Math 108: Models of Life
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A Mathematical Poem by Howard Nemerov:

Poet Laureate of the United States during 1988-1990, Howard Nemerov (1920-91) served as a combat pilot during World War II. From 1969, a teacher at Washington University, Nemerov published numerous collections of poetry and several novels. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for his Collected Poems

                           "Figures of Thought"

To lay the logarithmic spiral on

Sea-shell and leaf alike, and see it fit,

To watch the same idea work itself out

In the fighter pilot's steepening, tightening turn

Onto his target, setting up the kill,

And in the flight of certain wall-eyed bugs

Who cannot see to fly straight into death

But have to cast their sidelong glance at it

And come but cranking to the candle's flame --

How secret that is, and how privileged

One feels to find the same necessity

Ciphered in forms diverse and otherwise

Without kinship -- that is the beautiful

In Nature as in art, not obvious,

Not inaccessible, but just between.

It may diminish some our dry delight

To wonder if everything we are and do

Lies subject to some little law like that,

Hidden in nature, but not deeply so.

Student webpages submitted as part of the final project in previous semesters:

Final Poster Session: Click here to see class photos from previous semesters and topics of study.

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