Friday, September 26, 2014

Radio 4 discusses Maths - a poem of bewilderment

Radio 4 discusses Maths

There’s a magic number
called e, that has the 
power to solve the world’s
problems, to be practical in ways
we never dreamed, and I
think of pi and other
imponderables, and I feel my brain
reeling, eyes fluttering, under
the onslaught. It was ever
thus, x years ago, when I sat, 
uniformed but uninformed
at a wooden desk scarred quite
fascinatingly by the past.
Are there any numbers out there
that cannot be written as a 
fraction? That’s it. I break, 
fractured by fractions
and irrational numbers.

© C.M.M. 09/14

I wrote the above yesterday, on the proverbial back of an envelope, while listening to Radio 4's Melvyn Bragg discussion on the radio. I stopped eating my toast while a horribly familiar sensation from my distant schooldays crept over me. My brain had gone into free fall  and my tenuous grasp on the discussion had snapped. However, I was happy that normal activity was still intact: the poem just flowed out and I've only changed one line since. 

I am grateful to my friend Frank for sending me the mathematical statement that provides me with an illustration when all else would have been as meaningless as ... e.

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