Friday, March 29, 2019

Celebrate Karen Uhlenbeck, Abel Prize winner

     Celebration is everywhere (including here in The New Yorker ) -- mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has recently won the Abel prize for her revolutionary work: " . . . pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry, and mathematical physics."
     Here (pulled from The New Yorker article also cited above) are some of Uhlenbeck's poetic words about women in mathematics:

       It's really hard for me to describe
          to people who are not somewhat near me in age
       what it was like for women then ... and it was only
          because of the women's movement and books like  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Poetry-Mathematics--at Poets House--March 28

       Tomorrow evening, March 28, 7 PM at Poets House in NYC, Emily Grosholz, poet and philosopher of mathematics, will discuss her new book, Great Circles: The Transits of Mathematics and Poetry, (Springer, 2018).  Her book thoughtfully links the way poets use mathematical entities and mathematicians use poetic “figures of thought.”  To illustrate, here are the opening stanzas of Grozholz's poem "Holding Pattern" -- a villanelle that she offers in her consideration (Chapter 7) of periodicity and symmetry. 

from  Holding Pattern     by Emily Rolfe Grosholz

        We can't remember half of what we know. 
        They hug each other and then turn away.
        One thinks in silence, never let me go.

        The sky above the airport glints with snow
        That melts beneath the laws it must obey.
        We can't remember half of what we know.  
                 .  .  .

For the complete poem, go to Chapter 7 pages 115-116 of Great Circles or to Grosholz's collection, The Stars of Earth (Word Galaxy, 2017).

From a Greek Nobelist . . .

     Poet Odysseus Elytis (1911-1996) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979.  At some time I purchased a copy of The Collected Poems of Odysseus Elytis (translated by Jeffrey Carson and Nicos Sarris, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998) and recently, during a reorganization of my bookshelves, have picked it up again.  His poetry is not easy for me to read but I have been drawn to explore the collection, Marie Nephele, which Carson's introduction tells us was more than fifteen years in the writing.  It is "arranged in three sections of twice seven poems with an introductory and closing poem and two intermediary songs ... ."  Half of the poems are in the voice of a youthful Maria and half in the voice of the poet, "the Antiphonist."  
     Throughout his verse, Elytis is not shy about using mathematical terminology.  Some samples: 

From "The Song of Maria Nepele":


Monday, March 25, 2019

Give HER your support

                     In school, many
                     gifted math girls.
                     Later, so few
                     famed math women!

Thank you to Math Horizons (edited by Dave Richeson) for recent publication of "Give HER Your Support" -- a collection of syllable-square stanzas (one of which is given above) that focus on math-women.  Online access to the article is available here -- and this link leads to a PDF of the article that I have downloaded and made available from my website.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How to Triumph Like a Girl -- Learn to Swagger!!!

     A recent article in the Washington Post cited the discrimination faced by women in economics.  In response, I can't resist offering Ada Limon's poem, "How to Triumph Like a Girl" -- its mathematical connections include a defiant spirit and two numbers.   Let us begin to win!

How to Triumph Like a Girl     by Ada Limón

I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up! . . .

Read the rest here at

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

An Interview of/by a Mathy Poet

     University of Connecticut mathematician-poet Sarah Glaz has interviewed me on behalf of the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts.  The article Sarah wrote is now available online -- but the online version requires a costly subscription.  I offer instead this link to a pdf file of her "Artist Interview: JoAnne Growney."  The article gives some of my personal and mathematical history -- growing up on a farm, studying mathematics because of a scholarship, loving both poetry and math and eventually finding time to follow both interests and see their connections.  And it includes some poems. I invite you to follow this link and browse a bit!  
Thank you, Sarah!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Celebrate Pi-Day on 3.14

     If you are in the Washington, DC area you are cordially invited to a poetry-math program at The Writer's Center on Thursday evening, March 14, at 7 PM-- come and enjoy exploring connections between POETRY and PI.
This link leads to earlier posts in this blog that celebrate PI.
. . . And, when you can find time . . .
 Say a text, a smart statement, in Pilish! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Celebrate Math-Women with Poems!

March is Women's History Month!
March 8 is International Women's Day!
and here in this blog we celebrate math-women with poems!

Herein appear lots of poems featuring women in math and the SEARCH box in the right-column may help you find them. To find a list of useful search terms, scroll down the right-hand column.   For example, here is a link to a selection of poems found using the pair of search terms "women  equal."   AND, here are links to several poems to get you started:
poem by Brian McCabe about Sophie Germain;
poem by Eavan Boland about Grace Murray Hopper;    
poem by Carol Dorf about Ada Lovelace;
a poem of mine about Sofia Kovalevsky;
poem of mine about Emmy Noether.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Math in 17 Syllables

     Counting syllables is an aspect of poetry that often interests math-people.  -- and when Haiku are composed in English, these three-line poems mostly obey the 5-7-5 syllable counts.  Here is a sample from Melbourne mathematician Daniel Mathews.  Lots more of Mathews' Haiku are found here.

Maths haikus are hard
All the words are much too big
Like homeomorphic.

     During the years of this blog, lots of different entries have celebrated the mathy Haiku -- this link leads to the results of a blog-SEARCH using "Haiku."