Wednesday, December 21, 2022

A Cone with a Sphere on top

      The phrase used as title for this post, "A cone with a sphere on top" -- from a slightly-mathy poem by Katharine O'Brien (1901-1986), "Einstein and the Ice Cream Cone" -- has caused me to visualize a Christmas tree and so, in this holiday season, I offer it to you.  Enjoy!  And Happy Holidays!

     Einstein and the Ice Cream Cone     by Katharine O'Brien

     His first day at Princeton, the legend goes,
     he went for a stroll (in his rumpled clothes).
     He entered a coffee shop --- moment of doubt --
     then climbed on a stool and looked about.
     Beside him, a frosh, likewise strange and alone,
     consoling himself with an ice cream cone.   

     Now Einstein's glee
     was plain to see
     at the sight of the cone with the sphere on top
     (in the hand of a frosh in a sandwich shop)
     and -- oh, incredible --
     completely edible!

     He smiled at the frosh, then the waiter came,
     and Einstein gestured he like the same,
     and they sat there nibbling, suddenly kin,
     with no common language to verbalize in.
     But foreign no longer, no longer alone,
     with the fellowship bond of an ice cream cone.

     O'Brien's poem first appeared in The Mathematics Teacher in 1968.   I found it here.  O'Brien's work has been featured in this blog in earlier posts and two of her poems are included in the collection, Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (A K Peters/CRC Press, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me.

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