Thursday, September 20, 2018

A mathy poem for sale . . . in Kenya

     A vernacular poem by Kenyan writer Alexander Nderitu ("Kenya's Shakespeare") -- entitled "Mathabu ma Carey Francis" (in English, "The Mathematics of Carey Francis) -- is being auctioned by the poet for bids starting at a million Kenya shillings (a bit less than $1000 US).  Notable about this auction piece is that the background design on which the poem will appear is the poet's DNA sequence.

The opening stanza of Nderitu's poem 

Wikipedia, this statement about Edward Carey FrancisEdward Carey Francis (13 September 1897 – 27 July 1966) was a British mathematician and Anglican missionary to Kenya, where he became "arguably the most influential educationist in Kenya's modern history."  

     Here, from, is a stanza in English by Alexander Nderitu from "Red Giants, &White Dwarfs:  Our Lovely, Lovely Universe":

        Albert Einstein & Isaac Newton: Two of our best-known scientists.

        Einstein gave us the theory of relativity and let us know that E=MC2

        Cambridge University’s Isaac Newton gave us the laws of motion.
        He put the ‘acceleration due to gravity’ at ten metres per second
        Which means that if, for example, you were to fall from a passenger plane
        Then you would hit the ground at a speed of about…er…hold on, 
        this is Physics 101 – where’s that damn calculator? –
        Calculators are like cops – where are they when you need one? 
        Anyway, the point about acceleration is, ‘Don’t fall off a building or a plane! ’

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