Math-Po (Mathematical Poetry): Goldbach’s Conjecture

by | Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My previous post (Poetry, Science & Math, OR why I love the web) mentioned a challenge by Sue VanHattum of “Math Mama Writes” to “write a little kids’ poem … and that tells of the beauty of math, or, that mentions math and challenge, both in a positive way.” Well, I got inspired and took a part of my lunch break today to write something up. I am not sure it technically fits Sue’s challenge but here it is none the less. [If you are interested in learning more about the history and mathematics behind Goldbach’s Conjecture, one of the oldest unsolved problems in mathematics, check Goldbach’s Conjecture on Wikipedia.]

Goldbach’s Conjecture
Goldbach, a mathematician, serious and stern
Many years ago noticed a pattern
He wrote, to Euler, the math genius
Here is something, he said, to excite us!

I have seen, he scribbled, with my imagination
That every even digit
(except two, which doesn’t fit)
Can be broken into a partition
Of two primes which add
To the original even digit
(Now, Euler, don’t fidget!)
But isn’t that totally rad!

Now since that day this simple thesis
Remains just that, a hypothesis
Forcing number lovers to lose their slumber
As they try to prove, primes in pairs can add up to any even number.

(Two is the exception, as we said before
Which is, come to think of it, a bit of a bore).

You can see an original of the letter that Goldbach wrote to Euler at

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