Saturday, May 29, 2021

A Mathy Rhyme from Twitter

When I have a bit of extra time, it is fun for me to visit Twitter (my postings may be found as JoAnne Growney @MathyPoems) and to find introductions to lots of interesting topics in math and poetry -- and to lots of brief poems.   Recently I came upon the following post by Algebra Etc. @AlgebraFact.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Rhymer and an Analyst -- a Friendship

     Several recent emails have turned my attention again to Irish mathematician (?and poet?) William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865).  Available online here is Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton by Robert Perceval Graves (Dublin University Press, 1882) -- and here is a link to a posting of a poem by Hamilton published in this blog back in 2011. Graves tells of the friendship between Hamilton and poet William Wordsworth and this link leads to some commentary about their connection.  Here are some of Wordsworth's words:

You send me showers of verses, which I receive with much pleasure, as do we all; yet have we fears that this employment may seduce you from the path of Science, which you seem so destined to tread with so much honour to yourself and profit to others. Again and again I must repeat, that the composition of verse is infinitely more of an art than men are prepared to believe, and absolute success in it depends upon innumerable minutia, which it grieves me you should stoop to acquire a knowledge of.

     Current investigation into the life of Hamilton has suggested that  parts of Graves' work has been misinterpreted and that -- over time --  Hamilton's reputation has undeservedly declined; here is a link to a 2017 article by Anne van Weerden and Steven Wepster, "A most gossiped about genius: Sir William Rowan Hamilton" -- an article that adds new insights into the Hamilton story.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

What does CANCEL mean? -- some poetic wordplay!

      Lawrence "Larry" Lesser is a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at the University of Texas in El Paso and a widely published creator of mathy poems.  Here are the opening stanzas of  a poem that appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics (TEEM), a journal of the NCTM affiliate organization TODOS: Mathematics for ALL

 from     ₵AN
      by Lawrence Mark Lesser

      Cancel is from Latin for ‘make like a lattice’,
      like crisscrossed wood fencing
      in our backyard where we safely
      dine with friends,

      or like COVID-caused crossouts
      on calendars--  
      a cancelled appointment (dis-appointment)
      or music event (dis-concerting).

      Teachers don’t like saying ‘cancel’
      lest students get carried away,
      cancelling sixes of 26/65,  
      which does equal two-fifths 

Friday, May 21, 2021

MoMath Celebrates Limericks!

     New York's Museum of Mathematics celebrated National Limerick Day on May 12 with an online program of contributors reading their mathy limerick stanzas.  I did not learn of the reading in time to apply for participation but here is a sample I might have submitted.

       In baseball the diamonds are square--
            And the ball has the shape of a sphere.
            Nine guys make a team--
       So, two teams make eighteen--
       And fans cheer when plays come in pairs.

     The limericks read at the May 12 MoMath program may be found here  -- and here is a link to the results of a SEARCH in this blog for "limerick."  The sample offered above was posted long ago, back in April 2010.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Reflecting on Pi . . .

     A few months ago I got an email from Adaobi Chiemelu, a Nigerian poet and spoken word artist who studied studied mathematics at the University of Nigeria.  Recently Adaobi has sent me one of their poems -- about division and infinity and pi and . . . 

Dividing Together     by Adaobi Chiemelu

The cake was holy communion
You picked one piece not fatter than your two fingers
You smiled
You watched as the next person went on to do same 
          and put the same in their mouth
You thought of pi     

Monday, May 17, 2021

Keeping Track of Chairs

 The first steps in mathematics . . . COUNTING!

      I grew up on a farm and keeping track by counting happened often -- counting chickens, counting sheep, counting the number of weeks until the early transparent apples will be ripe . . . and when I read Tom Wayman's poem in Poet Lore I found a similar habit of relentless counting.    I have not been able to obtain more than short-term permission for posting -- and so I offer here just a sample and, beneath, a a link to the full poem.

from Fifty Years of Stacking Chairs     by Tom Wayman

     Two of these chairs at a time
     are easily manageable, so back at the empty rows
     I fold three and haul them with both hands
     across the space. Next trip I try
     four: fingers on each hand curved
     under the metal backrests of
     two chairs. Fifty years 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mathematical Forms in Poetry . . .

      During recent days, one of my special enjoyments has been finding time to read Marian Christie's blog -- a delightful collection of poetry and poetic musings with frequent connections to mathematics.  Christie's biographical sketch (available here) indicates that she, like me, grew up enjoying both poetry and math.  She became a math teacher and, after her years of teaching ended, she turned her attention to poetry.  Below I present a sample of her mathy poetry, followed by links to several of her postings.

Today, in a season that is approaching summer, I coolly offer Christie's "Midwinter" poem (found here in her blog)  -- a stanza in which the poet uses Pascal's triangle to pattern her words:

a Pascal-triangle poem -- find it and lots of other mathy poems here.

Here, next, are links to several of Christie's math-poetry blog postings.  ENJOY!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Mathy Jokes

     In a recent search for funny mathy poems I have discovered the collection by G. Patrick Vennebush pictured below as well as a sequel to that edition and a related blog.

Book info available at this link.
Although most of the jokes are not poetic, some are.  Here is a brief sample from the blog:

                 With my head in an oven
                 And my feet on some ice,
                 I’d say that, on average,
                 I feel rather nice!

Read more and enjoy . . .

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Climate Concerns

      Ideas become internalized when we WRITE about them -- and I encourage students AND all of us to write about climate change and efforts to save our planet.  And then to act on our words!   Here are three small syllable-squares, first appearing in a post more than ten years ago and expressing my ongoing concerns for precarious imbalances we have created within our natural environment.

This link leads to several previous posts found using the search terms climate change.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Celebrate Math-Women -- Celebrate AWM

1   This
2   year's the
3   fiftieth
4   birthday of the
5   Association
6   for Women in Mathe-
7   matics.  Join celebrations --
8   hear lectures, game with playing cards,
9   interview, write essays that feature
10  math women you admire.  Speak up -- cheer girls
11  who do well in math class; look back, remember,
12  laud stars of the past  --  support A W M.

 The Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) is a national organization devoted to encouraging women and girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, and to promote equal opportunity and the equal treatment of women and girls in the mathematical sciences.  Founding in 1971 and celebrating math-women with outreach, networks and partnerships, playing cards, essay contest (for students in middle school through college) . . . and so much more.

Explore AWM's Website and their lively WOMEN DO MATH site.