2018) as I read her obituary in the Washington Post.  Shange wrote with daring and with vivid imagery -- and often used numbers very effectively, as in this poem, "With No Immediate Cause."  I present its opening lines; the complete poem may be found here at poemhunter.com.

          With No Immediate Cause     by Ntozake Stange

          every 3 minutes a woman is beaten
          every five minutes a
          woman is raped/every ten minutes
          a lil girl is molested   

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Theorem in Limerick Form

     Going through a pile of saved clippings, I came across an article in the April 2014 issue of Math Horizons that involved humorous restating of mathematical theorems -- one of them, shown below, restated the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic in limerick form.  Enjoy!

           Fundamental Theorem of a Limerick

          Any number you pick, I dare say,
          When factored in any old way,
          Results in some primes,
          Together with times,
          Unique up to order.  Hooray!

Entitled "Bovino-Weierstrass and Other Fractured Theorems," this article by Matt Koetz, Heather A. Lewis, and Mark McKinzie is found online here.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Kingdom of Mathematics

     When I was a mathematics professor at Pennsylvania's Bloomsburg University, one of the colleagues whom I much admired and enjoyed is Reza Noubary.  This mathematician-statistician also writes poetry -- and I have been lucky to have him share it with me.  Here, below, are four of his small poems, "Math Kingdom."

       Math Kingdom     by Reza Noubary

       Mathematics has its own kingdom
       The key to enter it is called wisdom

              Some fear mathematics for its complexity
              Others enjoy it for its truth and explicitly
              For me it is the beauty, elegance and simplicity
              For the world it is the usefulness and necessity     

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"Science Friday" welcomes National Poetry Month

Last week, NPR's program "Science Friday" anticipated National Poetry Month and offered a list of poems with links to science.    One of these is "Algorhyme" by Radia Perlman -- 

                          a pioneer in computer science
                                 and while she worked
                                 her mind gave her a poem . . .

from   Algorhyme    by Radia Perlman

               I think that I shall never see
               A graph more lovely than a tree.
               A tree whose crucial property
               Is loop-free connectivity.
                    .  .  .

Perlman's complete poem is available here.  Another of the poetry suggestions made by Science Friday is "Planetarium" by Adrienne Rich -- a poem that honors astronomer Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) and posted here in this blog.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Celebrate Karen Uhlenbeck, Abel Prize winner

     Celebration is everywhere (including here in The New Yorker ) -- mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has recently won the Abel prize for her revolutionary work: " . . . pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry, and mathematical physics."
     Here (pulled from The New Yorker article also cited above) are some of Uhlenbeck's poetic words about women in mathematics:

       It's really hard for me to describe
          to people who are not somewhat near me in age
       what it was like for women then ... and it was only
          because of the women's movement and books like  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Poetry-Mathematics--at Poets House--March 28

       Tomorrow evening, March 28, 7 PM at Poets House in NYC, Emily Grosholz, poet and philosopher of mathematics, will discuss her new book, Great Circles: The Transits of Mathematics and Poetry, (Springer, 2018).  Her book thoughtfully links the way poets use mathematical entities and mathematicians use poetic “figures of thought.”  To illustrate, here are the opening stanzas of Grozholz's poem "Holding Pattern" -- a villanelle that she offers in her consideration (Chapter 7) of periodicity and symmetry. 

from  Holding Pattern     by Emily Rolfe Grosholz

        We can't remember half of what we know. 
        They hug each other and then turn away.
        One thinks in silence, never let me go.

        The sky above the airport glints with snow
        That melts beneath the laws it must obey.
        We can't remember half of what we know.  
                 .  .  .

For the complete poem, go to Chapter 7 pages 115-116 of Great Circles or to Grosholz's collection, The Stars of Earth (Word Galaxy, 2017).

From a Greek Nobelist . . .

     Poet Odysseus Elytis (1911-1996) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979.  At some time I purchased a copy of The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis (translated by Jeffrey Carson and Nicos Sarris, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998) and recently, during a reorganization of my bookshelves, have picked it up again.  His poetry is not easy for me to read but I have been drawn to explore the collection, Marie Nephele, which Carson's introduction tells us was more than fifteen years in the writing.  It is "arranged in three sections of twice seven poems with an introductory and closing poem and two intermediary songs ... ."  Half of the poems are in the voice of a youthful Maria and half in the voice of the poet, "the Antiphonist."  
     Throughout his verse, Elytis is not shy about using mathematical terminology.  Some samples: 

From "The Song of Maria Nepele":

       SUPERSTITION BROUGHT TO A MATHEMATICAL CLARITY WOULD HELP US PERCEIVE THE DEEPER STRUCTURE OF THE WORLD.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Give HER your support

  
                     In school, many
                     gifted math girls.
                     Later, so few
                     famed math women!

Thank you to Math Horizons (edited by Dave Richeson) for recent publication of "Give HER Your Support" -- a collection of syllable-square stanzas (one of which is given above) that focus on math-women.  Online access to the article is available here -- and this link leads to a PDF of the article that I have downloaded and made available from my website.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How to Triumph Like a Girl -- Learn to Swagger!!!

     A recent article in the Washington Post cited the discrimination faced by women in economics.  In response, I can't resist offering Ada Limon's poem, "How to Triumph Like a Girl" -- its mathematical connections include a defiant spirit and two numbers.   Let us begin to win!

How to Triumph Like a Girl     by Ada Limón

I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up! . . .

Read the rest here to Poets.org.