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Unformatted text preview: MATH 191, Sections 1 and 3 Calculus I Fall 2007 Formulas and Forms: Mathematics and Poetry Doing math, to most people, is a scientific enterprise. Made up of cold lemmas, theorems, and propositions, mathematics is a means to an end, a collection of procedures that can be applied to analyze the phenomena that arise in the natural world. Thus most see math as a pragmatic discipline, interesting only insofar as it is useful. Many mathematicians, on the other hand, see math in a different light. To them, math can be beautiful: in its forms and structures one finds patterns, symmetry, and harmony of all kinds. From the obvious aesthetic beauty in lattices and fractals to the deep and subtle patterns in the distribution of the prime numbers, there is beauty in mathematics. As such, math has served as an inspiration to artists of all stripes. For instance, many of the Renaissances finest artists were among the periods best mathematicians, and many of Bachs finest works are built upon simple mathematical formulas. Less obviously, mathematics has informed writers as well. One need only look briefly at the work of Katherine Stange, or the Franco-Italian collective Oulipo, or even more mainstream work of Hermann Hesse, including Magister Ludi , to see that math can play a meaningful role in the...
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