Friday, March 4, 2011

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics -- V1, Issue 1

A new door has opened for those of us interested in the humanistic aspects of mathematics.  Under the able leadership of editors Mark Huber (Claremont McKenna College) and Gizem Karaali (Pomona College), the idea of the former Humanistic Mathematics Network Journal has been revived and Volume 1 Issue 1 of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics is now available online.  The inaugural issue contains several poems, including the following one by Caleb Emmons, "Seeing Pine Trees,"  in which Emmons characterizes the views of a poet and a mathematician as two halves of one whole. 

Click on the image to enlarge.

Emmons' poem is available at the HMJ link as are poems by Robin Chapman (see January 18 and  February 10 postings) and Philip Holmes.  In addition, an article by James Henle -- "Is (Some) Mathematics Poetry?" -- offers examples of mathematical patterns that Henle proposes as poems.
Here is a synopsis of Henle's article:  
          It  is often said that mathematics resembles poetry.
          We argue that some works of mathematics are in fact poetry.
          We support this with one classic mathematical "poem" and six modern attempts.
          We urge readers to try their hand at this genre.


  1. Charlotte HendersonMarch 6, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    It was a great joy to hear Caleb Emmons read this poem at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January. I am excited about the new journal!

  2. I just want to say a massive thanks to you for your work on this blog and the links you have posted/discussed. I'm studying for a Masters in Education and an undertaking a unit in Creative Teaching and Learning. As an English teacher, I had the idea of linking Maths with poetry and got very excited about it. Then I found out that (obviously!) it's been thought of before. After hours of trawling through dull, unintelligible articles that had no inspiration within them - nor were they inspiring themselves - I began to doubt my idea as being worthwhile exploring. Then I found your blog. It is truly amazing and I've now got many seeds of ideas to use in my English classroom. Better still, thanks to you, I've got some (interesting!) research and theories to back up my ideas within my unit presentation. Once again, a huge, heartfelt thank you. Emma

  3. Thanks, Emma, for your comments. I look forward to more discussion with you of your ideas.