Math + Poetry = FibsGAMBIER, Ohio (July 7, 2006) Forget haiku. The hottest short-form poetry today is the Fib: a compact lyric with a syllable count derived from the Fibonacci sequence. Inspired by this trend, the Kenyon math department recently sponsored a Fib-writing contest with prizes offered for the top-rated entries.
The Fibonacci sequence is a numerical series in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Adapting the sequence to the literary realm, a classic Fib is a six-line, twenty-syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8. Its popularity spread rapidly when a single blogger began to feature the form in 2006; an article in the New York Times attracted even more attention to the new art form.
Winners of the competition, all math or physics majors, exhibited a genuine flair for poetry. Professor Carol Schumacher, chair of the math department, reports that one prize was to be awarded for best poem overall and one for the "geekiest math poem."
The winning math entry, written in faux computer code, was titled "void prizeMoneyCollector(container& myWallet string& best)" by Joe Kloc, a junior from Grafton, Ohio:
myWallet plus fifty dollars;}
There was a tie for the best poem overall. One of the two winners, Julia Rowny, a junior from Chevy Chase, Maryland, gently spoofs a classic mathematical puzzle:
Fermat's Last Theorem!
(The proof's too long to fit here, though.)
Sharing the honors was Lee Kennard, a senior from Seville, Ohio, whose Fib ponders the origins of the universe:
spins, sparks --
all in tune.
Musician or sage?
I think God was a math major.
And in one final example, senior Matt Zaremsky, of Yellow Springs, Ohio, seeks to simplify the mathematician's life:
Let's just set it equal to 3…