Friday, June 3, 2022

The Mobius Strip -- in a LIMERICK

     Mathematics offers brief, condensed language for many big ideas.  Even for small problems -- such as the word problems of a beginning algebra class -- translation of the words into a mathematical equation offers the chance to express the problem precisely and to solve it using established procedures.    

     And brief mathematical forms also are popular in poetry -- the six-line Fib and the five-line rhyming stanza called a limerick both have wide appeal.  And, because of the brevity, the language must be concise.  At this webpage, maintained by Joachim Verhagen, are lots and lots of mathy limericks.  Here is a sample:

          The Moebius strip is a pain,
          When you cut it again and again,
               But if you should wedge
              A large disk round the edge
          Then you just get a PROjective plane.

This link leads to an interesting article about a Mobius strip made of light (see also the photo below); this link leads to a Wikipedia article about a real projective plane.  And more of Verhagen's Mobius strip limericks may be found here.  

A Mobius strip from this NOVA article

This link leads to a website with instruction for construction and playful activities with a Mobius strip.  To enjoy limericks found in earlier postings in this blog, follow this link.

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