Sarah Glaz and Mark Sanders

mathematician and poet; collage and ceramic artist
University of Connecticut; free-lance
Connecticut, USA; Northamptonshire, UK
The poet, Sarah Glaz, resides in the US. She is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Connecticut specializing in the area of commutative algebra. Her poetry is often inspired by mathematics and its history. Mark Sanders, from Northamptonshire, UK, is a collage and ceramic artist whose work engages with surrealism. His collage construction is driven by research and combines materials already in his stockpile with new components as required by the subject. This is the second poem-collage pair on which Sarah Glaz and Mark Sanders collaborated. This piece is part of their larger joint poem-collage project involving the ancient history of mathematics.
Square Root of 2
30 x 42 cm
Digital print, collage materials, paper, ink
In the 5th century BCE, the Pythagorean Hippasus of Metapontum discovered the existence of irrational numbers. Particularly, he had shown that square root of 2, which is the length of the diagonal of a square with a unit side, is irrational. For his sin, legend has it, he was thrown overboard during a sea voyage. The poem plays with the imaginary possibility that his murder occurred before he breached the Pythagorean code of secrecy and made his discovery public; while the collage represents, as well as extends, visually the poem’s content and imagery. Both poem and collage incorporate the decimal expansion of square root of 2, and other of its mathematical properties, in their structure. See the link under the image for more information.