Monday, February 29, 2016

The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance

     Audre Lorde (1934-1992)  is one of my favorite poets; links to my previous postings of her work in this blog are given below.  Here is the opening poem from one of Lorde's collections, The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance.

     Smelling the Wind       by Audre Lorde

     Rushing headlong
     into new silence
     your face
     dips on my horizon
     the name
     of a cherished dream  

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Links to Favorites

     According to Google, these posts are the top ten favorites of visitors to this blog in the six years since my first posting in March, 2010.  Perhaps you will want to visit one of them.  Or use the SEARCH box to find something favorite of your own.   I invite your comments.  Which posts do you especially like?

Varieties of triangles -- by Guillevic     Oct 13, 2010
               "Mathematical" Limericks     Mar 29, 2010
          Primes and a paradox   Aug 14, 2015
               Theorem-proof / Cut-up / poems   Nov 11, 2010
                     A Fractal Poem   Dec 28, 2014 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Newton, Einstein, Gravity, Poetry

     Recent discovery of gravitational waves has put Einstein (1878-1955) -- and even Newton (1643-1727) -- into recent news, and a visit to one of my favorite reference collections, James R. Newman's four-volume collection, The World of Mathematics, finds those two giants celebrated in verse:

Introductory quotes for Section 21 ("The New Law of Gravitation and the Old Law" by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington) of Part V (on page 1073 of Volume Two) of James R. Newman's The World of Mathematics.

     Here are links to information about the poets named above:  Lord Byron (1788-1824)Alexander Pope (1688-1744), and Sir John Collings Squire (1884-1958) -- and these links lead to previous blog postings that feature The World of MathematicsMarch 22, 2011 and August 2, 2011.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Euler formula poem

     Sometimes I try to write a poem that explains a mathematical concept -- it's a difficult task  My effort usually results in something that sounds more like a textbook paragraph than a poem.  And I was thereby hugely delighted (following a lead from Colm Mulcahy) to discover this poem by Grant Sanderson that has fun with a famous mathematical formula due to Euler:

eiπ + 1 = 0     or, stated differently      eiπ = -1

Euler Formula    by Grant Sanderson 

start with e,
raise to π
with an i,
we've been taught
by a lot
that you've got
minus one.

Monday, February 15, 2016

How Old Is the Rose-Red City?

     Most of Martin Gardner's fans are avid puzzler's -- my connection with him is also one of admiration (he was a thoughtful person who was a master at making connections among disparate things) but we are connected via poetry, including topics such as counting all possible rhyme schemes for a given stanza and the constraint-based poetry of OULIPO . . ..
     Gardner (1914-2010) was not a poet -- although he penned a quatrain or two, his great contribution was collecting and publicizing parodies and puzzle-verses by others.  Here is a link to Gardner's collection of poetic parodies, and here is a link to many of Gardner's puzzles, including the stanza below, "How Old is the Rose-Red City?" 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Visit JHM for Mathy Poems

     Today I'd like to direct you to the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, an online open-access journal that features poetry in each issue.  The Table of Contents for the first issue of 2016 is now available here -- and I offer below a poem from Issue 1 of 2015(Before sharing the poem "Prisoner's Dilemma" by Raymond Greenwell I want also to mention that JHM is looking for investigative journalists and that today's "Poem of the Day" at is "Evolution" by Linda Bierds and inspired by the work of Alan Turing.)
     I am particularly intrigued by Greenwell's poem because the Prisoner's Dilemma is a decision model close to my concerns about the environment. (More comments below.)

       Prisoner's Dilemma     by Raymond N. Greenwell

       Your best choice is my demise.
       My wise choice is your defeat.    

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Using a Fano plane to create a poem

     South Dakota mathematician Daniel May enjoys finding connections between his discipline and other arts -- and herein we consider a constraint-structure for poetry that he has developed using a Fano plane.  In brief, a Fano plane (shown in the diagram below) consists of 7 points and 7 lines (the three sides of the triangle, the three altitudes of the triangle, and the circle) -- with each line containing 3 of the points

Fano Plane Diagram

May creates a poem by associating a word with each point of the Fano plane and then creates a three-line stanza for each line of the diagram.  Here is a template for the poem "adore" -- and the poem itself is offered below the diagram: 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Visiting the Australian Poetry Library

     An Australian poet (Erica Jolly) whom I have met through this blog has helped me to learn about the great variety of poetry and related activities that are available on her continent  -- and today I want to link you to the Australian Poetry Library and to offer a mathy poem by Peter Goldsworthy that I enjoyed there.

     1     by Peter Goldsworthy 

       Arithmetic divides 
       and rules the world,
       freezing the flow
       in single frames,
       colourising each
       by numbers.