Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PLAY with math words . . . find a poem

A few days ago -- playing with math words -- I found this.


Here's a link to SEARCH results for this blog's presentations of "visual" poetry
and this link leads to information about the 
 NATIONAL MATHEMATICS FESTIVAL 
in Washington, DC this coming Saturday, May 4.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Al-gorithms . . . conform or suffer?

     Thanks to poet/mathematician Scott Williams who alerted me to this work by "a good poet and friend" Stephen Lewandowski, a retired conservation worker and author of 14 books (for example, One Foot) with another on the way.  Steve says this of his poem:  "SPELL" exists because I fear the misuse of algorithms to standardize people . . ."

A SPELL AGAINST AL-GORITHMS     by Stephen Lewandowski

Named for a man, Abu Ja-far Muhammed ibn Musa,
and the Persian city Khwarizma where he lived
in the year 800, pursuing calculations
arithmetical and al-gebraical.

Begins admirably as
“how to solve a class of problems” and
proceeds through disambiguation to specification by
massaging a mass of data.
If the data are people, then
the massage is called a “census.”  

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Zero plus anything is . . .

     Poet Jane Hirshfield is an award-winning poet, essayist and translator whose work and I admire and enjoy.  In her collections I have found a thoughtful share of poems with links to mathematics -- and links to my previous postings of her work may be found here.  The MATH theme collection at poets.org has led me to another of her poems and I offer its opening stanzas here:

     Zero Plus Anything Is a World      by Jane Hirshfield

     Four less one is three.

     Three less two is one.

     One less three
     is what, is who,
     remains.     

Monday, April 22, 2019

Poems in support of Earth Day

     These words come from an editorial by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post in September of 2018.

          Public awareness
          and pressure are
          the best hope
          for effective
          climate
          action.

This link leads to postings -- and poems -- in this blog related to CLIMATE.
And here is a link to several previous EARTH DAY postings..

 fine source for lots more climate information is the Center for Mathematics and the Environment at the University of Exeter.   Another is 350.org -- which offers 350 poems of 3.5 lines each at this link; these poems came as part of a call for climate action for October 24, 2009.  Alas, it is ten years later and we have not answered the call.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Some of the Magic of THREE

The Universe in Verse -- an Earth-Day celebration of Science and Poetry
A NYC event on April 23 -- learn more here!

     In her brain-pickings website, Maria Popova offers myriad links between science and poetry -- and one of the poems she has, to my delight, reminded me of is "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950).  Here is the first stanza:

 from    Renascence   by Edna St. Vincent Millay

          All I could see from where I stood
          Was three long mountains and a wood;
          I turned and looked another way,
          And saw three islands in a bay.
          So with my eyes I traced the line
          Of the horizon, thin and fine,
          Straight around till I was come
          Back to where I’d started from;
          And all I saw from where I stood
          Was three long mountains and a wood.
              . . .

Millay goes on to speak of flat and wide, of spheres and Infinity . . .. a story related to the poems is available here and the entire poem is found here at PoetryFoundation.org.

Monday, April 15, 2019

If I had a million lives to live . . .

     This posting features Carl Sandburg's "Humdrum," a poem that reflects on "million."  (This poem and others by Sandburg may be found online at poets.org -- at this vast resource-site also is a collection of poems with math-themes.)  For me, Sandburg was the poet who introduced the idea that lines can be poetic without having rhyme.  (This link leads to several of my previous Sandburg-postings.)

       Humdrum     by  Carl Sandburg  (1878-1967)

       If I had a million lives to live
          and a million deaths to die
          in a million humdrum worlds,

       I’d like to change my name
          and have a new house number to go by   

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Poetry with NEGATIVE numbers

     In October of 2018, I was reminded of the significant achievements of poet and playwright, Ntozake Shange (1948-2018) as I read her obituary in the Washington Post.  Shange wrote with daring and with vivid imagery -- and often used numbers very effectively, as in this poem, "With No Immediate Cause."  I present its opening lines; the complete poem may be found here at poemhunter.com.

          With No Immediate Cause     by Ntozake Stange

          every 3 minutes a woman is beaten
          every five minutes a
          woman is raped/every ten minutes
          a lil girl is molested   

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Theorem in Limerick Form

     Going through a pile of saved clippings, I came across an article in the April 2014 issue of Math Horizons that involved humorous restating of mathematical theorems -- one of them, shown below, restated the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic in limerick form.  Enjoy!

           Fundamental Theorem of a Limerick

          Any number you pick, I dare say,
          When factored in any old way,
          Results in some primes,
          Together with times,
          Unique up to order.  Hooray!

Entitled "Bovino-Weierstrass and Other Fractured Theorems," this article by Matt Koetz, Heather A. Lewis, and Mark McKinzie is found online here.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Kingdom of Mathematics

     When I was a mathematics professor at Pennsylvania's Bloomsburg University, one of the colleagues whom I much admired and enjoyed is Reza Noubary.  This mathematician-statistician also writes poetry -- and I have been lucky to have him share it with me.  Here, below, are four of his small poems, "Math Kingdom."

       Math Kingdom     by Reza Noubary

       Mathematics has its own kingdom
       The key to enter it is called wisdom

              Some fear mathematics for its complexity
              Others enjoy it for its truth and explicitly
              For me it is the beauty, elegance and simplicity
              For the world it is the usefulness and necessity     

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"Science Friday" welcomes National Poetry Month

Last week, NPR's program "Science Friday" anticipated National Poetry Month and offered a list of poems with links to science.    One of these is "Algorhyme" by Radia Perlman -- 

                          a pioneer in computer science
                                 and while she worked
                                 her mind gave her a poem . . .

from   Algorhyme    by Radia Perlman

               I think that I shall never see
               A graph more lovely than a tree.
               A tree whose crucial property
               Is loop-free connectivity.
                    .  .  .

Perlman's complete poem is available here.  Another of the poetry suggestions made by Science Friday is "Planetarium" by Adrienne Rich -- a poem that honors astronomer Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) and posted here in this blog.