Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Filling my coffee cup . . .

      When I am asked to give a poetry workshop that includes people who have not written poetry, I find that asking them to concentrate on syllable-counts per line helps them to lose their apprehension about finding suitable words.  And here is a silly sample that illustrates that notion.

A syllable-snowball, growing layer by layer!

Filling my new coffee cup

     My
     coffee
     cup begins
     half full – I add
     more --  one-quarter-cup   
     to make three-fourths, one-eighth
     to reach seven-eighths, next add     
     one-sixteenth, and so on, never
     overflowing  --   almost, almost full.           

A syllable-snowball is a poem built from a sequence of lines whose whose syllable-counts increase (or decrease) by one from line to line.  Here is a link to the results of a blog-search that offers additional examples of snowballs. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

In the Space of Certain Dimensions

Browsing at Poets.org I found this fascinating poem by Anne Tardos and she has give me permission to post it here.

     NINE, 40     by Anne Tardos

     Take a good look, she says about her inventory.
     Palatially housed, her inflammatory and multifaceted
          set of selves.
     Old brain inside the new brain, inside the skull.
     The exact velocity of quantum particles cannot be known.
     Like wave equations in the space of certain dimensions.
     I never thought that things would go this far.
     Angular momentum of closely-knit and sexually
         adventurous people.
     Any piece of matter, when heated, starts to glow.
     It’s that kind of relationship that’s built on friction.

The poem "NINE, 40" is included in Tardos' collection NINE (BlazeVOX Books, 2015).

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Mathematician, astronomer, poet -- and female

 An amazing woman -- Wang Zhenyi!

     In this article in April Magazine, we can learn of her achievements:     Born in 1768 in a family with educated scholars and lots of books, Wang Zhenyi transcended the barriers for female education and became an astronomer and mathematician, and one of the greatest scientists in Chinese history.   She applied her calculations skills to celestial movement and also to books that made calculations simple for beginners.  Her short life ended at age 29.

     Beyond her scientific achievements, Wang Zhenyi also was a poet; in their profiles of this outstanding scientist (There's a crater on Venus named for her!) both April Magazine and Wikipedia give sample stanzas;  here is one:

    It’s made to believe,
    Women are the same as Men;
    Are you not convinced,
    Daughters can also be heroic?

And here, in The Folding Chair is still more about Wang Zhenyi (and about other women "who weren't given a seat at the table.")

Monday, February 15, 2021

Measure the Skies

     Born around 1753, Phillis Wheatley was the first enslaved black poet in America to publish a book.  Here is a stanza from her poem, "On Imagination" -- found here at Poets.org.

           Imagination! who can sing thy force?
     Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
     Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
     Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,
     We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
     And leave the rolling universe behind:
     From star to star the mental optics rove,
     Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
     There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
     Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.
       . . .

Wheatley's poem “On Imagination” was published in Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral (A. Bell, 1773).  Born in West Africa, at the age of eight Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped, enslaved in New England, and sold to John Wheatley of Boston.  More about the short life (1753-1784) and achievements of this amazing person is available here at poets.org and here is a link to several more of her poems.

In poetry, as in mathematics, we celebrate Imagination!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Valentine Haiku

     Since 2011 February has been National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo); serious celebration of this event requires writing a Haiku each day;  for this year's Valentine's Day, I offer a mathy Covid-Valentine Haiku. 

LOVE has 4 letters --
2 for my hands, 2 for yours.
We wave, keep distant.

For the NaHaiWriMo blog, go here.

Find lots of MATHY VALENTINES by following this link
                                                         to the results of a blog SEARCH using the term "Valentine"
.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Math-Poetry Essay -- in the Time of Corona

     Springer Publishing is developing an e-book, Mathematics in the Time of Corona, an online collection of various reactions to the pandemic – due for release sometime in May 2021.  One of the chapters to be included is by me, “Counting Syllables, Shaping Poems:  Reflections”  and this 4-page essay of mine will be available for free online reading (and download) until the end of March at this link:  Counting Syllables, Shaping Poems: Reflections | SpringerLink.

Pandemic   (Haiku)

Exponential growth:
small numbers doubling quickly—
a world upended!

To explore other postings of Haiku in this blog, click on this link.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics -- new issue

      Recently released, Issue 1 of Volume 11 (2021) of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics;  in it Editors Mark Huber and Gizem Karaali have collected for us  a wonderful selection of articles -- including a work of fiction, a folder of teaching limericks, and the following very fine (and mathy) poems:

"Early Morning Mathematics Classes"     by Angelina Schenck

       "Proof Theory"      by Stan Raatz

"One Straight Line Addresses Another Traveling in the Same Direction 
     on an Infinite Plane
"       by Daniel W. Galef

       "Turing's Machine"      by Mike Curtis 

"Iterations of Emptying"      by Marian Christie 

Go here to JHM Volume 11 to explore, to enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Poetry from a Math Professor in China

 Does our language shape our thoughts?

Professor Ya Shi – a pen name meaning “mute stone” – teaches university-level mathematics in his home province of Sichuan, China, AND he is also an award-winning poet; recently published is Floral Mutter (Zephyr Press, 2018) a bilingual collection that includes the poems in their original Chinese along translation of Ya Shi's work by by Nick Admussen, poet and Asian Studies professor at Cornell University.  Admussen's preface gives us background information about Ya Shi.  Here is his very fine "Sorrow Poem":

Sorrow Poem     by Ya Shi  (translated by Nick Admussen)

Today, on a day in May, a shattering noise. 
At the lakeside, the green mint asks me to sit and practice forgetting.

At the university where the golden snub-nosed monkey took a position,
everywhere the noise of chains, the noise of alphabet-letters.
  

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Celebrate Black History with Poetry

     In February now, Black History Month, I look back to one of my favorite poets, Langston Hughes (1902-1967) and bring to you, again, one of his mathy poems: 

      Addition     by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

     7 x 7 + love =
     An amount
     Infinitely above:
     7 x 7 − love.

 Hughes' poem "Addition" is found in Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters/CRC Press, 2008) and was first posted in this blog on February 20, 2011.

This link leads to results of a blog SEARCH for previous postings for "Black History Month."

Monday, February 1, 2021

What will the groundhog predict?

     Having grown up in western Pennsylvania, not far from Punxsutawney, I have long been interested in Groundhog Day -- on February 2, a legendary groundhog emerges from its burrow and predicts whether the current year will have an early spring.  This year I celebrate with a Fib, a stanza whose syllable counts follow the Fibonacci numbers:

       Will
       the 
       groundhog --
       tomorrow --
       see its shadow, doom
       us to six more weeks of winter?

Here is a link to a SEARCH list of previous blog postings for Groundhog Day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, January 27, is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Looking for mathy poems to connect to this theme I found this posting at jstheater.blogspot.com with lines by 1966 Nobelist Nelly Sachs (1891-1970) and Paul Celan (1920-1970).  Here is a sample of what is found there:

from Nelly Sachs, 

       The crooked line of suffering
       stumbling along the godfired
       geometry of the universe . . .

              from Paul Celan, "Draft of a Landscape,"

                    Circular graves, below.  In
                    four-beat time the year's pace on
                    the steep steps around them . . .

Read more at jstheater.blogspot.com. 

Let us remember . . . and resolve never to let such happen again . . .

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Fruits of Undefinitions

     The poem "Undefined Terms" by poet-mathematician Katharine O'Brien (1901-1986) is a favorite of mine from long ago that I re-found recently here . . . for greatest enjoyment, read it aloud.

Undefined Terms     by Katharine O'Brien

A point is a point, a line is a line,
   a rose is a rose is a rose.
We thus undefine in the manner of Stein
   some terms in unrhyme and unprose.  

On these as foundation we lay definitions,
   the girders for walls and a roof.
We assume some conditions to fit requisitions
   and build us a logical proof.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Inauguration Day Poem

 Read by Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman,
an inspiring Biden-inauguration poem, "The Hill We Climb."

" . . . we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us,
                                               but to what stands before us . . ."

" . . . we will never again sow division . . ."

 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr

       Today as a nation we remember and pay tribute to Rev.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) -- Baptist minster, Civil Rights leader -- a brave man who was assassinated for his fearless and humanitarian views.  

Here are a few of his words.
 
          We must accept
          finite disappointment
          but never lose
          infinite hope.  
                                               Freedom is never
                                               voluntarily given
                                               by the oppressor;
                                               it must be demanded
                                               by the oppressed.

This link leads to previous posts in this blog that celebrate this hero

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Bridges Math-Arts Conference 2021


Learn more here:  http://bridgesmathart.org/ 

Since 2009, interested contributors from mathematics and various arts -- poetry, music, theater, visual art . . . -- have gathered at an annual Bridges conference to celebrate and deepen math-art connections.  Due to Covid-19 the 2020 conference was virtual but so far, with hope, the 2021 conference is planned as an in-person conference in Finland.  Connecticut mathematician Sarah Glaz has been active in coordinating poetry events for the conference and here is a link to her announcement of the poetry program at Bridges 2021 -- including links to biographical sketches and poems by each participating poet.  My own poem therein honors mathematician Emmy Noether.

Here is a link to several postings in this blog that celebrate math women.


Monday, January 11, 2021

Number Personalities . . .

      Sometimes our experiences with objects or ideas leads us to assign them personalities -- a notion illustrated in the poem "Zero," by Sue Owen, a poem that lives on my shelf in the anthology Verse and Universe:  Poems about Science and Mathematics, edited by Kurt Brown (Milkweed Editions, 1998), and offered below.

Zero     by Sue Owen

       This is the story of zero,
       born to live a life
       of emptiness, only
       child of plus and minus.

       Its bones invisible
       so it could be seen through
       like an eye.
       With that vision, you could      

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Poetic Mathy Quotes

      In India, National Mathematics Day is celebrated each year on December 22 -- the birthday of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920).  A couple of weeks ago, as this day was celebrated in India, a list of quotes about mathematics included the following:

Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas -- Albert Einstein

An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God -- Srinivasa Ramanujan

Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers — Shakuntala Devi

Some mathematician, I believe, has said that true pleasure lies not in the discovery of truth, but in the search for it -- Tolstoy

Math is fun. It teaches you life and death information like when you’re cold, you should go to a corner since it’s 90 degrees there  — Anonymous

Previous mentions of Ramanujan in this blog can be found at this link.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Numbers and Faces, a math-poetry anthology

 Celebrating the NEW year with a collection of OLD favorites!

      Twenty years ago in 2001, supported by a grant from EXXONMOBIL, the Humanistic Mathematics Network published:

 NUMBERS AND FACES
A Collection of Poems with Mathematical Imagery

This collection of 24 poems (which I edited) is out of print but is available here (as a pdf).  A screenshot of the Table of Contents appears below:

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Doomsday Rule

     My recently posted mention of Tristian Bangert's poem about John Horton Conway (1937-2020) sent me looking through my files for materials related to Conway's visit to Pennsylvania's Bloomsburg University in 1993.  During that visit, Conway entertained students with his explanation of the Doomsday Rule -- for calculating the day-of-the-week that corresponds to a particular date -- and I tried to capture his message (a lengthy one) in the following stanzas:

On What Day of the Week Were You Born?   

by JoAnne Growney

These lines were inspired by John H. Conway's presentation, "Calendar Calisthenics and Calculations," at Bloomsburg University on January 26, 1993.

A man that I met
named Conway, said "Why?"
should the hard be hard
when the hard can be easy
with just a bit of effort.    

Monday, December 28, 2020

Geometry Personalities

 When a triangle talks to a square, what does she say?

Among my favorites of mathy poems are poems by Guillevic (1907-1997) -- in which the poet gives personalities to mathematical objects -- and many of these are available in Geometries, Englished by Richard Sieburth, Ugly Duckling Presse Ltd., Brooklyn, NY; 2010.

Here, from the August, 1970 issue of Poetry Magazine is Guillevic's "Parallels" -- one of four of his poems translated from French by Teo Savory and  published there.

Searching this blog for previous connections to work by Guillevic 
leads to this link to a list of posts.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Counting Syllables for Christmas

     As I look ahead toward Christmas, I shape my thoughts into words with syllable-counts that match the Fibonacci numbers.

Holiday musing from JoAnne Growney

STAY SAFE!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Admiring John Conway with stories of numbers

     Recently I was contacted by Thomas Barr, Director of Programs at the American Mathematical Society who told me of poetry written by a student from Flagstaff, AZ; Tristian Bangert of Coconino Community College has written about the discovery by John Horton Conway (1937-2020) of the surreal numbers -- and I offer part of his poem below; contact information for the poet is offered at the end of this post:

from Conway     by Tristian Bangert

     There once was a man
     Who knew naught but numbers
     Joined by their presence
     The numbers, wondering
     "Where has your kind been? 
     Have you not wondered who was here before you?"  

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Proofs in Poems -- the Sylow Theorems

     One of my valuable resources during this year 2020 has been the AMS PAGE A DAY CALENDAR by Evelyn Lamb -- published by the American Mathematical Society.
     Today, December 16, Lamb's calendar celebrates a collection of poems by British software engineer Patrick Stevens -- verses that together offer poetic proof of the Sylow theorems about the subgroups of a finite group.
     Here is a link to Stevens' collection of  "Slightly silly Sylow pseudo-sonnets" and these are the opening lines:

        Suppose we have a finite group called G.
        This group has size m times a power of p.
        We choose m to have coprimality:
        the power of p's the biggest we can see.
       . . .

Monday, December 14, 2020

Solving problems -- crimes and mathematics

     In childhood I loved novels that featured the girl-detective, Nancy Drew, and in adulthood I have continued to enjoy crime-solving fiction -- and have supposed that this is connected to my love of mathematics.  Recent news of the death of spy novelist John Le Carre (1931--December 12, 2020)  has stimulated my thinking about problem solvers and has led to this Fib:

        We 
        seek --  
        and find --
        truth that hides 
        in common views of  
        available information.

As you may already know, a "Fib" is a 6-line poem whose syllable counts match the first six Fibonacci numbers:  1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8.  This link leads to additional Fibonacci-poetry connections.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

How should a professor groom for math class?

     One of the rewards of many new endeavors is making new friends -- and one of the special connections I have made through math-poetry endeavors is Gregory Coxson, an engineering professor at the US Naval Academy.  Greg has frequently alerted me to new mathy poems and, this fall, he sent me an interesting poem that he had written, a thoughtful comment on looking beyond appearances to what is more important. 

My PDE Professor    by Gregory Coxson

He sometimes wore those marine corps sweaters
  The ones in army green, that look the best
On more triangular figures than his.
  And then those ridiculous epaulets
How did his wife let him out of the house?    

Monday, December 7, 2020

Gatherings of a retired teacher . . .

David Pleacher is a retired mathematics teacher who has maintained a math page on the Internet since 1998 -- and one of his rich and varied collections of resources includes mathy poems and songs, some by him and some by other authors.  Here are two samples:

by David Pleacher, found here

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Celebrate Math Women . . . Write about them!!

     This message is a follow-up to a posting made on October 12 -- an announcement of the Student Essay Contest sponsored by the Association for Women in Mathematics and (as I have newly learned today) Math for America.

     Students in three categories -- middle school, high school, and undergraduate -- are invited to interview a math-woman and to write and submit a biographical essay that celebrates that woman.  The submission period for essays opened yesterday (12/1/2020) and continues until February 1, 2021.  Full details are available at this link.

  

For more, here is a link to the results of a blog search using "women" and "mathematics".

Friday, November 27, 2020

November is Native American Heritage Month

      Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is Native American Heritage Day -- a November event that was proclaimed in 2009 by President Obama and is part of Native American Indian Heritage Month (established in 1990 by President Bush.)  The disregard with which native Americans have been treated over many years has created huge wounds that will take long to heal.  Both mathematics and poetry can help to support justice and truth!  At present, the US Poet Laureate is Joy Harjo of the Muskogee Nation -- and Harjo is active in using the educational and healing powers of poetry.   Here is a link to some lines from Harjo's "Becoming Seventy" -- posted in this blog back in 2019.

     The website Poets.org helps us to celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a collection of poetic resources found at this link.  One of the poems offered -- which makes effective use of numbers in describing difficult situations -- is "Housing Conditions of One Hundred Fifty Chippewa Families" by Kimberly Blaeser.  I offer a few lines of that poem below -- followed by a link to the entire poem. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Gather in Poems

 Gather in Poems -- a sort of Thanksgiving

     Last evening I attended a lovely virtual reading, "Gather in Poems," sponsored by the Academy of American Poets (advertised on Facebook) and moderated by  US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.  One of the readers was a student poet -- high school junior Ethan Wang -- who shared a science-inspired poem by Rosebud Ben-Oni entitled "So They Say--They Finally Nailed--the Proton's Size--& Hope--Dies."  Here are a few lines from the poem -- and the entire poem may be found here.

. . .    I don’t believe hope dies
         just because old measurements got it
         wrong & there are no secret lives
         between protons & muons
         that cause the former to change
         in size,
         silencing all the music
         that drives us
         toward mystery
         rather than discovery.       . . .

One of the delightful--and free--services of the Academy of American Poets is free email delivery of "A Poem a Day."  Sign up here at https://poets.org.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Happy Fibonacci Day!

        Today, November 23 is Fibonacci Day . . . How are you celebrating?  Twitter poet Brian Bilston (@Brian_Bilston) has posted a Fibonacci poem -- with words-per-line counted by the Fibonacci numbers.  Here are its opening lines:

       I
       wrote
       a poem
       in a tweet
       but then each line grew
       to the word sum of the previous two
       until . . .

Use of the Fibonacci numbers in poetry has gotten frequent mention in this blog; here is a link to the results of a blog SEARCH using the term Fibonacci.  And find the rest of Brian's poem here on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Shaping POETRY with GEOMETRY

Syllable-count constraints help me to think carefully about word choices as I construct a poem.  Here are square and triangular stanzas that came into my head recently while I was jogging.

In addition, when working with students,  I often find that they explore their ideas most easily when I suggest that they follow syllable-counting constraints.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Poetry and Mathematics -- opening doors . . .

Since 1998 The Bridges Organization has been offering conferences that publicize and celebrate links connecting mathematics and the arts.  Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 conference was virtual -- but papers submitted to the conference are available online here.

One of the 2020 titles that has especially interested me is "Poetry in the Lesson of Mathematics" by Natalija Budinski and Zsolt Lavicza, available at this link.  The article describes a case study on how poetry can be used as a teaching tool in math classes -- helping students to understand complex mathematical concepts by writing about them using guidelines from poetry.

Links to additional Bridges articles by Budinski and by Lavicza are available via SEARCH here in the Bridges Archives.  And some of my earlier suggestions about using poetry in math classes are found in this posting.

In closing, a stanza from a long-ago poem of mine, "A Taste of Mathematics":

          She said, "A hot pepper
          is like mathematics--
          with strong flavor
          that takes over
          whatever
          it enters.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Venn Diagrams

      During these days of classifying people and points of view, my thoughts turn again and again to Venn Diagrams and I am then reminded of a thoughtful poem about math in grade-school days (by Pennsylvania poet and professor Marjorie Maddox) that I first read long ago -- and I offer it here:  

Learn about Venn Diagrams here

Venn Diagrams     

          by Marjorie Maddox   

There, stuck in that class,
chalking circles on a board 
       so high your toes ached,
an inch of sock exposed,
all for the sake of subsets,
        intersection.
That teacher with the tie too bright for day,
wide as your fingers spread  

Monday, November 9, 2020

Special Days for Mathematics

Today is the birthday of black mathematician, astronomer, almanac-writer and puzzle-maker Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) -- and some of his puzzles were poems:  this link leads to this blog's previous postings of his work.

This week (November 9-14) is  2020 Maths Week in England.  Learn more, via an introductory video, here.

During these Covid-19 days of isolation I am particularly aware of distances that separate me from those I love . ..  and the numbers that keep track of it all.  Here are opening lines from the poem "Distances" by Peter Meinke that reflect on the changeable meanings of numbers. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Varieties of SQUARE poems

     When writing a poem on a topic about which I feel strongly, I often like to use constraints -- such as patterns of syllable-counts or rhymes -- to help me to process my ideas carefully.   A recent post by mathematician-poet Marian Christie does a delightful job of showing how the square can be used to shape very fine poems.  Here is a link to Christie's post, "Mathematical forms in poetry:  Square poems" -- a posting which includes examples of acrostic poems and grid poems, palindromes, Latin squares and visual poetry.

     Below I offer one of Christie's own poems, "Earth Geometry" -- a poem that involves the square and the cube in its structure and thereby relates to ancient theories of matter and to a more current belief that the cube is a basic structure of the earth. (View Christie's full explanation here.)

Monday, November 2, 2020

Voting is on the calendar!

Poetry often surprises us by using familiar words in new ways -- and such is also the case with this cryptarithmetic puzzle -- offered by Evelyn Lamb in her AMS page-a-day calendar for tomorrow, Election Day.

               VOTES
           + VOTES
            CHANGE

In this puzzle (which Lamb credits to Manan Shah at mathmisery.com) each letter represents a base ten digit, no letter represents more than one digit at a time and no digit can be paired with more than one letter.  There are no leading zeroes; there are two solutions.  While you are waiting for results from the November 3 US election, this puzzle can help you pass the time in a way that's FUN!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Seeking wisdom in mathematical Haiku

 During these difficult pre-election coronavirus days I have been turning to poetry, and especially favoring -- for their brevity -- Haiku.  The January 2018 issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics offers a folder "Math in Seventeen Syllables:  A Folder of Mathematical Haiku" -- with more than thirty poets sharing poetic insights using this ancient form.  Here is one, by Laura Kline, that spoke to me today:

          Peaceful living and
          Nicely balanced equations
          How we long for both

For more mathy Haiku, follow this link to the results of a blog-search using "Haiku".

Monday, October 26, 2020

Math Songs by Tom Lehrer -- Political, etc.

      All of the songs of musician and math-teacher and nonagenarian Tom Lehrer are now in the public domain (at this link).  His mathy item, "The Derivative Song," was included here in an early post in this blog.  Today I have particularly enjoyed his "Political Action Song" which begins with these words:

     Now when it comes to anything political,
     We're int'rested, we're militant, we're critical.
     Though it's not quite evident
     Who we represent,
     We take stands and issue statements by the score.
     Ev'ry candidate, we know,
     Though he won't admit it's so,
     Would give anything to be the one we're for, we're for,
     Would give anything to be the one we're for.     .  .  .    

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Spirit of Delight . . .

        The true spirit of delight, the exaltation,

        the sense of being more than man,

        which is the touchstone of the highest excellence,

        is to be found in mathematics as surely as in poetry.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Monday, October 19, 2020

2020 Nobel Laureates -- Mathematics and Poetry

     Both mathematics and poetry are languages for conveying complex ideas . . . for example, Oxford mathematical physicist Roger Penrose uses mathematics to study black holes and as a foundation for his notion that the universe as we know it is not unique but one in a series of universes.  Recently the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded award one-half of  the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 to Roger Penrose for the discovery that "black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity."

     The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to US Poet Louise Glück.  In 2003 Glück was selected US Poet Laureate of the US and she has twelve published poetry collections in addition to lots of online offerings.  An interesting complement to her poetry is her 1994 collection of essays, Proofs and Theories;  Essays on Poetry   In her opening essay, "Education of the Poet" (available online here) she makes this statement that relates well to mathematics:

  "I loved those poems that seemed so small on the page
but that swelled in the mind; . . ."

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Celebrating Ada Lovelace

     Today, 13 October 2020, is  Ada Lovelace Day -- celebrated each year on the second Tuesday of October and an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Born to a famous father, poet Lord Byron -- and first known as Augusta Ada Byron (1815-1852), Countess of Lovelace — this talented woman became far better known as "Ada Lovelace" (1815-1852).  Lovelace worked on an early mechanical computer, "the Analytical Engine" -- and, because of her recognition of the varied applications of this machine, she is often regarded to be one of the first computer programmers.

Here is a link to a poem, "Bird, Moon, Engine" by Jo Pitkin that celebrates Ada Lovelace (with opening stanzas offered below) and this link leads to some of Lovelace's own poetic wordsAt this link are the results of a blog search using "Ada Lovelace" that leads to the aforementioned works and lots of other poems about math women.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Brilliant Math-Women -- Share the News!

     Recently (10/10/2020), NPR had an interview with former teachers of Louisville shooting victim Breonna Taylor  -- an interview that celebrated her love of and talent for mathematics.  Read about it here.  I write to applaud this celebration AND to encourage increased recognition of math-women while they are alive.

A wonderful way to celebrate math-women is the annual essay contest sponsored by the Association for Women in Mathematics -- open to students from middle school to college; contest information is available here.  Interviews may be conducted now; essay submission begins December 1.

A repeat from this posting back in 2010
Here is a link to a list of previous posts involving "women" and "mathematics".