Monday, November 30, 2015

Sustainability needs the arts AND mathematics . . .

The following poem is by Erica Jolly -- an Australian poet and retired teacher who is working hard to have the arts and the sciences integrated in Australian schools curricula.  “For too long, since the 1950s, we have witnessed serious losses across disciplines as science and mathematics have been deliberately separated from the arts and humanities,” Ms Jolly says.

"What has sustainability got to do with mathematics?"    by Erica Jolly

An exclamation attacking interdisciplinary themes in the national curriculum 
by Christopher Pyne on Q & A, 28 October 2013.

Does he not know or care
humankind must measure? 

Does he not know or care
PhDs in applied mathematics

are measuring ground water levels
recording changes over time?

Does he not know or care
artesian reserves are crucial?

Does he not know or care
we measure temperature each day

to check the impact of heat
on wind or rain on flood or fire?

Does he not know or care
why we measure soil quality?

Will this Minister of Education
ever open his mind to connections?

Christopher Pyne was sworn in as the Australian Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
 on 21 September 2015. He was the Minister for Education and Training up 
until September 2015. He continues his role as the Leader of the House.
     In addition to her recent poetry collection, Making a Stand (Wakefield Press, 2015) from which this poem is taken, Erica Jolly powerfully advocates cross-disciplinary studies in her collection of essays (including a variety of poems), Challenging the Divide:  Approaches to Science and Poetry (Lythrum Press, 2010).
      A fine little collection of 20 poems of science and mathematics (including one by Jolly), Holding Patterns (physics and engineering poems), is available online here.

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