Monday, May 8, 2023

Celebrate Hypatia

     Consilience is an online journal (edited by Sam Illingworth) that explores "the spaces where the sciences and the arts meet" -- and in the recent Issue 12 I have found a very special poem by British science writer Isabel Thomas that celebrates the pioneering math-woman, Hypatia of Alexandria (died 415 AD), one of the first women whose study and teaching of mathematics, astronomy and philosophy has been documented.  I offer several stanzas of "Rimae Hypatia" -- followed by a link to the complete poem.  

     Rimae Hypatia       by Isabel Thomas

                   The Rimae Hypatia is a lunar fissure named for Hypatia.

          In the greatest library of the ancient world
          turned her mind to 
          algebra, astronomy, geometry,
          examining the world from different angles.    

          While they jumped to conclusions, 
          she used careful calculation 
          to counter prejudice with reason. 

          While they weaponized words, 
          she invented instruments 
          to measure the Moon. 
. . .
          Hypatia knew 
          that all right angles are equal, 
          despaired that all people are not.
 . . . 
          They tried to silence her
. . . 
          But Hypatia can still be heard . . .
. . . 
          a reverberation through mathematics
 . . .

The complete version of Thomas's "Rimae Hypatia" is available here in Consilience.  

Here is a link to previous mentions of Hypatia in this blog.

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