When seeking to draft a poem quickly, it is useful to have some sort of pattern to follow -- a pattern helping to dictate word choice. This morning, upon discovering Google's online celebration of the 101st birthday of inventor and actress Hedy Lamarr, I have wanted to join the commemoration with a poem. A verse pattern rather often used by hasty math writers is the limerick (see links below) -- and I have today constructed this pair of limericks to praise Lamarr.
May a beautiful actress present
Skills beyond stage and screen content?
Yes! Hedy Lamarr
Excelled as a star,
And had also talent to invent!
Her ideas were at first classified,
But their value could not be denied--
This skilled creator
Had designs that later
Emerged and were widely applied.
Lamarr and a colleague, George Antheil, applied for a patent for their frequency-hopping technology (later called spread-spectrum) in 1941 -- and the idea finally went public in 1976, thirty-five years later. Information about Hedy Lamarr's inventions is available online here -- and, in more detail, in a fine new book by Rachel Swaby, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science -- and the World (Broadway Books, 2015).
Lots of limerick-examples are available on the internet -- including a PDF of limericks by Marion Cohen about math-women and a varied collection collected by math teacher Terry Trotter (1941-2004).