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Higher Education
Galveston College lecture to focus on patterns and symmetry in math and poetry
News Release
Friday, January 18, 2019

GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas – Galveston College will present “Confluence: Patterns and Symmetry in Mathematics and Poetry,” a lecture featuring chemist and poet Dr. Michael G. Smith on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Abe and Annie Seibel Foundation Wing on the Galveston College campus, 4015 Ave. Q, Galveston, Texas.

The lecture is the third in the college’s 2018-19 lecture series, Our World and Beyond: The Integration of Modern Technology and the Humanities. 

“Nature provides templates to visual artists and writers alike,” said Dr. Smith in describing his presentation. “It is also a springboard full of questions for mathematicians. For example, using numbers, equations or models, how does mathematics visualize an ocean coastline, the human circulatory system, or a sunflower’s seed pattern? Often mathematical visualizations finds their way into art and poetry.”

In this presentation, Dr. Smith will explore some of the ways poets and artists use mathematics and share how Fibonacci, sestina and fractal poems have arisen.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Smith who is an accomplished chemist and a poet to present at our lecture series this year on such, at first glance, different topics as mathematics and poetry," said Dr. Laimutis Bytautas, chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee at Galveston College.

"After a deeper look, surprisingly, the mathematical concept of symmetry that is frequently observed in nature and a concept of beauty found in arts and humanities are closely related. Dr. Smith is an excellent speaker to reveal the deep and mysterious link between symmetry and patterns in mathematics and poetry. We would like to welcome everybody to attend this exciting lecture."

As a chemist, Dr. Smith has held research positions at the University of Texas at Austin, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Montana State University. He taught mathematics at Santa Fe Community College (New Mexico). His poetry, haiku, haibun and essays have been published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, Crannóg, Nimrod, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Sin Fronteras, and other journals and anthologies. “No Small Things,” a volume of poetry, was published by Tres Chicas Books. “The Dippers Do Their Part,” a collaboration with visual artist Laura Young of haibun and katagami from their Shotpouch Cabin residency in the Coast Range of Oregon, was published by Miriam’s Well. “Flip Flop,” a collection of haiku co-written with Miriam Sagan, was also published by Miriam’s Well.

The Oregon Poetry Association selected his poem “Disturbance Theory” for its fall 2017 New Poets Award.





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