Saturday, July 25, 2015

Math and Poetry and Climate

Canadian poet Madhur Anand is also an Environmental Scientist; her love of nature and concerns for preserving a habitable climate pervade her work -- and she also scatters throughout it some mathematics.  You can imagine my delight when I found in her new collection (A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes) a poem (included below) that features the identity matrix.  Read on!

No Two Things Can Be More Equal    by Madhur Anand

In undergrad I learned about the identity 
matrix. Ones on the main diagonal and zeros 
elsewhere. Anything multiplied by it is itself. 

Then later, to love that way, and the definition
of Buddhist from a Tibetan girl across from me
and two bowls of steaming breakfast noodles in Lhasa.

If you are happy, I am happy. Fairly simple.
If you are happy, I am happy. Although was I?

Accountants would count and distribute joy if they could. 
But it’s simpler. Two lines of one length, parallel.

From A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes.  Copyright © 2015 Madhur Anand.  Published by McClelland & Stewart, a division of Random House of Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Related to Madhur Anand's work,  here is a link to a visual poem by Gary Barwin posted on Facebook -- a poem written in response to Anand's scientific work on climate change and beetles.

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