The great English mathematician was a phenomenally creative thinker and wanted very much to write poetry. It took his friend William Wordsworth to gently point out that his talents did not lie in that direction. "You send me showers of verses which I receive with much pleasure ... yet we have fears that this employment may seduce you from the path of science."
(Submitted by Edmonton poet Alice Major)
Alice Major will publish her ninth collection of poetry in spring 2010, with the University of Alberta Press, and is working on a book of essays about the intersections between poetry and science. Her poem "Symmetries of Dilation" is based on the mathematical idea of symmetry and is featured in our “Great Poems” section below.