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Mathematics (HMC)

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Mathematical Constance (A Poem Dedicated to Constance Reid)

I think that I shall never see

A constant lovelier than e,

Whose digits are too great too state,

They're 2.71828…

And e has such amazing features

It's loved by all (but mostly teachers).

With all of e's great properties

Most integrals are done with … ease.

Theorems are proved by fools like me

But only Euler could make an e.

I suppose, though, if I had to try

To choose another constant, I

Might offer i or phi or pi.

But none of those would satisfy.

Of all the constants I know well,

There's only one that rings the Bell.

Not pi, not i, nor even e.

In fact, my Constance is a she.

It's Constance Reid, I would not fool ya'

With Books like Hilbert, Courant, and Julia.

Of all the constants you will need,

There’s only one that you should Reid.


First published in The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 108, no. 5 (May 2001), pg. 423, by The Mathematical Association of America.

Published version includes the text "with apologies to Joyce Kilmer."

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© 2001 Mathematical Association of America

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