Wednesday, August 30, 2023

A Nine-Sided Diamond

   One of my much-appreciated math-poetry connections is with Scott W. Williams, a Professor of Mathematics at SUNY Buffalo and author of many scholarly papers and many poems.  In a recent issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (JHM) I found (and valued reading) his "Impossible Haiku" -- a series of Haiku-stanzas that play with the Collatz Conjecture -- an unproven belief that for any starting number these two steps, performed in appropriate succession, eventually reach the number 1:

   If the number is odd, multiply by 3 and add 1; if the number is even, divide it by 2. 

Williams' "Impossible Haiku" may be found at this link.      Another mathy poem by Williams (found here at his website) that I especially value is the one that I offer below -- a poem dedicated to his mother.


Dedicated to my mother's career as a Civic and Political Leader, Mathematician, Musician, and Educator, especially in Continuing Education

I've often longed to see my mother in the doorway ...
sitting at the table, reading the book, playing the piano.

I've often longed to see my mother in the doorway ...
of my kitchen, my home, the classroom, the office.

I've often longed to see my mother in the doorway ...
And I can, for she is in my mind,
400 miles away,
a nine-sided diamond
with a nine-sided life
facing her way
a new way
shining the old.

This link leads to previous mentions of Williams and his work in this blog.

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