Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A FIRST-LOVE in math-poetry -- "Counting Rhymes"

     Still in my head are counting rhymes that I learned in childhood -- an early connection between mathematics and poetry that I think helped me to love both subjects.  Here is a link to a list of more than forty math-rhymes -- and including one that is also in Spanish.
     This rhyme is one that has been useful to me throughout both childhood and adulthood-- as I strive to remember which months have thirty days.

          Thirty days hath September,
          April, June, and November;
          All the rest have thirty-one,
          Excepting February alone,
          Which has twenty-eight in line,
          Till leap-year gives it twenty-nine.

AND, today's issue of the Washington Post has a cartoon by Tom Toles -- about recounting votes after last week's election -- that also involves a counting rhyme:  I offer part of the rhyme below but the visual is critical -- and available here.

          One, two, none for you.
          Three, four, they fell on the floor.
          Five, six, it takes some tricks . . .
          Seven, eight, to make America great.
               . . .
For a few more rhymes, check out this 2013 post, "Nursery Rhyme Mathematics."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rhyming wordplay -- with math terms . . .

     Nineteenth century British poet Arthur Clement Hilton (1851-1877) died young but during his short life he wrote some lively verse.  Here is "Mathematics" -- from his collection The First Green, found here (p.134).

     Mathematics     by Arthur Clement Hilton

     I've really had enough of sums,
        I've done so very many,
     That now instead of doing sum
        I'd rather not do any.

     I've toiled until my fingers are
        With writing out of joint;
     And even now of Decimals
        I cannot see the point.  

Monday, November 5, 2018

Applied Science -- and Art

     Some days there is time to sort through piles of old stuff saved on a shelf -- and this morning's fun-find was a September 1993 issue of Poetry Magazine with this poem, "Applied Science," by Neal Bowers, a poem inspired by sculpture by George Greenamyer.

       Applied Science     by Neal Bowers
                        after George Greenamyer’s "Start to Finish"
       Because three left turns make a right,
       and the way down is the way up,
       the way in the way out,
       but most of all because
       the beginning is the end,

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Puzzle of Time

     Recently I have learned with sadness of the death last February of Romanian-Canadian mathematician Florin Diacu (1959-2018).  Florin also wrote poetry -- and helped to organize seminars in "Creative Writing in Mathematics" at the Banff International Research Station.  I met Diacu when I was privileged to attend these seminars -- and you may find my 2016 posting of his poem "Arnold Diffusion" at this link.  Today I remember him by sharing with readers his poem "Time" -- first published in the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics in 2012 and also available at this link.

       Time     by Florin Diacu

       Time drifts on the sea of illusions.

       Newton’s image of it was a line,
       unbounded and straight, like desire.
       Einstein called it dimension four:
       the lasting partner of space.