Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Celebrate Black Mathematicians

     In January, at the National Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston, the National Association of  Mathematicians gave this year's Lifetime Achievement Award to Scott Williams, one of the organization's founders back in 1969.  NAM is  nonprofit professional organization in the mathematical sciences with membership open to all interested persons who support promoting excellence in the mathematical sciences for all Americans and promoting the mathematical development of all underrepresented American minorities, especially African Americans. (Learn more about NAM at this link.)

     My connection with Scott Williams began at a program at the headquarters of the MAA (Mathematical Association of America) in Washington, DC and it has continued because of the interest we share in poetry as well as mathematics.  Scott's Facebook postings often include poems -- and work by him is included in the latest issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics --  about which I posted last week (at this link). 

Here is a link to previous postings in this blog that included work by Scott Williams.

Dr Williams' fascinating home page is found here.

And, this link offers connections to previous postings that celebrate Black History Month.

Williams also has created the website Mathematicians of the African Diaspora. 

Here, from Oddball Magazine, are the opening lines of one of his mathy poems.  

From  EIGHT LEOS      by Scott Williams

           When my first daughter
        was born July 27,
        my father planted a tree
        and said, “Study Pope Leo VIII.”

        A planet-struck astrologer wrote
        “Rachael has eight Leos in her chart
        like Leo VIII, Antipope for a year.”

        I understood the pine tree
        standing now at 45 years
        not the eight Leos
        nor the Pope from a no-church father.

        Leo VIII was Antipope 963 to 964.
        and good Pope 964 to till 969 death.
        A Cancer with eight Leos in his chart.   . . .   

Williams' complete poem "EIGHT LEOS" may be found here.

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