Thursday, February 22, 2018

Circles are inclusive . . . let's make circles!

Rectangular picture of a syllable-triangle poem about the power of a circle.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of ... Mathematics

     One of my favorite mathy authors is Lillian R. Lieber (1886-1986) and one of the websites that has recently featured her work is the energetic and eclectic brainpickings.org (authored by Maria Popova) -- in a posting recommended to me by my Bloomsburg, PA poetry-friend Carol Ann Heckman.  Carol alerted me to a January 2018 brainpickings posting about Lieber -- a writer whose poetic treatise, Infinity: Beyond the Beyond the Beyond (Paul Dry Books, 2007) is a reading I once recommended to her as an aid in understanding calculus.  Originally published in 1953 and illustrated with striking drawings by Lillian's collaborating husband, Hugh Lieber, Infinity also had enriched my own understanding of some challenging concepts.  The Heckman-recommended posting offers ideas from an out-of-print gem by Lieber entitled Human Values and Science, Art and Mathematics -- and here are a few opening lines from that collection that seem very relevant today:
   
     This book is really about
     Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,
     using ideas from mathematics
     to make these concepts less vague.  

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sonnet for Bolyai -- and translations

     The Hungarian mathematician János Bolyai (1802 – 1860) was one of the discoverers of non-Euclidean geometry — an axiomatization  that differs from Euclid's geometry in its stipulations concerning parallel lines. This discovery of  an alternative view of space -- that also was logically consistent -- helped to free mathematicians to explore new ideas, and the consequences developed by Einstein and others have led to far-reaching results.
     Hungarian poet Mihály Babits (1883-1941) wrote a sonnet about Bolyai.  I learned of this sonnet and its English translation (by Paul Sohar and offered below) from Osmo Pekonen, a Finnish mathematician who is engaged in the project of collecting translations of Babits' sonnet into as many languages as possible.  (The original Hungarian version -- along with a Spanish translation -- is available here.) 

     Bolyai      by Mihály Babits              translation into English by Paul Sohar

     God had imprisoned our minds in space.
     Those puny things have remained prisoners.
     Thought, the hungry bird of prey fought the curse,
     but never breached its diamond bars' embrace.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day -- I love SEVEN!

Happy Valentine's Day!
                     I love seven –  as  a 
                                                          five-
                                                        letter
     word
    or
  as
            an                    
                                            acute     
                                        angle.

     Not only is seven prime, it is the number
     of my granddaughters who all like math --
     I want to make a mountain to celebrate 
     the girls and the women they become . . .  

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Matrix Poem, "RESIST"

     My first awareness of the term "matrix" was in a math class -- where it means a rectangular array of quantities that are treated as a single unified object.  But my online dictionary does not list that definition first; a Google Search using "matrix definition" led me to "an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure."  And so it goes.
     And when I enter the pair "matrix" and "poem" into a Google Search, the results include poems with the word "matrix" in the title AND rectangular arrays including this one from  Eleven Matrix Poems by Roy Lisker and found at this source. Reading instruction includes this: 
       Matrix poems are written to be read in all of the directions 
indicated by their accompanying diagrams.
"RESIST" by Roy Lisker
My favorite line is shown as the second column; which is yours? 
Fight    Ever    Will To    Never    Evade
     In closing, one more remark about the Google Search I performed using "matrix poem"; as with many Google searches there was a link to images, and from that I found a delightful array of word-diagrams such as the one above.  Try it sometime!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Find a Mathy Valentine!

As the 2018 version of Valentine's Day draws near, I urge you to visit past postings to sample the variety contained in my years of collecting -- if you are looking for Mathy Valentines:

 do a blog Search using Valentine

      Two of the poems in the anthology that Sarah Glaz and I edited -- Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008)  -- have the title "Valentine."  Here is the final line of the one by Katharine O'Brien:

         . . . won't you be my cardioid?

and the final pair of lines of Michael Stueben's verse:

       I love you as one over x,
       as x approaches zero.

Sending my wishes a week ahead of time, Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Math-poetry for Black History Month

     Recently I have revisited my post (from October 2, 2012) that offers a puzzle poem by math-science guy Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), "The Puzzle of the Hound and the Hare" and available here.   
     This link leads to several more posts that also offer mathy poems linked to African-American history and culture.  And here, below, is a treasure to enjoy in any month:

     Addition     by Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

     7 x 7 + love =
     An amount
     Infinitely above:
     7 x 7 − love.

Hughes' poem "Addition" is found in the anthology Strange Attractors: Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters/CRC Press, 2008), edited by Sarah Glaz and me and first posted in this blog, along with other poems celebrating to Black History Month, on February 20, 2011.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Square poems -- pricked by a cactus!

     Back home now in Maryland after some time in Arizona (near Tucson) with cousins, my mind is full of the beauty and diversity of the cactuses that I saw there -- in yards and gardens and, most spectacularly, at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (BIG Thanks, Bob and Ann!)  My interest in these prickly plants led me to seek a poem that featured them.  What I found is a small "square poem" in my article "Mathematics in Poetry" -- published several years ago by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and available here.  Below, I quote that tiny square poem -- preceded by an explanatory introduction.

Mathematicians enjoy pushing against constraints to find what is possible despite their presence; I enjoy a similar struggle in poetry. For example, when I wanted to write about my decision to be polite even though somewhere inside I feel very uncivil, the constraints of a 3 × 3 square poem led me to:

Mock feelings
serve as well
as true ones.  

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

50 years after "The Population Bomb"

          In 1968 while I was in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma, we all were talking about Paul Erlich's new book, The Population Bomb, and its dire predictions.  My worry over population has evolved into worry about climate change -- a deep concern that selfish actions today are leaving an unhealthy world for future generations.  I want my grandchildren to have the opportunity for healthy lives!!!   On the morning of January 3,  the program 1A on  radio station WAMU did a thought-provoking feature, "More People, More Problems"  on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Erlich's book.  And, at a website entitled "Better (not bigger) Vermont"  I found several poems and songs about population, including the "Population Pressure Song" by Calvin Stewart & Joice Marie -- I offer several stanzas below:

from  Population Pressure Song   by Calvin Stewart & Joice Marie (©2008)
     . . .
        Pop pop, goes the population
        Got to stop, the population
        While we still have our woods
        In our quiet neighborhoods   

Monday, January 22, 2018

A poem that counts

     Recently I discovered (at Poets.org) this thought-provoking number-poem by Oklahoma poet Quraysh Ali Lansana.

bible belted: math     by Quraysh Ali Lansana 

          Pro-Black doesn’t mean anti-anything.
                   El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

there are at least twenty-seven
white people i love. i counted.

four from high school, five from
undergraduate years, maybe  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Counting syllables and supporting life

Today, as abortion-protesters march in Washington, I look back to a post from March 25, 2013 and repeat it below.  I, too, cherish life -- and know that sometimes people face very difficult choices.
*   *   *   *   *
In a perfect world in which every pregnancy is wanted and every life supported with love, there would be no need for abortion.  As I work toward that world, I have penned this small syllable-square poem of concern about the vulnerability of young lives.

       36 Syllables       by JoAnne Growney

       More than abortion, fear
       unwanted lives -- saddest
       consequence for children
       conceived without a plan
       for parenting.  There is
       more than one way to die.  
  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

OULIPO, Mathews -- and permutations of proverbs

     Harry Mathews (1930-2017) was a writer -- novelist, poet, essayist, and translator --whose work interests me a great deal.  He was the only American member of the original Oulipo -- a group formed around 1960 of writers and mathematicians who experimented with a variety of constraints designed to force new arrangements of words and thoughts.  An example cited in a NYTimes feature that followed his death on January 25 illustrates the challenges he set for himself:  he rewrote a poem by Keats using the vocabulary of a Julia Child recipe.  What some might have seen as pointless, Mathews found intellectually liberating.
Mathews served as Paris Editor of the Paris Review from 1989 to 2003 and the Spring 2007 issue offers an interview.   The summer 1998 issue offers samples of his perverbs -- that is, permuted proverbs:
"The word perverb was invented 
by Paris review editor Maxine Groffsky
to describe the result obtained by crossing two proverbs.
For example, "All roads lead to Rome" and "A rolling stone gathers no moss"
give us "All roads gather moss" and "A rolling stone leads to Rome"

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blog history -- title, links for previous posts . . .

      My first posting in this blog was nearly eight years ago (on March 23, 2010).  If, at the time, I had anticipated its duration, I should have made a plan for organizing the posts.  But my ambitions were small.  During the time I was teaching mathematics at Bloomsburg University, I gathered poetry (and various historical materials) for assigned readings to enrich the students' course experiences. After my retirement, I had time to want to share these materials -- others were doing well at making historical material accessible to students but I thought poetry linked to mathematics needed to be shared more.  And so, with my posting of a poem I had written long ago celebrating the mathematical life of Emmy Noether, this blog began.  Particular topics featured often in postings include -- verse that celebrate women, verses that speak out against discrimination, verses that worry about climate change.   
You're invited to:
Scroll through the titles below, browsing to find items of interest
among the more-than-nine-hundred postings since March 2010
OR 
Click on any label -- a list is found in the right-hand column below the author profile 
OR
Enter term(s) in the SEARCH box -- and find all posts containing those terms.

 For example, here is a link to the results of a SEARCH using    math women 

And here is a link to a poem by Brian McCabe that celebrates math-woman Sophie Germain.
This link reaches a poem by Joan Cannon that laments her math-anxiety.
This poem expresses some of my own divided feelings.

                                       2017 Posts

Monday, January 15, 2018

Honor Martin Luther King -- think on his words!

Celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King (1929-1968)
with his words-- which include several mathy terms.

We must accept 
finite disappointment
but never lose
infinite hope.                                                             Freedom is never
voluntarily given
by the oppressor; 
it must be demanded
by the oppressed.

When you are right                  
you cannot be too radical;                 
when you are wrong,                  
you cannot be too conservative.                 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Clear the head for best thinking by walking

     An engineer -- and friend -- who is a long-time supporter of the STEM to STEAM program is US Naval Academy Professor Greg Coxson.  Although a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Coxson has a strong interest in the arts.  He reads widely and has suggested a number of poems  for this blog.  Recently his recommendation was "Solvitur Ambulando" by Billy Collins, a poem found on pages 92-93 of the collection The Rain in Portugal (Random House, 2016).   Below I offer the opening stanza and the final, mathematical, portion of Collins' fine poem.  (Go to the book and read more!)

from   Solvitur Ambulando    "It is solved by walking."     by Billy Collins

       I sometimes wonder about the thoughtful Roman
       who came up with the notion
       that any problem can be solved by walking.
. . .  

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Marriage of Music and Mathematics

     Italian mathematician and musician Rosanna Iembo is an interdisciplinary star that I have had the pleasure of meeting -- and hearing --  at poetry readings held at mathematics conferences.  Iembo combines mathematical storytelling with live music; here is a link to a musical video of "The Marriage of Myia and Milo" narrated by Iembo, with musical accompaniment by her daughters -- and, below, I offer an abbreviated sample of a math-related portion of the poetic text.

from  The Marriage of Myia & Milo       by Rosanna Iembo

     A marriage, a marriage,
     said everyone.
     Myia, the daughter of Pythagoras and Theanò,
     marries Milo, the legendary athlete.

     And to the marriage
     even the stranger was invited
     because nobody was excluded
     in that ancient polis
     where Pythagoras founded a School.  

Friday, January 5, 2018

Mathematics and Gender . . . #MeToo

compiled by Dr Laurence J Peter (Collins Reference, 1993).

A woman has to be
TWICE as good
as a man
to go HALF as far.                                              Fannie Hurst 

Men seldom
make passes
at a girl
who surpasses.                                                 Franklin P Jones 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

In short words . . . a Fib for the New Year!


       I
       want
       to wish
       you a fine
       New Year:  play with words
       and time. Count each short word and line.

     One of the fascinating web-postings I have found recently is this one in which mathematical ideas are expressed in short words -- that is, in words of one syllable.  As you might expect, these creations are sometimes awkward and sometimes insightful.  I invite you to try, as I have done above, your own expression of ideas in short words.

     And if you'd like to find more examples of Fibs (that is, poems in which the syllable counts per line follow the Fibonacci numbers), this link leads to the results of a search of this blog using "Fib."

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Problems with no solutions

     The syllable-square stanza is a poetic form I often turn to when scientific terminology gives me little hope of matching traditional patterns of rhyme or rhythm -- counting syllables gives discipline and invention to my word choices, and these are for me essential in writing poetry.
     As a grandparent of school-age children  I am deeply worried about the world they are inheriting.  I want it to offer a healthy environment and safety with vast opportunities for women as well as men.  And my own writing often supports these views.   I encourage readers to use the blog SEARCH to find an assortment of poems on a theme -- such as "girl" or "environment" or  . . . For example, here is a link to postings that include the word opportunity.  Scrolling through that list leads to this posting of Eavan Boland's poem, "Code," which honors Grace Murray Hopper.
     And here is my small, worried square:     

          Square worries

          Unless miracles give
          our earth new resources
          that prove unlimited,
          unchecked population
          growth and climate change are
          problems with no solutions.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Counting toward Christmas . . .

     Like my grandchildren, I am counting the days until Christmas -- enjoying holiday lights that break the winter darkness and looking forward to family gatherings.  Below I repeat a growing snowball poem that I first posted at the Christmas season in 2012.

*
o n
t o p
g i v e
l i g h t
f r e e l y
f o r e v e r
a b u n d a n t
b r i l l i a n t
e v e r y w h e r e
LOVE MATH!

Holiday greetings and good wishes to ALL!

Continuing in the holiday spirit, here (repeated from 2010 posting) is a Christmas verse that celebrates pi (and helps us to remember its digits): 

Monday, December 18, 2017

It's time to correct our answers!

Verses with Two Voices
by JoAnne Growney
Questions                                                           Answers

Why doesn't the teacher notice
my hand is raised?
I'm waiting for all the boys,
so eager to speak, to finish ...
Why did he put my solution
at the bottom of the pile?
You are a girl .... It is best
for me to read the good papers first.
Have you had time to review
my proof of the theorem?
No, dear!
You are pregnant
and nothing will come of it ....
If you find moments between household and mothering,
pick up a pen and write a little rhyme.
Girls can do poems.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Visual poetry -- schemes with squares

Thanks to math teacher Sara Katz (at Manhattan's Essex Street Academy) 
and the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics for today's poem.

Monday, December 11, 2017

SPLIT THIS ROCK -- Poetry that takes a stand!

For a poetry conference about 
POETRY THAT MATTERS
Information about the festival and how to register available here.

One of the most vital and persistent forces behind Split This Rock , an organization of socially engaged writers, has been Washington DC poet Sarah Browning -- THANK YOU, SARAH.  Here is one of Sarah's poems that presents some of the awful arithmetic of WAR.

Headline: Six Killed in Raid       by Sarah Browning

          Six American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter killed 
          in booby trapped house. 
                 -- Fourth paragraph of Washington Post story 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Math-Poetry from YouTube

     Using "mathematics" as a search term at YouTube.com leads to a huge number of interesting results -- and some of them are poems.  For example:

Dallas Slam Poet Alexandra Marie 
Performance poet Dan Simpson from Salford, UK 
gives us "Applied Mathematics".

     Here next, in contrast to the BIG poems on YouTube, is a small mathy poem by Howard Nemerov (found here, along with other tiny Nemerov poems).  Thanks, Francisco, for alerting me to this treasure.

          Aesthetics     by Howard Nemerov

          The spider does geometry all night
          To take the fly, the dewdrop, and the sun’s light.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Browse previous posts -- November 2017 and prior

You're invited to:
Scroll through the titles below, browsing to find items of interest
OR 
Click on any label -- a list is found in the right-hand column below the author profile 
OR
Enter term(s) in the SEARCH box -- and find all posts containing those terms.
 For example, here is a link to the results of a SEARCH using   climate change 
And here is a link to a poem by Simon Armitage that cleans the air.

                                       2017 Posts

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Calculating Pi -- a poet's view

     Initially I was drawn to a reading at The Writer's Center in Bethesda a couple of weeks ago because my neighbor, non-fiction writer and editor, Josh Tyree was reading from his London explorations, Vanishing Streets.  But the two writer's who read with Tyree also were known to me and are remarkable:
                    Annie Fincha poet I have known through WomPo, an online community (founded by her) that supports women-poets.  Links to Annie's work in this blog -- which feature items that pay careful attention to syllable-counts -- are here, (for July 29, 1010) and here, (for June 27, 2015).
                    Gary Fincke, who was once almost a neighbor of mine -- I taught mathematics at Bloomsburg (PA) University and he taught and developed a creative writing program at nearby Susquehanna University -- and, before I moved south to the Washington, DC area, Gary and I knew each other through local literary events.  It was great fun to hear Gary read not only poetry -- I offer a sample of his mathy work below -- but also short fiction; I came away from the November 11 reading with a copy of his new book of short stories, The Killer's Dog (Elixir Press, 2017), which is a very intriguing collection.

Fincke's poetry does not shy from mathematics and "The Butterfly Effect" was posted in this blog back on November 22, 2010.  Here, from Fincke's collection, Blood Ties:  Working-Class Poems (Time Being Press, 2002) is "Calculating Pi."

Calculating Pi     by Gary Fincke

          "Pi has been calculated to 480 million decimal points."
                                                                                 --  Newsweek

Printed out, this means six hundred miles of digits,
A paper carpet from Pittsburgh to Chicago  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Science Poetry from Spain

     Several weeks ago I got an email from science journalist Elena Soto, from Palma de Mallorca, Spain, director of a weekly science supplement for the newspaper El Mundo.  Soto told me of her poetry -- recently, Kernlose Winter , a collection containing a number of poems with a scientific theme -- and her blog Establo de Pegaso that offers samplings of science-poetry fare.
     Soto's poem, "The equation of zebra stripes" -- offered below -- is about morphogenesis (the structural changes that occur as an organism develops).  From Kernlose Winter and found also in Soto's blogthe poem is dedicated to codebreaker Alan Turing.  I offer first Soto's English translation and, following that, her original Spanish version.  Thank you, Elena, for sharing this and the links to more of your work.

The equation of zebra stripes     by Elena Soto
                          for Alan Mathison Turing
Sadness,
singular as zebra stripes,
wrinkle borders on maps.
Enchants the pupil,
molds her to the smooth curve of the dunes.
Drag until the fur
the winding path of deltas
the coastline.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Burma Shave Mathematics

     One of the positive aspects of many math journals is that they are not shy about including poems that related to mathematics -- a negative aspect of that practice is that the poems are not included in the Contents listing for that publication.  And so, the fact that my poem "A Mathematician's Nightmare" appears on page 31 of the February 2001 issue of Math Horizons is lost to all but those of us who have a copy of that magazine.  Also unrecorded in these Contents is a page-full of rhymes written in response to a contest that asked for math poems composed in the style of road-side advertising for Burma Shave.  From the late 1920s to the early 1960s, US highway travelers encountered various series of small signs advertising the product.  I remember, as a child, attempting to guess what was coming next as our family car drove past a series of these signs.  Here are two examples (from Wikipedia):

   A shave / That's real / No cuts to heal / A soothing / Velvet after-feel / Burma Shave
   Past / Schoolhouses / Take it slow / Let the little / Shavers grow / Burma Shave  

Monday, November 20, 2017

What is THE GREATEST EQUATION?

     Sometimes a poem comes to me with a story -- and such is the case with the poem by Richard Harrison that I offer below.  As part of my Google-searching for online sites that contain both "poetry" and "mathematics," I found an article about a new book by Canadian poet Richard Harrison -- and the article included the statement, "Harrison also writes about super heroes, cosplay, spoken word poetry and mathematics."
     And so I hunted for an email address for Richard Harrison, then wrote asking to learn more of his math-poetry activity.  In his reply, he sent me the poem below -- his one-and-only mathy poem -- a poem he derived from material he wrote in response to a request by philosopher Robert Crease for candidates for "the greatest equation."   Harrison nominated "1 + 1 = 2" and provided an argument in defense of his nomination -- and part of Harrison's response is offered in the preface for Crease's book, The Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg (W W Norton, 2009).

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Memorization and formulae

    A website I enjoy visiting is Ben Ordin's MathWithBadDrawings.com.  At every mathy website I visit,  it is my habit to do a search for "poetry" (just as on a poetry site I search for "math"). At MathWithBadDrawings I found this poetry sample concerning whether it is important to memorize particular basics:

       Monday we memorize
       That way we know
       Tuesday through Friday
       We think and we Grow

And, accompanied by a drawing, here are the first two of five stanza for a poem about the quadratic formula:     

Monday, November 13, 2017

Logic and Poetry -- from Lewis Carroll

     Australian poet Erica Jolly has alerted me to Lapham's Quarterly -- a magazine, both print and digital, that offers the view that history is the root of all education.  In particular, Jolly directed me to Lapham's presentation of "Sense and Nonsense:  Babies cannot manage crocodiles" by Lewis Carroll.  One of the Lewis Carroll logic puzzles presented therein relates to poetry -- and so I offer it here:

   1. No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste;
   2. No modern poetry is free from affectation;
   3. All your poems are on the subject of soap bubbles;
   4. No affected poetry is popular among people of real taste;
   5. No ancient poem is on the subject of soap bubbles.
Answer:  All your poems are uninteresting.

     That the Answer/Conclusion follows using the rules of logic requires some calculations which the interested reader is invited to pursue.  A solution (and additional puzzles) may be found here.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stop saying GIRLS can't do MATH

     Found at Poets.org, this poem by Brenda Cárdenas that, like too many others portrays a girl in a can't do-math situation.  Another aspect of the poem, however, is its Spanish-language descriptions of Hispanic contributions to mathematics.  And, despite my protest, I find this a lovely poem and worth sharing.

     Calculations     by Brenda Cárdenas

     “I don’t know what to tell you.
     Your daughter doesn’t understand
     math. Numbers trouble her, leave
     her stuck on ground zero.”

                                    Y fueron los mayas
                                    quienes imaginaron el cero,
                                    un signo para nada, para todo,
                                    en sus gran calculaciones.

                     Is zero the velvet swoop into dream,
                     the loop into plumes of our breath?    

Monday, November 6, 2017

Mathematics -- vital imagery in SO MANY poems . . .

     Mathematics not only governs the structure of many poems -- of sonnets and pantoums and villanelles and more -- but mathematical imagery is an increasingly vital ingredient of the content.  Australian poet and STEAM advocate Erica Jolly has recently alerted me to the most recent issue (Volume 83) of the online journal Cordite Poetry Review  -- the theme of this issue: its opening essay, its 60 poems --  is mathematicsFollow this link to Cordite and explore.
     An important resource for anyone seeking poetry-with-mathematics is the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics -- an online journal in which each biannual issue contains a varied selection of poems.  Here is a link to the July 2017 issue for you to explore.
     The humanistic side of mathematics has been explored for many years by the online British journal plus -- available here.  Perhaps you'd like to read an article on "the mathematics of kindness" or survey their articles, videos and podcasts about math-women or read a math-poetry book review -- all this and so much more at plus.
AND, when your time permits, browse here in my blog -- 
with more than 900 postings, much variety is offered.  
Scroll down OR use the SEARCH box.  Explore!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Probability and astonishment

     A small poem by Lia Purpura in the January 29, 2015 issue of The New Yorker delights even as it highlights the errors that many of us make in supposing that coincidences -- such as meeting some home town friend in a distant vacation spot -- are rare rather than probable.  

       Probability     by Lia Purpura

       Most coincidences are not
       miraculous, but way more
       common than we think--
       it's the shiver
       of noticing being
       central in a sequence 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Browse previous posts -- October 2017 and prior

Blog visitors are invited to
Scroll through the titles below, browsing to find items of interest
OR 
Click on any label -- a list is found in the right-hand column below the author profile 
OR
Enter term(s) in the SEARCH box -- and find all posts containing those terms.
 For example, here is a link to the results of a SEARCH using the word woman.

                                       2017 Posts

Monday, October 30, 2017

Churchill -- Love and Information

     On a recent Thursday evening at the Forum Theatre in downtown Silver Spring I had the exciting privilege of seeing a splendid staging of Caryl Churchill's play, Love and Information.  Directed by Michael Dove and starring 14 versatile actors, this 57-scene play kept moving from one arresting moment to another.  Many of the scenes were poetic and several were substantially mathematical.  For example:
Mathematics in a scene from Caryl Churchill's Love and Information

Friday, October 27, 2017

Moving from STEM to STEAM in Australia

     "Poets," said Australian writer and teacher Erica Jolly, "find their themes in what matters to them."  This quote is taken from Jennifer Strauss's introduction to Jolly's poetry collection, Making a Stand  (Wakefield Press, 2015).  Erica Jolly is a retired teacher of history and English in southern Australia and works tirelessly toward ending the segregation between STEM disciplines and the arts and humanities.  In the lines below (taken from Making a Stand), Jolly is responding to words from former Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb who has said, speaking of mathematics, that he wants "all of us in the same tent."

Erica Jolly:   If he does, we must remove segregation of students 
          into supposedly separate cultures of science and mathematics versus 
          the arts and humanities as well as the unwillingness for STEM 
          to make interdisciplinary connections.

               Don't I as one of those deemed
               inappropriate for that elite
               have the right to access
               their language?

               to algebra, that Arabic word,
               giving me letters in place
               of apples or oranges to
               solve problems