This month, Math, Science, & Technology are music to our ears. Work both sides of your brain and listen to the collection of songs we’ve chosen just for you. Included are old favorites in our playlist like Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Weird Science” by Oingo Boingo. We also mixed in some fun bands you may not have heard before like The Dandy Warhols and You Had Me at Six. There are plenty of possibilities to find your favorite new jam. (Watch for a couple of comedians, too. And we apologize ahead of time for two lapses of polite language, which seems to be a thing sometimes in comedy acts.) In any case, bring out your pocket protector, press play, and get geeky with us!
British poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge once corresponded,
I have often been surprised, that Mathematics, the quintessence of Truth, should have found admirers so few…
His letter included a poem that touches on a geometric proposition from Book I of the Greek mathematician Euclid’s Elements. Coleridge mentioned that the poem was just a sample of a more ambitious project which intended to reproduce all of Euclid’s “Elements” in a series of Pindaric odes. Unfortunately, it never came to fruition. Here is an excerpt from his poem, “A Mathematical Problem:”
This is now–this was erst,
Proposition the first–and Problem the first.
On a given finite Line
Which must no way incline;
To describe an equi–
–A, N, G, L, E.
Now let A. B.
Be the given line
Which must no way incline;
The great Mathematician
Makes this Requisition,
That we describe an Equi–
–angle on it:
Aid us, Reason–aid us, Wit!
From the centre A. at the distance A. B.
Describe the circle B. C. D.
At the distance B. A. from B. the centre
The round A. C. E. to describe boldly venture.
(Third Postulate see.)
And from the point C.
In which the circles make a pother
Cutting and slashing one another,
Bid the straight lines a journeying go,
C. A., C. B. those lines will show.
To the points, which by A. B. are reckon’d,
And postulate the second
For Authority ye know.
A. B. C.
Triumphant shall be
An Equilateral Triangle,
Not Peter Pindar carp, not Zoilus can wrangle.
—by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Write a poem that honors the complex beauty of mathematics. It could be a math problem you remember from childhood, gratitude for a calculator, or the mind-boggling magnificence of geometry, calculus, or discrete math. Celebrate math with a bit of left-brained poetry. Share your poem with us in the comments section below.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is a poem about a childhood game we enjoyed from Andrew:
British Bulldogs, the rough and tumble sport.
The teachers forbade it, said it
Was dangerous to the likes of us.
Here is how to play it, so that you
May better ignore them.
First find a circle, any round
Or even square shaped playing ground.
One in the middle, to divide
Between the two opposing sides.
Beware the growling foe! Pass him by,
And if you’re lucky you will survive
To pass through to the other side,
Where in the shadows, you – can hide.
But if he catches you! Do not go quiet!
Let your brethren know you did not
Go easy to meet the foe.
For you’re like him now, and if you had
Honour, you’d bid your former friends beware
That you are coming.
—by Andrew H.
Photo by Tom Brown. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland