British Science Week Celebrations

The Poet in Residence of Wolverhampton’s radio station, WCR FM, which broadcasts on 101.8 FM and online, is urging Wolverhampton to celebrate British Science Week between 10th March – 19th March.

“It’s a 10 day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths” explained Ian Henery, Poet in Residence.  “The week aims to raise awareness, spark enthusiasm and celebrate science, engineering, technology and maths with people of all ages and from all walks of life.”

The theme this year is connections and there are free activity packs to download for schools and communities.  Each pack includes a wide range of fun, hands on activities and loads of useful information for planning events for the week.

Smashing Stereotypes also returns for another British Science Week celebrating the diverse people and careers in science and engineering.  Since it’s launch in 2020 the Smashing Stereotypes campaign has encouraged hundreds of people working in science, technology, engineering and maths to share stories about their day- to- day work as part of British Science Week.

But what if Shakespeare and Beethoven had been interviewed for British Science Week?  What would they have said about their day-to-day work?  Is mathematics the basis of poetry and music?

British Science Week – On the Assertion that Mathematics are the Basis of Poetry & Music
When Shakespeare learned his twice times table
He said, “I think I should be able
By skilled manipulation,
To make a living fairly stable,
As well as poems marketable
With this one stipulation –
“That Euclid’s name shall not outshine
The praise that numbers will make mine
By laws of mathematics:
For what is poetry, divine,
But simply building line on line
Equations and quadratics?”
Beethoven, too, found hours of pleasure
In marking out rule and measure
Scales major and chromatic.
He said, “I’ve surely found a treasure
And means to occupy my leisure
With these here mathematics!
To Newton’s height I now aspire Yes!
Quite as high and perhaps higher –
It’s sure I can’t be wuss –
For all my burning muse of fire
Is simply this: my keen desire
To know the calculus”.
Now isn’t it an awesome thing
That men should write and likewise sing
All through the three times table?
That by the changes you can ring
On simple tables you can bring
King Lears and fugues admirable?
You see what lisping numbers do:
You may become a Newton too –
A Shakespeare perhaps in passing –
For it’s most certain and most true
It all began with twice times two
And it’s well worth your amassing!
Ian Henery