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Show your mathematics to the world!

Without mathematics there is no art.
— Luca Pacioli, Italian mathematician (1445 – 1517)


JoAnne’s blog Intersections — Poetry with Mathematics
Mathematical language can heighten the imagery of a poem; mathematical structure can deepen its effect. Feast here on an international menu of poems made rich by mathematical ingredients.

Short Story

Ted Chang’s division by zero

Paintings and Sculptures

Dorothea Rockburne’s artwork

The poem below appeared in The London Mathematical Society Newsletter, September 2009.

A Week in the Life of a Mathematician
‘Twas on a Monday morning I had a bright idea,
I was lying in the bath tub and the strategy seemed clear,
For a problem posed by Erdös back in nineteen forty nine,
On sequences dilated into subsets of the line

‘Twas on a Tuesday morning I jotted down my thoughts,
I covered backs of envelopes with surds and aleph noughts.
After several cups of coffee I began to feel inspired,
And a lengthy calculation gave the answer I desired.

‘Twas on a Wednesday morning I wrote the details out.
My lemmas and corollaries left little room for doubt.
I filled up many pages just to get the logic right,
And with epsilons and deltas I made it watertight.

‘Twas on a Thursday morning I typed the paper up,
With “slash subset” and “slash mapsto” to say nothing of “slash cup”.
My LaTeXing was perfect, printed out it looked so good,
Should I send it to the Annals? I rather thought I would!

‘Twas on a Friday morning I read the paper through,
I checked out every detail as good authors ought to do.
At the bottom of page twenty in an integral I found,
I’d divided through by zero and the proof crashed to the ground.

On Saturday and Sunday I was too depressed to care,
So ’twas on a Monday morning that I had my next idea.


What if mathematical theories could be expressed using artworks instead of plus signs and pi symbols? Dorothea Rockburne has devoted four decades to the attempt. View PBS’s Sunday Arts Profile on Rockburne on YouTube.

Also, on most YouTube videos, the player has a six-corner snowflake (next to CC) that gives you an option to view various snowflake configurations falling throughout the video. YouTube has placed the temporary six-cornered snowflake button for the holidays. I think it is highly fitting given the post below “The Six-Cornered Snowflake of Kepler”!

Read this article about Rockburne dated Dec. 23, 2011
Read this article about Rockburne dated Jul. 16, 2011

View all her works here.

Fancy some Christmas ornaments that defy conventional Euclidean geometry? In these animations, created by mathematician and artist Jos Leys, you can see what Christmas ball patterns would look like in hyperbolic space, a “bizarro world” where parallel lines can intersect and the three angles of a triangle add up to less than 180 degrees.

The different ornament designs show various ways that 2D hyperbolic space can be tiled with polyhedron shapes by varying the Poincaré disc model. Developed by Henri Poincaré of Poincaré conjecture fame these tesselations have also been explored by artist MC Escher in a series of prints.

For more mathematical imagery, check out a gallery of art in the hyperbolic realm, hyperbolic home decoration or visit Leys’ web site. You may also like to watch our series of One-Minute Math animations.

View video here.

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