Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Dangerous Surprises of Exponential Growth

      In 1968, while I was in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma, the journal Science published "The Tragedy of the Commons" by Garrett Hardin.  Hardin's article describes a situation in which shared resources are overused and exploited -- leading to depletion of resources for the future.  In recent years there has been much criticism of Hardin's essay (and criticism of Hardin) -- but for me it served as a wake-up call to concerns about the environment.  With environmental difficulties growing exponentially -- and with many of us not fully aware of the growing rapidity of exponential growth, I have posed to students this problem:

An 8x8 syllable-square

We may be close to the end before we realize it . . .

Monday, August 29, 2022

Mathematics -- not isolated STARS but COMMUNITY

     In his 1940 book-length essay, A Mathematician's Apology, eminent British mathematician G. H Hardy minimizes the importance of those who communicate mathematics to those outside the research community   ... the book's opening paragraph is show below . . . it concludes with "Exposition, criticism, appreciation. is work for second rate minds."

The complete essay is available online here

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Remembering Life on the Farm

      I grew up on a farm in western Pennsylvania -- and I think that farm life (at least as my father practiced it) was a strong introduction to mathematics.  Counting, calculating, predicting -- and, most of all, problem-solving -- prepared me for studies and for a complex world.  Today is the anniversary of my parents' marriage -- on August 24, 1939 -- and an important occasion for looking back!

     Last weekend I visited the farm (Meadow Lane Farm, now a golf course) and my rememberings drew me to this years-ago poem (previously posted here)

"Things to Count On" was included in my chapbook collection, My Dance is Mathematics  -- now out of print but available online here.   AND here is link to the results of a blog search for farm.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Celebrate poet Rita Dove

      In the KIDSPOST section of this morning's Washington Post I learned that next Sunday, August 28, is the birthday of poet Rita Dove (b. 1952) and Saturday, August 27 is the birthday of mathematician Giuseppe Peano (1858-1932).  Dove (who served as US Poet Laureate 1993-95) is author of one of my favorite mathy poems -- a poem about the EXCITEMENT of learning mathematics -- and I offer it below: 

from The Yellow House on The Corner (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1980)

     Work by Rita Dove has also appeared in earlier postings in this blog.  This link leads to the results of a blog-search using her name.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

HER Math Story

    Her Math Story” is a platform of three women mathematicians (Julia Kroos, Tamara Grossmann and Joana Grah) who want to empower young women through “stories and blog entries to pursue studies and careers in maths, spark their curiosity and transmit enthusiasm for technical subjects”, as described on their website.  The first outcome of their collaboration with “Her Math Story” (HMS) is this interview with Professor Shanti Venetiaan

I learned the information above from the European Women in Mathematics – The Netherlands (EWM-NL) website where I also found this poetic quote by mathematician Marta Pieropan:

          Proving a theorem gives me the same satisfaction
          as laying the last tile of a jigsaw puzzle
          that finally reveals the whole picture
          and highlights the relations
          between the various parts.          

Find some time . . . visit the EWM website . . . read . . . and reflect!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Do more to fight injustice!

     In this 5 x 3 syllable-rectangle we have an important and poetic reminder from Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968); let us remember and act on his words:

                  is a threat
                  to justice

 I have a dream . . .

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics -- latest issue

     Every six months a wonderful treasure appears in my email-box -- an announcement, with links, to the latest issue of the Journal of Humanistic MathematicsHere is a link to the Table of Contents for this latest (July 2022) issue.

     Gathered and edited by Mark Huber (Claremont McKenna College) and Gizem Karaali (Pomona College) this open access journal contains a variety of articles and fiction and poetry.  With topics such as "Math in the Time of COVID" and "A Report about a Speaker Series Connecting Mathematics and Religion," the journal offers both depth and variety as its contents explore the humanistic aspects of mathematics.  Following more than twenty articles, we come to these poems:

Monday, August 8, 2022

BRIDGES Conference 2022 -- Math-Poetry

      A couple of months ago (here in my June 8 posting) I offered a link to information about poetry to be offered at the 2022 Bridges Math-Arts Conference -- held last week in Finland.  This link leads to a series of YouTube recordings of Bridges mathy poems and this link (at the website of organizer Sarah Glaz) offers written information about Bridges poets as well as sample poems.  Visit, read and listen, learn, enjoy!

     One of my poems that is included on the Bridges poetry site is entitled "Three-fold Asylum" -- a poem that explores various roles of the number three.  I offer it below:

     Three-fold Asylum     by JoAnne Growney

     Third door left on level three, my room
     holds steel furniture—its items three:
     double platform bed (for dreamless sleep),

     square corner desk with three-castered chair
     that spins, loops, and glides from the barred door
     to the dark window that sees nowhere.