Monday, November 27, 2023

A Proof in a Poem . . .

     I was led to this information by a recent (11/23/23) posting by @OxUniMaths on  𝕏 (at

     Mathematicians Germano Cardano and Nicolo Tartaglia  lived in Italy in the 16th century.  When Cardano tried to persuade Tartaglia to tell him the solution method for  to cubic equations, he received a description that he calls a poem. Andrew Wiles discusses this situation in a YouTube video, as part of his talk on the Langlands program.  The posting by @OxUniMaths on  𝕏 offers a brief section of that talk -- and includes this translation (from the original Italian) of Tartaglia's poem:

Tartaglia considers solving a cubic

To the right (above), Wiles has noted a symbolic translation of Tartaglia's words.  In his discussion of the poem, Wiles also notes that back in the 16th century all math was written using words.  

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Write about a MATH-WOMAN -- and WIN!

     Years ago -- when I was the only woman in the Bloomsburg University mathematics department --  I wrote a poem, "My Dance is Mathematics," about the mathematician Emmy Noether -- and it contained the following lines:

               If a woman's dance is mathematics,
               She dances alone.

But things are changing!  Founded in 1971, AWM (Association for Women in Mathematics) has been actively celebrating the lives of female mathematicians  -- and one of AWM's current and far-reaching activities is a STUDENT ESSAY CONTEST for which students -- in middle-school, high-school, and college categories -- are invited to interview a female mathematician and write about her.  The essay-submission period is December 1, 2023 - February 1, 2024.  Questions may be directed to AWM Essay Contest Organizer, Dr. Johanna Franklin ( 

Monday, November 13, 2023

ADDING -- a List Poem

      Via an X (Twitter) posting by poet and blogger Marian Christie (@marian_v_o), I learned about a blog by writer Mike Ferguson entitled Gravy from the Gazebo -- available at this link.  Ferguson has posted a series of mathy list poems -- starting on November 10 with "Adding list poem".  The poem's opening lines are offered below and the complete poem is found at this link

The poem is introduced with these words:   Love a list poem, this is my latest – the kind of content and ideas I would like to introduce to students for writing their own:

Opening lines of a poem by Mike Ferguson -- the rest is here.

Ferguson next offered more lists: "Subtracting list poem" at this link AND "Multiplying list poem" at this link AND "Dividing list poem" at this link.

Read.  Reread.  Share.  Write your poetic response.  Share!

Thursday, November 9, 2023

A Mathy-Poetic Trajectory

      Carol Dorf is a retired math teacher and poet -- and at New Verse News I have discovered one of her recent mathy poems, "TRAJECTORY," posted on 10/09/2023.   I offer its opening lines below.

from   TRAJECTORY     by Carol Dorf

          The problem set gives us: a stone, force, an angle.
          Given this, predict when the stone will hit the ground.
          Outside the book this problem grows more complex
          even if there are no dragons to interfere with the trajectory.
          Imagine a missile. No don’t. There’s no need to imagine:
          haven’t you opened the paper today? Imagine a war
          where children’s bodies form the location of the necessary
          violence. Don’t authorities always say necessary?

                . . . . .              Dorf's complete TRAJECTORY is available at this link.

Carol Dorf is a Zoeglossia fellow, whose poetry has been published in several chapbooks and in a wide variety of journals; and she is a founding poetry editor of Talking Writing.  

Here is a link to the New Verse News website -- a collection of many, many poems.  This link leads to poems at that site by Carol Dorf, including "Trajectory." 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Take a Tour -- of Mathy Poems

       Recently I have discovered (at the website of the American Mathematical Society, AMS) a blog posting that features my blog.  Entitled "A Tour of Intersections:  Poetry with Mathematics," the posting by math and science writer Rachel Crowell.  Below I post a sample:

"MATH WOMAN"  -- acrostic poem by JoAnne Growney

AND . . .  readers are invited to EXPLORE THIS  BLOG for more!
CREATE mathy poems!  and share them with joannegrowney (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Upcoming AMS Math-Poetry Contest

 Middle School Students

High School Students

College Students

Share YOUR POEMS via the 2024 Math-Poetry Contest

sponsored by the American Mathematical Society

Submit between November 27, 2023 and February 1, 2024

Detailed instructions for contest entries are found AT THIS LINK!