Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mathematics and Poetry ARE Similar

        A recent email request sent me looking for a one-page article / quiz I had published in the American Mathematical Monthly in 1992 -- a list of 17 statements (quotations) each with a word missing.   The missing words are either "mathematics" or "poetry" (or a related word).  My claim is that, without using the author's name as a clue, it is difficult to decide which of these arts is intended.  I offer here the first four of the statements and suggest you reflect on missing words and then, if you wish, follow this link to a file with the entire list --   including also the author of each quote and (afterward) a list of the missing words.

_____  is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.   (Mathematics/Poetry)

To think the thinkable -- that is the ____'s aim.   (mathematician/poet)     

All _____ [is] putting the infinite within the finite.   (mathematics/poetry) 

The moving power of _____ invention is not reasoning 
                                                    but imagination.     (Mathematical/Poetic) 

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