Saturday, October 3, 2009

I am the very Model for a Student Mathematical

This poem was excerpted from "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering, Third Edition"

I am the very model for a student mathematical;
I've information rational, and logical and practical.
I know the laws of algebra, and find them quite symmetrical,
And even know the meaning of 'a variate antithetical'.

I'm extremely well acquainted, with all things mathematical.
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical.
About binomial theorems I'm teeming with a lot o'news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

I'm very good at integral and differential calculus,
And solving paradoxes that so often seem to rankle us.
In short in matters rational, and logical and practical,
I am the very model for a student mathematical.

I know the singularities of equations differential,
And some of these are regular, but the rest are quite essential.
I quote the results of giants; with Euler, Newton, Gauss, Laplace,
And can calculate an orbit, given a centre, force and mass.

I can reconstruct equations, both canonical and formal,
And write all kinds of matrices, orthogonal, real and normal.
I show how to tackle problems that one has never met before,
By analogy or example, or with some clever metaphor.

I seldom use equivalence to help decide upon a class,
But often find an integral, using a contour o'er a pass.
In short in matters rational, and logical and practical,
I am the very model for a student mathematical.


When you have learnt just what is meant by 'Jacobian' and 'Abelian';
When you at sight can estimate, for the modal, mean and median;
When describing normal subgroups is much more than recitation;
When you understand precisely what is 'quantum excitation';

When you know enough statistics that you can recognise RV;
When you have learnt all advances that have been made in SVD;
And when you can spot the transform that solves some tricky PDE,
You will feel no better student has ever sat for a degree.

Your accumulated knowledge, whilst extensive and exemplary,
Will have only been brought down to the beginning of last century,
But still in matters rational, and logical and practical,
You'll be the very model of a student mathematical.

*K. F. Riley, with apologies to W.S. Gilbert

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