Tag Archives: math

Fracture strength

You broke my funny bone
and drew a smiley on the cast

a ductile material
will continue to deform
until it ruptures

You broke my funny bone
its sharp edges piercing bodily structure
severing a piece of sympathetic trunk

bodies with cracks
suffer plain problems of elasticity
a boundary value problem
with no non-trivial solutions

You broke my funny bone
the x-rays lured a doctors’ crowd
a complicated fracture, they diagnosed
then chuckled, snickered, laughed out loud

Functionally stable fixation – they made a cast
You drew your smiley on it even before it set

: Fracture strength
the stress at which a specimen fails
via fracture

You broke my funny bone
it healed
but it hurts
each time I laugh

 This poem was born out of the prompt at napowrimo.net, though you might not be able to tell. This was our challenge: “Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.

My first thought was that I felt unable to write something funny – which brought me the opening line. From there I wanted to play with the double meaning of fracture, being both a physical thing that happens to a bone, and a mathematical thing that happens to a number – Or that’s what I thought. I’ve learned it can happen to a plane, which brought me one homophone for the poem.

My #NaPoWriMo day 14 was written with the help of http://www.encyclopediaofmath.org and Wikipedia. I’ve also learned what a homograph attack is and how I can prevent falling for one: https://inspiredelearning.com/blog/avoid-falling-homograph-attack/.

Fracture Strength

Poem and drawing by Angela van Son

i is a number (I’m not)

i is a number (I’m not)

i has a special faculty

it’s constructed

totally

there’s no other

complex number

that’s like that

i was made up

to create the opportunity

to solve equations

in physics

what if i is

the square root

of minus one

what if i

DOES exist?

turns out

you can count on it

to disappear

once the equation is solved

i made things possible

that weren’t possible before

i have a special faculty

i am constructed

totally

there’s no other

complex being

that’s like me

i was made up

to create the opportunity

to solve equations

somewhere, somehow

what if i am

a square root

of minus one

what if I

Do exist?

turns out

you can count on me

to disappear

once the equation is solved

i make things possible

that weren’t possible before

solve equations

create opportunities

i

will disappear

equations solved

opportunities created

i

did disappear

The prompt today at octpowrimo.com was numbers, and host Amy McGrath provided a list of numbers that have specific connotations. My in house mathematician tried to get me to write about cardinal numbers, because they’re counterintuitive, beautiful, inventive and realising they existed needed a lot of inventiveness and creativity (all hail the fabulous brain of Georg Cantor!).

I, on the other hand, fell immediately for i… i has more poetic opportunties than I’ve used. Look at this:

  • the powers of i repeat in a cycle
  • dividing by i is equivalent to multiplying by the reciprocal of i

Doesn’t that want to make you do math – or write a poem?

If you like my attempt at combining poetry with science, you can find more when you click on the tag science.

imaginary number

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mpancha/2505656136

Putting objects into algebra

napo2016button2TRUTH: row

HIM: Scientific display mode

ME: Alpha entry mode
Converting complex to real
Converting real to complex

HIM: Differential equation solver
Significant digits displayed

ME: Constant entering
editing
Random redefining
Analytic functions
affect implied units

HIM: Counters loop structures
Counters negative steps
Debugging programs

ME: Immediate entry mode reverted
Arguments go on stack
Interpreting of immediate guesses HALT

ME: the wild card
HIM: the delimiter

HP 48G Users guide

I didn’t have a special dictionary (the day 17 prompt) so I used this instead. The only words not coming from the index are him, me, the and the. WordPress has messed with the lay-out, but I don’t know how to restore it.

I’m curious if anybody recognises this type of row?