Thursday, May 30, 2019

Delicious Geometry. . .words from Bertrand Russell

     Sometimes we find that words presented as prose are poetic . . . as these words of British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (1872-1970):

          At the age of eleven, I began Euclid, 
          with my brother as my tutor. This was one 
          of the great events of my life, as dazzling 
          as first love. I had not imagined 
          that there was anything so delicious in the world.

— Bertrand Russell Autobiography: 1872-1914, (Routledge, 2nd Ed. 2000, p. 30).

More thoughtful quotes from Russell may be found here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

2019 Student Math-Poetry -- FREE Poster

A GREAT item for a classroom bulletin board!
Late in 2018 Maryland math students were invited to enter a math-poetry contest (go here and scroll down for contest rules) -- the winners were celebrated at the 2019 January Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore and also here in this blog.  A poster of the winning poems is shown below AND is available by request from the American Mathematical Society, email: paoffice AT  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Seek . . . and Find

     This blog has more than a thousand posts -- and many have been discovered as the days passed and are not organized by topic.  To explore, simply scroll down and encounter a variety of math-poetic views.  If you visit this post for March 18, 2019 you will find a list of titles and links to all of the previous posts.  If you are seeking a post on a particular topic, perhaps you will want to use the SEARCH feature in the right column of the blog.  For example, if you enter "math women" you get this list of postings. The SEARCH entry term "imaginary" leads to these posts.   Enjoy!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Poetic roots -- square, cube, . . .

     In the 2008 film, "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Kumar offers a poem, "Square Root of Three" -- a poem attributed to Dave Feinberg, and Feinberg has this to say about it:
          I wrote it during a high school biology class. A couple guys from my high school went on to write the Harold and Kumar movies, and they modified my poem for their movie. Originally, the poem began "I'm sure that I will never see a poem as lovely as root three," and it ended "when multiplied we stand up tall but when divided we will fall." I don't remember what else changed for the movie.
     In my email correspondence with Feinberg, he offered me a new poem to present here in my blog -- a sequel to the square root poem and a poem offered first here in his blog -- a poem about the CUBE root of three; enjoy:

       The Cube Root Of Three     by Dave Feinberg

       I take the cake, you must agree,
       for I'm a cube root of a three!
       There must be three of me to make
       a product you cannot mistake.   

Thursday, May 16, 2019

If 1718 is a poem title . . .

If 1718 is a poem title, 
the poem should celebrate Marie Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)
author of the first book about both differential and integral calculus.

This post celebrates not only Agnesi (who was born 301 years ago today) but also present-day mathematician and writer Evelyn Lamb who produces lively and informative articles about STEM topics and people.  Go here to read Lamb's article about Agnesi for the Smithsonian Magazine on May 16, 2018 -- celebrating Agnesi's 300th birthday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I'm tired of being a zero vector . ..

there are more       to figures       than ever meets       the eye

     Inexhaustible GOOGLE has led me to a website "The Best Philippine Short Stories" which contains not only stories but also artwork and poems.  Eileen Tupaz, now a central character in Quezon City's White Space Wellness Studio, has given me permission to include samples of her math poems first published by BPSS -- poems written in 2000 when she was a student at Ateneo de Manila University.
Poems by Eileen Tupaz
     we are all of us
     nonsingular creatures
     whose identities
     must be affirmed
     before our inverses
     can be found   

Monday, May 13, 2019

Dinner at a Math Conference . . .

     A strong advocates of humanistic mathematics -- supporting links between mathematics and the arts -- is Greg Coxson, both a poetry fan and a Research Engineer in the Department  Electrical and Computer Engineering at the US Naval Academy.  Greg has been, over the years of this blog, a valuable contributor of information about mathy poems and poets.  Recently Greg has turned his hand to some poetry of his own -- and he has sent me this:

Crawfish Dinner at a Computational Theory Conference 
by Greg Coxson
In this drama, the crawfish come off the best
   Offered by our host as a gift of local color,
They look up innocently from their pile,
   Radiant in their trim carmine carapaces.

Next, there are the computational theorists
   Many of them from a more formal continent
Some are my heroes I am seeing up-close now,
   Not from photos at the end of reference sections.   

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What is TIME?

    Recently I have been reflecting on the capacity for multiple meanings -- a feature that strongly links mathematics and poetry; with this similarity in mind, I present a thought-provoking couplet, an epigram from one of my favorite poets, Rabindranath Tagore:

       'I have created the worlds,' proclaims Time.
       'And we have created you,' the clocks chime.

From Rabindranath Tagore: An Anthology, eds. Krishna Dutta, Andrew Robinson (Picador, 1997)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Celebrating math teachers

  This week (May 6-10) is 
  US Teacher Appreciation Week 2019  
  Celebrate your teachers with poems!  
This link leads to lots of previously-posted poems about math teachers.

Here is a sample (remembering my high school math teacher, Laura Church):