Friday, April 27, 2012

Poetry with Math -- BRIDGES 2012, Limericks

During July 25-29, 2012, Towson University will be hosting BRIDGES 2012, a mathematics-and-the-arts interdisciplinary conference. This year's conference will feature a poetry day on Saturday, July 28. -- an event that is free and open to the public as are all "Family Day" conference activities after 2 PM.  Mark your calendar.  More information is available at the end of this post (scroll down) and at the BRIDGES website.

  This weekend in Washington, DC (April 28 - 29, 2012)
enjoy "the largest celebration of science in the USA" --
featuring more than 3000 exhibits. 

We note here once again the coincidence that comes with April -- when we celebrate both National Poetry Month and Mathematics Awareness Month.  Here are three limericks (bawdy, of course) by John Ciardi (1916-1986) that celebrate data collection and numerical information. 

   I was told by a mathematician
   That the odds against having coition
               With Betty Jo Donne
               are a hundred to one.
   So they are--till you ask her permission.

             On a survey of first dates Prof. Ness
             Asked girls, "Would you care to undress?"
                         He found 8-4-point-6
                         Said, indignantly, "Nix!"
             But that 1-5-point-4 answered "Yes!"

   My professor of sex claimed he knew
   A hundred and one things to do.
               My girlfriend ain't much
               At book-learning, as such,
   But she knows a hundred and two.

These stanzas by John Ciardi are found in Limericks  (Gramercy Books, 1981). 
A posting of Mathematics Awareness Month activities may be found here.  And check out other poetry conversations happening this National Poetry Month at Couplets where poet and blogger Joanne Merriam is featuring a guided tour of a variety of poetry blogs.

Sarah Glaz, University of Connecticut mathematician and poet, is coordinating some of the poetry events at Bridges and offers the following information about Bridges and about Poetry Day.
     Bridges is a non-profit organization founded in 1998 by Reza Sarhangi, professor of mathematics at Towson University, and is dedicated to promoting connections between mathematics and the arts. The organization sponsors an annual conference attracting participants from around the world. These conferences feature scholarly talks, education workshops, and performances in many areas of math-related art. This year's conference will be held at Towson University, July 25-29. The Bridges program includes a number of poetry related talks and workshops, and features a special Poetry Day reading on Saturday, July 28, 5:00 - 7:00 pm. Coordinated by Glaz, this reading features poetry with strong links to mathematics. Participants, in addition to Glaz and me, include Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya, Marion Deutsche Cohen, Emily Grosholz, Philip Holmes, Geof Huth, Alice Major, Kaz Maslanka, and Stephanie Strickland; presentations by the featured readers will be followed by an open reading, with participation available to all Bridges participants. This event is part of an afternoon of math related art activities and workshops, all of which are open to the general public and without chargeAll are welcome!

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