# Posts

### May 06, 2015

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7:05 PM | Balancing Opposites -- Tagore's Epigrams

Many important mathematical ideas occur as pairs of opposites: -2 and +2 (additive inverses), 5 and 1/5 (multiplicative inverses), bounded and unbounded, rational and irrational, convergent and divergent, finite and infiniteSome other familiar mathematical notions occur often in contrasting pairs but are not fully opposites: horizontal and
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### May 04, 2015

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3:07 AM | Lines of breathless length

Breathless length by JoAnne Growney A LINE, said Euclid, lies evenly with the points on itself -- that is, it’s straight –- and Euclid did (as do my friends) named points as its two ends. The LINE
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Scroll down to find titles and dates of posts so far in 2015. And follow these links for each year to to go to lists of posts through 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this blog was begun. This link leads to a SEARCH BOX for the blog and this link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein. Apr 29 A poem for your pocket Apr 25
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### May 01, 2015

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The FAQ at the Folger Shakespeare Library, referencing Martin Spevack, claims that Shakespeare’s complete works consist of 884,647 words. Open Source Shakespeare claims that his complete works consist of 884,421 words. Whatever. I’m not going to split hairs over one-twentieth of a percent. What do you get if you add 1 rabbit + ½ rabbit + ¼ rabbit + … ? Two rabbits, but that’s […]

### April 29, 2015

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11:56 PM | A poem for your pocket

Years ago, when "Poem in Your Pocket Day" (April 30) was first celebrated, we did not have cellphones to carry poems with us easily. Here is a tiny but memorable poem for you to carry with you tomorrow -- on your phone or in your pocket -- a poem to open and read, again and again. Addition by Langston Hughes (1902-1967) 7 x 7 + love = An amount Infinitely
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### April 25, 2015

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11:01 PM | Geometry of baseball

Many poems are written of baseball; a few of them involve mathematics -- see the posting for April 9, 2010 for math-related baseball poems by Marianne Moore (1877-1972) and Jerry Wemple; see the posting for September 18, 2011 for one by Jonathan Holden. Today I feature the opening stanza from a baseball poem by Pennsylvania poet, Le Hinton. from Our Ballpark by Le Hinton This is the place where my father
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ΑΝΑΜΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΥΜΜΕΤΡΙΑΣ Μια
μυθιστορηματική περιήγηση στο έργο του χαράκτη Μάουριτς Κορνέλις Έσερ του
Ανδρέα Λύκου, Εκδόσεις Γαβριηλίδη, 2015
Βιβλιο-παρουσίαση από τον Θωμά Βουγιουκλή
Το βιβλίο είναι μια καλαίσθητη
έκδοση, 160 σελίδων με […]

### April 22, 2015

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4:45 PM | Earth Day -- April 22, 2015

Consider today the thoughtful words of this sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950): Read history: so learn your place in Time And go to sleep: all this was done before; We do it better, fouling every shore; We disinfect, we do not probe, the crime. Our engines plunge into the seas, they climb Above our atmosphere: we grow not
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2:59 PM | ΑΝΑΜΝΗΣΕΙΣ ΣΥΜΜΕΤΡΙΑΣ

Το πρώτο βιβλίου του Ανδρέα Λύκου θα μας ταξιδέψει στην όμορφη, πολυπολιτισμική, Κομοτηνή, όπου θα το παρουσιάσουμε την Παρασκευή 24 Απριλίου 2015.

### April 19, 2015

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3:16 PM | April celebrates Math and Poetry

April is National Poetry Month and Mathematics Awareness Month. Yesterday I was able to attend several of the popular and crowded events at the National Math Festival (Here's a link to "A Field Guide to Math on the National Mall" where you can see photos of items pointed out to yesterday's visitors.) and tomorrow evening (April 20) I will be part of a reading that features poetry of math and science at the DC Science Cafe (at Busboys & Poets, 5th &K Streets,
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### April 17, 2015

### April 16, 2015

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4:13 PM | 11 Things to Hate About Conference Calls

Have you noticed that the word telecommute can be split into the two-word phrase telecom mute? Elegant, isn’t it? After all, there’s nothing I enjoy more than hitting the “mute” button so I can microwave a Hot Pocket® while doing a conference call from home. There are a few old jokes at the intersection of […]

### April 14, 2015

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5:48 PM | Remembering Abraham Lincoln

Today -- April 14, 2015 -- marks the 150th birthday of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) and April 15 is the date on which he died. Lincoln loved poetry and trained his reasoning with Euclid's geometry. Here is a brief sample of his own poetry (found -- along with other samples -- at PoetryFoundation.org). Abraham Lincoln by Abraham Lincoln Abraham
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### April 12, 2015

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12:00 AM | Spiders vs. the Sun

Spiders vs. the Sun
Which has a greater gravitational pull on me: the Sun, or spiders? Granted, the Sun is much bigger, but it is also much further away, and as I learned in high school physics, the gravitational force is proportional to the square of the distance.
—Marina Fleming
Note: This is a spider-heavy article. I can be a little anxious about spiders myself, so my research for this article involved a lot of opening PDFs while squinting and leaning back from the screen. If
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### April 11, 2015

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4:10 PM | Time is no straight line . . .

Swedish poet and Nobel Laureate Tomas Transtromer (1931-2015) died last month. At his website I found this poem that reflects on the arithmetic and geometry of life:Reply to a Letter by Tomas TranstromerIn the bottom drawer I find a letter which arrived for the first time twenty- six years ago. A letter written in panic, which continues to breathe when it arrives for the second time.A house has five windows; through four of them daylight shines clear and still. The fifth
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### April 10, 2015

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9:18 AM | "ο ΒαsιΛιαs του Απειρου Χωρου"

Χθες το απόγευμα, μετά από πολύ καιρό, πέρασα πάνω από μια ώρα μέσα σε ένα από κείνα τα βιβλιοπωλεία που διαθέτουν τραπεζοκαθίσματα και επιτρέπουν στους πελάτες να κάθονται και να ξεφυλλίζουν τα βιβλία, που προτίθενται (ή δεν προτίθενται) να αγοράσουν. Για διάφορους λόγους, […]

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2:17 AM | Don’t Believe the HIPE

Let’s get this party started with a classic word puzzle. What English word contains four consecutive letters that appear consecutively in the alphabet? In Mathematical Mind-Benders (AK Peters, 2007), Peter Winkler describes how the puzzle above served as inspiration for a word game. I and three other high-school juniors at a 1963 National Science Foundation […]

### April 07, 2015

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1:36 PM | Man Ray's "Human Equations"

Art lovers in Washington, DC have the opportunity (until 5/10/15) to see, on exhibit at The Phillips Collection, "Man Ray -- Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare." I visited the exhibit on February 19 on the occasion of a poetry reading by Rae Armantrout -- she presented work of hers that she felt captured the spirit of Man Ray's work. (Bucknell poet Karl Patten, whom I had as a poetry teacher years ago, insisted that "Every Thing Connects"
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### April 05, 2015

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12:00 AM | Digging Downward

Digging Downward
What would happen if I dug straight down, at a speed of 1 foot per second? What would kill me first?
Jack Kaunis
This question is the reverse of question #64, which asked how you'd die if you rose steadily at a foot per second. Digging at the same rate would kill you more quickly.
After you get through the surface layers,[1]See question #132 for more on that. temperatures rise pretty steadily as you go deeper, a trend that continues all the way to the core.
In some
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### April 03, 2015

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Last week the Art Works Blog posted an interview with mathematician, poet, and translator, Enriqueta Carrington. You will want to follow the link and read the whole thing. Here is a paragraph:quoting Enriqueta Carrington:Mathematics and poetry are the same thing, or one is a translation of the other.Well, perhaps that is an overstatement; but both math and poetry are about beautiful patterns, about creating, gazing at, and sharing them, and about appreciating
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Scroll down to find titles and dates of posts so far in 2015. And follow these links for each year to to go to lists of posts through 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 -- and all the way back to March 2010 when this blog was begun. This link leads to a SEARCH BOX for the blog and this link leads to a PDF file that lists searchable topics and names of poets and mathematicians presented herein.Mar 31 April is . . . a time for math and poetry . . .Mar 29 Science VerseMar 26
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8:27 AM | If Mathematicians Had Nicknames

Her name is Tara, but she should expect her friends to call her by a different name from now on. Not knowing all seven dwarfs is forgivable. Not knowing that sneaky isn’t spelled with two e‘s is less excusable. That she committed both errors simultaneously all but guarantees that her friends will call her Sneaky for […]

### April 01, 2015

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Once upon a time I counted to the tenth prime and found a word to rhyme.Tomorrow is not only April Fool's Day -- it also begins "National Poetry Month" and "National Mathematics Awareness Month." I hope you will scroll down through this blog for math-poetry intersections -- and that you will like what you find and return for more.(If you are near Washington, DC, consider a visit to MathFest on Saturday, April 18.)

### March 30, 2015

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11:33 AM | What If?

My favorite question is, “Why?” (And my favorite answer is, “Because.”) But not far behind is the question, “What if?” What if a baseball player swings a bat with the proper speed, but starts swinging 0.01 seconds too late? What if I could earn 6.3% on a real estate investment instead of 1.4% in a Roth IRA, but had […]

### March 29, 2015

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10:16 PM | Science Verse

Recently coincidence has brought to me two collections of poems about science -- first, the 2014 issue of The Nassau Review, a gift from editor and poet Christina Rau. The second collection is a "used" children's book, Science Verse (by John Scieszka and Lane Smith) found at the wonderful Kensington Row Bookshop (scroll down their webpage to find out about their monthly poetry readings). I include below two rhyming stanzas from Science Verse, followed two selections from The Nassau
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### March 28, 2015

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12:00 AM | Space Burial

Space Burial
I've often joked I'd like to have my remains put into orbit. Not in a "scatter my ashes" sense, but, like, "throw my naked corpse out the airlock" sense. Honestly, my main motivation is to baffle someone in the distant future, but it's an interesting scientific question: what would happen to my body in orbit over the course of years, decades or centuries?
—Tim in Fremont
This isn't really relevant, but I have to ask: Is there a reason you
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### March 26, 2015

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9:00 PM | The problem of time

Californian Brenda Hillman is a poet whose work I like and admire. In "Time Problem" she weaves prime numbers into a deft description of the dilemma of not enough time. Time Problem by Brenda Hillman The problem of time. Of there not being enough of it.
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### March 24, 2015

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11:28 PM | The Game of POP

No one knows how to live a funky life more than Prince: Life, it ain’t real funky Unless it’s got that pop Need a little extra pop in your life? Here’s a game you can play. Create a game board consisting of n adjacent squares. Here’s a board for n = 10: Still with me? Good. The […]

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5:20 AM | 7η ΔΙΕΘΝΗΣ ΜΑΘΗΜΑΤΙΚΗ ΕΒΔΟΜΑΔΑ

Η παρουσίασή μου στην 7η Διεθνή Μαθηματική Εβδομάδα, 18-22 Μαρτίου, στη Θεσσαλονίκη, με θέμα "Μαθηματικά για το Περιβάλλον. Μπορούν να αποτελέσουν εργαλείο καλλιέργειας και ευαισθητοποίησης του σύγχρονου πολίτη;"
Ευχαριστώ πολύ όσους παραβρέθηκαν στην παρουσίαση, την […]

### March 23, 2015

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12:08 PM | March 23 -- Emmy Noether's birthday

Today, March 23, 2015, Google celebrates the 133rd birthday of mathematician Emmy Noether. In support of the celebration here is a link to "My Dance is Mathematics," a poem I wrote to honor this pioneering mathematician. I hope that celebrations of Noether and other math-women will help to create a world in which these lines are no longer true: If a woman's dance is
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