Mathematics ---- ( for better or worse )
Is chronicled throughout this verse.
It doesn’t much matter
What’s first or what’s latter
So long as it’s not in reverse.
With Euclid there’s nothing to rhyme.
His “Elements” took him some time.
His Geometry ruled
But he wasn’t fooled
He could always find one larger prime!
Pythagoreans (any who dared)
Were cultists…no secrets were shared.
They couldn’t eat beans,
With sex they were fiends,
And still found the hypotenuse squared.
A mathematician who’s ranked very high
Is Archimedes – ( He loved radii ).
His discovery’s based
On weight that’s displaced.
He wanted his piece of the .
The Romans were clumsy, I fear.
Their numbers caused many a jeer.
They’d sing on the buses
Midst boos, leers and cusses
XCIX bottles of beer!
Fermat’s “numbers” were grandly described
As circles with n-gons inscribed.
His famous “Last Theorem”
Caused many to fear him
But to publish he couldn’t be bribed.
Gauss was a strange thinking guy.
In plane geometry ( No one knew why )
His thoughts were complex
Imaginary, I guess.
Napier was of Scottish descent
And on logarithms much time he spent.
“Descriptio” was written
(With the Church he was smitten )
And he gave up his tables for lent!
Zeno showed us with his paradox
That a contradiction is something that rocks.
If Achilles and turtle
Jump just one more hurdle
They both will be infinite jocks!
With Ptolemy’s use of a chord.
And though it was fine
Their thoughts so divine
Were sines that could not be ignored.
Descartes became famous because
Of Geometry ( and all that it does )
His coordinates reign
On everyone’s plane
He thought and therefore he was!!
The was little
But helped solve the riddle
Of area under a curve.
(He fiddled as grandly as Nero).
After playing around
He eventually found
e i + 1 = 0 !
Galois – bored with the plain quadradical
Knew you can’t solve a quintic by radical
Caused him serious grief
And put him on permanent sabbatical!
Though infinity caused most to be leery,
Georg Cantor ( who founded set theory )
Removed each middle third
( Most thought this absurd )
To count them would leave you quite weary!
Ne semblaient pas possibles du tout.
Etranges, elles etaient
Et folles elles semblaient,
Mais maintenant on les voit partout.
When in a complete metric space,
Cauchy found ( with a sequence in place )
Conditions to see
If convergence will be
When a positive ’s the case.
Now in last but not least spot-You’ve guessed!!
Bolzano and Weierstrass are blessed.
If they only knew
About “YOU KNOW WHO ”.
How could anyone be so obsessed ??
My creative ties now I must sever
In this seemingly endless endeavour.
Mathematics still grows
And God only knows
I could write these from now till forever.
John Holbrook, my learned professor
Please don’t make me be the aggressor
‘Cause soon you’ll advise me
With grades don’t surprise me
Or I might have to find your successor !
Avon Books, New York
Loon, 1999, Totem Books, New York