Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Winning Essays about Math Women

      The Association for Women in Mathematics each year sponsors an Essay Contest in which students (junior high, high school, and college) each interview a math-woman and write about it.  Contest winners for this year's contest have been announced and I invite you to go to this link -- to read well-written words about wonderful and inspiring women.

     One of the wonderful math-women in my life was Laura Church -- my teacher during my junior and senior years at Indiana Joint High School (in Indiana, PA) -- and here is a stanza that remembers her.

           Chalk in hand,
           she tosses her book,
           strides across the room,
           excited by trigonometry,
           excited that we,
           restless in our rows,
           caught some of it.
           Flamboyant, silver,
           fearless woman.

       This stanza is from "The Ones I Best Remember" -- the entire poem is found here.         More "girls and math" poems are at this link -- and the curious reader may browse or use this blog's SEARCH feature to find lots more!

Monday, March 28, 2022

A Poet with a Slide Rule

     In 1966 Life Magazine celebrated Danish scholar Piet Hein (1905-1966) in an article (found here, p. 55...) by Jim Hicks entitled "Piet Hein;  Denmark's Scientist-Poet."  The article begins with a story of Hein's proposal of a superellipse as a design for a city plaza and then goes on to share some of Hein's poetic creations -- short, witty poems that he called "grooks".

     This blog has posted grooks in the past (in May, 2010 and in August, 2017) and here are several more to enjoy.

Grooks by Piet Hein


     Solutions to problems
          are easy to find:
     the problem's a great
     What's truly an art
          is to wring from your mind
     a problem to fit
          a solution.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Celebrate Amalie Emmy Noether

 On this date -- March 23, 1883 -- mathematician Emmy Noether was born:

       Emmy Noether's abstract axiomatic view
       changed the face of algebra.
       She helped us think in simple terms
       that flowered in their generality.  

The stanza above is from "My Dance is Mathematics" -- a poem of mine inspired by this bright and fearless mathematician.

Learn lots more about Noether at this link.
And, as we celebrate Noether, I urge more investigation and celebration of women in mathematics.  This link leads to a variety of sources -- and the blog SEARCH feature can be used for lots more.  For example, here are the results of a search for "math woman".

Monday, March 21, 2022

Happy World Poetry Day, 2022

 In the words of Albert Einstein (1879-1955),

"Pure mathematics is,
in its way,
the poetry of logical ideas."

Tuesday, March 15, 2022


     One of the exciting current events here in the Washington, DC area is the #IfThenSheCan Exhibit  -- a monumental exhibit of 120 3-D printed statues celebrating contemporary women innovators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)and features the most statues of real women ever assembled together.   One of the featured women is Minerva Cordero who "applies her expertise in finite Geometries to computer science and artificial intelligence, and works to increase representation of women in STEM.  

"The best gift to a young girl is the belief that she can do anything she sets her mind to do." "She will persevere! Minerva Cordero is a Puerto Rican mathematician and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her research on Finite Geometries has applications to several fields, including computer science and artificial intelligence. She has traveled all over the United States and Europe sharing her research and passion for Mathematics.  (Go HERE for more about Cordero.)  

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Celebrate Pi -- and Poe

     Recently I came across a link I had saved to an article from last June in the Washington Post -- an article that considers Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) and the scope of his influence.  Poe's poem "Sonnet -- To Science" was posted in this blog at this link back in October, 2013 but today, as Pi-Day (3.14) approaches, I am thinking of his poem, "The Raven."  Mathematician Mike Keith has written a version of "The Raven" in Pilish, an arrangement of words whose lengths follow the digits of Pi (when the digit 0 occurs, a 10-letter-word is used);  the complete Pilish version is found at this link.   Here are its opening lines:

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716 . . . .

 My own attempts at Pilish are much more modest and today I quote from a posting in March, 2018:

     Hug a tree, I shout -- hungering to defend trees
                    and every creation . . .

     In San Francisco, the Exploratorium Museum -- which reports that it invented Pi Day to honor not only Pi but also to remember Albert Einstein's Birthday -- will celebrate the holiday with programs that feature John Sims, a mathematical artist (and also someone who has been previously noted in this blog).

Monday, March 7, 2022

International Day of the Woman -- 03-08-2022

 Celebrate Math-Women with Poems

Throughout the history of mathematics, women have often been excluded or ignored.  This is changing.  I offer below some links to poems that herald math-women -- for you to enjoy and to share as we celebrate tomorrow  --  "International Day of the Woman." 

Celebrate Philippa Fawcett.          Celebrate Sophie Germain.

Celebrate Grace Murray Hopper.       Celebrate Katherine Johnson.

Celebrate Sophia Kovalevsky.          Celebrate Ada Lovelace.  

Celebrate Florence Nightingale.          Celebrate Emmy Noether.

And, as your time permits, browse this blog -- or SEARCH -- to find more . . .

Friday, March 4, 2022

Poetry of ideas -- an anagram, a palindrome

      Minnestoa math teacher Ben Orlin's website Math with Bad Drawings is a fun place to visit and Orlin often posts on Twitter -- browsing there recently I found this posting: 

Another frequent Twitter poster is UK-based Anthony Etherin -- a poet who likes to discover where he is led by following constraints; here's a sample:
Here are links to previous postings in this blog that cite Ben Orlin and Anthony Etherin.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

World Book Day, celebrate Bright lady . . .

      Tomorrow, March 3, is WORLD BOOK DAY -- and I use the occasion to pull off the shelf one of my favorites, The Mathematical Magpie; stories, essays, rhymes, anecdotes, epigrams -- diversions (rational or irrational) from the infinite domain of MATHEMATICS, published in 1962 (Simon & Schuster, NY) by Clifton Fadiman (1904-1999).

    Here are two limericks offered by Fadiman -- and written by Manitoba professor A. H. Reginald Butler (1874-1944):        

     There was a young lady named Bright,
     Who traveled much faster than light.
          She started one day
          In the relative way
     And returned on the previous night.

     To her friends said the Bright one in chatter,
     "I have learned something new about matter:
               As my speed was so great
               Much increased was my weight,
     Yet I failed to become any fatter."

This link leads to previous postings in this blog that feature Fadiman.