Friday, June 04, 2010

The q-disease

Special Functions,
by Andrews, Askey and Roy.
Here's a belated review,
and a thank you.


Beauty in mathematics,
said Polya,
is seeing the truth
without effort.

in The Book
is as elegant,
as could be.

as simple,
as effortless,
as should be.

as beautiful,
as it is.


The Book
is an introduction.
A gateway.

pulling you in, 
inviting you
to enter.

And try a problem
on your own.

Or find
your own proof
of a classic theorem.


And then,
you experience
the heady rush,
that comes
when you get
an idea.

the disappointment,
the idea
doesn't work.

And then again --
another idea.
And another
intoxicating rush.


Or perhaps
you wish
to derive
a q-identity.

And experience
the peaceful flow
found in
symbolic calculation.

The meditative calm
which comes
when you know the next step,
without knowing why
its the next step.
When things work out
almost by themselves.

And the wave of
when the RHS
equal to
the LHS.
and magically,
at the last step.

A Warning:
This book has been known to
infect people with 
the q-disease.


Enter at your own risk.
This is The Book.
And this gateway--
this is
The Gateway.
Once you are in,
it is impossible to return.

The q-disease
has no cure.

Not if you have been infected
by Special Functions,
written by
Andrews, Askey and Roy.


Book Review:

Special Functions,
George E. Andrews, Richard Askey and Ranjan Roy,
Encyclopedia of Mathematics and its Applications,
Cambridge University Press (1999).

GB's Math Poettary
Written on June 4, 2010, Professor Dick Askey's Birthday. 


Punya Mishra said...

Is it true... I mean, did you
really write a poetic review
of a book on maths no less
Quite cool, I must confess.

I do know, if I take a look
at this special functions book
much of what you see
Will be lost to me

That said, one thing I do understand
Math and poems can go hand in hand
I am helped in this insight, you see
By reading GB's Math Poettary!

Gaurav Bhatnagar said...

Am glad that the comment rhymes...even if the original posts don't have any rhyme or reason!