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Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry Makes Surprising Connections

May 8, 2008

Two disparate fields are united in Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry, by Marcia Birken and Anne C. Coon (both from Rochester Institute of Technology). The authors' aim is to demonstrate that Fibonacci numbers, the Golden Ratio, and poetry inspire us to express fundamental concepts, make discoveries, and comprehend the mysterious.

Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry (Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam) is meant for scientists who love poetry and poets who love science and math, said Coon. In addition, she said, "We wanted to include a section on fractals because the science is interesting to people, the mathematics can be presented visually, and the images are fascinating and beautiful, but there is now a lot of interest poetically in what fractals are. There is even an evolving body of writing and literary criticism that is defining and examining fractal poetry."

Although the book is illustrated with mathematical images and photographs for the non-mathematician, as well as poetry for the novice reader, "There are important differences between poetry and mathematics, and we don't want to blur or minimize those," Coon cautioned. "There are also many ways in which the study of one, or the appreciation of one, can help inform your appreciation of the other. We especially like the way Ingrid Daubechies--the Princeton mathematician who popularized wavelet analysis--brings the two together, saying mathematics is akin to poetry: a way of taking the big idea and condensing and honing it until it communicates exactly the right information."

Source: EurekAlert

Start Date: 
Thursday, May 8, 2008