Thursday, November 16, 2017

Memorization and formulae

    A website I enjoy visiting is Ben Ordin's MathWithBadDrawings.com.  At every mathy website I visit,  it is my habit to do a search for "poetry" (just as on a poetry site I search for "math"). At MathWithBadDrawings I found this poetry sample concerning whether it is important to memorize particular basics:

       Monday we memorize
       That way we know
       Tuesday through Friday
       We think and we Grow

And, accompanied by a drawing, here are the first two of five stanza for a poem about the quadratic formula:     

Monday, November 13, 2017

Logic and Poetry -- from Lewis Carroll

     Australian poet Erica Jolly has alerted me to Lapham's Quarterly -- a magazine, both print and digital, that offers the view that history is the root of all education.  In particular, Jolly directed me to Lapham's presentation of "Sense and Nonsense:  Babies cannot manage crocodiles" by Lewis Carroll.  One of the Lewis Carroll logic puzzles presented therein relates to poetry -- and so I offer it here:

   1. No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste;
   2. No modern poetry is free from affectation;
   3. All your poems are on the subject of soap bubbles;
   4. No affected poetry is popular among people of real taste;
   5. No ancient poem is on the subject of soap bubbles.
Answer:  All your poems are uninteresting.

     That the Answer/Conclusion follows using the rules of logic requires some calculations which the interested reader is invited to pursue.  A solution (and additional puzzles) may be found here.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stop saying GIRLS can't do MATH

     Found at Poets.org, this poem by Brenda Cárdenas that, like too many others portrays a girl in a can't do-math situation.  Another aspect of the poem, however, is its Spanish-language descriptions of Hispanic contributions to mathematics.  And, despite my protest, I find this a lovely poem and worth sharing.

     Calculations     by Brenda Cárdenas

     “I don’t know what to tell you.
     Your daughter doesn’t understand
     math. Numbers trouble her, leave
     her stuck on ground zero.”

                                    Y fueron los mayas
                                    quienes imaginaron el cero,
                                    un signo para nada, para todo,
                                    en sus gran calculaciones.

                     Is zero the velvet swoop into dream,
                     the loop into plumes of our breath?    

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mathematics -- vital imagery in SO MANY poems . . .

     Mathematics not only governs the structure of many poems -- of sonnets and pantoums and villanelles and more -- but mathematical imagery is an increasingly vital ingredient of the content.  Australian poet and STEAM advocate Erica Jolly has recently alerted me to the most recent issue (Volume 83) of the online journal Cordite Poetry Review  -- the theme of this issue: its opening essay, its 60 poems --  is mathematicsFollow this link to Cordite and explore.
     An important resource for anyone seeking poetry-with-mathematics is the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics -- an online journal in which each biannual issue contains a varied selection of poems.  Here is a link to the July 2017 issue for you to explore.
     The humanistic side of mathematics has been explored for many years by the online British journal plus -- available here.  Perhaps you'd like to read an article on "the mathematics of kindness" or survey their articles, videos and podcasts about math-women or read a math-poetry book review -- all this and so much more at plus.
AND, when your time permits, browse here in my blog -- 
with more than 900 postings, much variety is offered.  
Scroll down OR use the SEARCH box.  Explore!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Probability and astonishment

     A small poem by Lia Purpura in the January 29, 2015 issue of The New Yorker delights even as it highlights the errors that many of us make in supposing that coincidences -- such as meeting some home town friend in a distant vacation spot -- are rare rather than probable.  

       Probability     by Lia Purpura

       Most coincidences are not
       miraculous, but way more
       common than we think--
       it's the shiver
       of noticing being
       central in a sequence 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Browse previous posts -- October 2017 and prior

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