Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Perfect Number

     One of the the things I love to find in a poem is the surprise of a double meaning -- especially involving a mathematical term such as "group" or "zero" or "identity."  The following poem of mine aims to offer that surprise -- as it celebrates actor-inventor Hedy Lamarr while playing with the meanings of "perfect."

Looking for Mathematics in Hedy Lamarr   by JoAnne Growney

All my six husbands married me for different reasons.
                               ---Hedy Lamarr

Perhaps Hedy Lamarr married so often because six
is a perfect number – the sum of all its proper
divisors, “proper” meaning “less than six,”
“divisor” meaning “a counting number
that divides and leaves
no remainder.”

After a perfect number of husbands, there is no
remainder. Six is the smallest perfect
number, the next is twenty-eight.
And twenty-eight
is too many
husbands.

Today I head to the 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore
including a Poetry Reading Friday, January 18, 7 PM
 -- hope to see you there!

2 comments:

  1. Really like this. When you don't list an author it's one of yours?

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  2. Thanks, John, for noticing my omission -- Yes, it's my poem and I posted it in a hurry as I got ready to come to Baltimore for the Joint Mathematics Meetings.

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