Ode to Hippasus

I was so glad to be involved with this project of Hannah Hoffman. She had inquired on Twitter whether mathematicians could provide a proof of the irrationality of root two that rhymes. I set off immediately, of course, to answer the challenge. My wife Barbara Gail Montero and our daughter Hypatia and I spent a day thinking, writing, revising, rewriting, rethinking, rewriting, and eventually we had a set lyrics providing the proof, in rhyme and meter. We had wanted specifically to highlight not only the logic of the proof, but also to tell the fateful story of Hippasus, credited with the discovery.

Hannah proceeded to create the amazing musical version:

3 thoughts on “Ode to Hippasus

  1. If the square root of two was rational
    It then would have to be fractional.

    If it was a over b
    Then you must see
    This could not be actual

    For a-square over b-square would equal two
    But this certainly would not do

    With a bit of effort as we plod
    We see a could be neither even nor odd
    And this would be counter factual.

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