Thursday, July 7, 2022

Poetry and the Fields Medal

     It has been exciting to learn that a woman -- Maryna Viazovska of Ukraine -- has won a Fields Medal (often called "the Nobel prize of mathematics"); Viazovska is one of four persons who have been recognized (announced on June 5) for her outstanding contributions to mathematics.  Fields medals were first awarded in 1936 and are awarded every four years to up to four mathematicians under the age of forty.  The only other female mathematician who has received this award was Maryam Mirzakhani in 2014.

One of my syllable-squares

     Also of much interest to me concerning this year's Fields Medal winners is that one of them, June Huh, was in high school interested in becoming a poet -- and dropped out of school to pursue that goal.  Later, however, in his university years, Huh began to see his future in mathematics.

      My online search did not find any of Huh's poems and so I celebrate his math-poetry connection with a poem found in the mathy anthology Against Infinity.

      Poet as Mathematician     by Lillian Morrison

          Having perceived the connexions, he seeks
          the proof, the clean revelation in its

          simplest form, never doubting that somewhere
          waiting in the chaos, is the unique

          elegance, the precise, airy structure,
          defined, swift-lined, and indestructible.

     AND . . . when your time permits, visit Quanta Magazine  where articles about Maryna Viazovska and June Huh share lots and lots of facts about these fascinating creative people.

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