Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sentence Structure in Mathematical Poetry

Here is a detail of the equation from above

Today I would like to share part of a conversation I had with Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino dated December 2, 2005 …

Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino said:

You have to find the analogy between math and the grammar of the sentence, and make your "math" work within that grammar.

Kaz Maslanka said:

I am not sure if I understand exactly what you are saying but I find grammatical similarities in physics equations all the time. For example F = ma ---- force is equal to mass times acceleration. “ma” could easily be seen as a clause where mass is the subject and acceleration is the predicate. Many of my polyaesthetic pieces rely on physics equations to supply a sub-context for the piece. Lets look at the piece from “Karmic influences on the double helix” First we must talk a bit about physics. This piece utilizes the physics equation for Energy. E = Fd Energy is equal to force multiplied by distance. In other words the Energy expended on an object is equal to force applied to that object continually spread over a distance. The latter sentence obviously has grammatical qualities and is synonymous with the equation. We also know that F = ma. Now lets break force into its components of mass and acceleration and substitute (ma) for ‘F’ it in our equation that defines energy.

E = (ma)d or E = mad

In other words the Energy expended on an object is equal to the accelerated mass of that object applied continuously over a distance. (Notice again that we are using words to be synonymous with the actual equation)

Even the equation can easily be mapped with sentence structure. The energy in question is equated to Fd or (ma)d where ‘m’ is the subject ‘ad’ is the predicate and d is the object of the verb ‘to accelerate’ To reiterate the mass is the subject and ‘acceleration over a distance’ is the predicate where ‘over the distance’ is the object of the verb ‘accelerate’

Before we look at the poem lets take a look at the distance formula (in two dimensions) used in analytical geometry. In a nutshell the distance formula is the Pythagorean theorem mapped onto a Cartesian coordinate system. e.g. the hypotenuse of a right triangle is the distance we wish to solve and we can do so by using the difference in the y values as one leg of the triangle and the difference in the x values as the other leg of the triangle. This whole mess is a lot easier to see visually. Click here

Now let us look at the poem.

The energy in question is “Karmic Energy” which is equal to the ‘mass’ being the phrases: the conscious embryo, rampart, through the viridian passage” multiplied by the ‘acceleration’ which is “misfortunate paranoia” and multiplied by the distance between the concepts of the difference between the concepts of “the discovery of the wheel and extra-dimensional travel” and the difference between the concepts “single cell intelligence and the discovery of the wheel”

You can see that the poem follows the exact sentence structure of the physics equation, Furthermore the physics equation serves as a paradigm or metacontext for the poem to ‘ride’ or ‘be carried ’ in.

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