Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A Mathematician In Love by William J. Rankine

I saw a poem today, with it's axes poking into mathematics, the science of life, and literature- all in one! It was an excerpt from the poem The Mathematician In Love by William J. Rankine, one of the founding contributors to the science of thermodynamics. If you want to check out the full poem- you can read it here. But, let me share the excerpt on the basic, fundamental axes that support what we all know as 'love', worded beautifully by this mathematician-poet. This is the VI and VII stanza of the poem. 

"Let x denote beauty, — y, manners well-bred, —
"z, Fortune, — (this last is essential), —
"Let L stand for love" — our philosopher said, —
"Then L is a function of x, y, and z,
"Of the kind which is known as potential.

"Now integrate L with respect to d t,
"(t Standing for time and persuasion);
"Then, between proper limits, 'tis easy to see,
"The definite integral Marriage must be: —
"(A very concise demonstration)."

What' s not to love about this poem! There's algebra, there's life, there's love, and there is a whole lot of mathematics! I have rarely stumble across such poems, and I really enjoyed this one even as I had just started reading it! Please do read the whole version in the hyperlink I have provided above. The story-poem has a really witty twist that I will not spoil for you! I absolutely enjoyed this poem. Is there a science/math poem, or any poem that goes high as 'nerdy'? Do share it with all of us in the comments below, I'd love to read more of them! 

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