“A Mathematician's Nightmare”
Laser-print on paper, framed
between plates of glass, 15 Ĺ x 17 Ĺ, 2008 (poem, 2001;
framed presentation 2008).
The poem, "A Mathematician's Nightmare," introduces a version of the unsolved Collatz Conjecture which asserts that when prescribed operations are iterated on any positive integer, the sequence produced will eventually reach 1. The prescribed operations are these, for any starting positive integer n: if n is even, replace n by n/2 (i.e., decrease n by half); if n is odd, replace n by (3n+1)/2 (i.e., increase n by half and round up to the next integer); my exhibit-entry displays both the poem and a graph of the sequence of iterations applied to the integer 27.
JoAnne Growney, poet, Professor Emerita, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Bloomsburg University, residence: Silver Spring, MD
"I write because, in part, it's an activity that helps me see things in new ways. The new ways of seeing may be intellectual or they may relate to insight and feeling. Mathematics has been one of the foci of my life, and its imagery and structures appear frequently in my poems. Additionally, I find poem-making to be, in part, visual art. Aesthetic placement of symbols on the page contributes both to beauty and to understanding (in poetry, as in mathematics!).
Not only does writing lead me to the pleasures of new understanding--but itís also the case that attentive readers who actively engage themselves with my work may share that understanding."