On November 28, 2015 Dr. Amir D. Aczel, acclaimed mathematician and bestselling author of more than a dozen books on science and math, passed away unexpectedly. I have read two of his books, Why Science Does Not Disprove God and Finding Zero, and I would heartily recommend both books. Dr. Aczel had a very rare skill: he had the ability to translate complex and abstract scientific ideas into engaging and accessible stories for a general audience. The world needs scientists like Dr. Aczel – willing and able to make science available to everyone – more than ever.
Not only that, but Dr. Aczel was a kind and thoughtful person who took the time to personally respond to fans and readers. And this is something I know firsthand. Over a year ago, only a few short months into my blogging adventure here on Illustrated Poetry, I wrote my first post about “found poetry.” In particular I was discussing the definition that had been advanced by the poet Ronald Gross: ‘”Found Poetry” typically preserves the words as they originally appear, but may rearrange them into lines to “bring out their poetic quality.”‘ I was in the middle of reading Why Science Does Not Disprove God by Dr. Aczel, and one passage in the book had struck me as found poetry and so I included this rearrangement and pairing of his words with one of my photographs:
Later that day, Dr. Aczel himself wrote a comment thanking me! I was so surprised and thrilled – I called my partner over to the computer and was shouting “Look, look, I can’t believe it – LOOK!” I was truly touched that he not only took the time to read that post on my tiny little blog floating out there in the vast ocean of the internet, but he also paused to write a kind note. It was incredibly encouraging and I have never forgotten it. Thank you again, Dr. Aczel. Feel free to head over here to read the full original post, “This Poetical Life.”
Wonderful story about your virtual meeting with Dr. Aczel, Marcy. You never know whose watching.
Thank you, Olga! The internet is an amazing “place” – it’s true, you never know who will find your posts!
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What a shame that his death should be my introduction to such a kind, daring, and down-to-earth fellow. (I am putting both books you mention on my library list right now.) A moving tribute, Marcy.
Thank you, Sunshine – I hope you enjoy his books. I hope to read a few more of them, in particular Fermat’s Last Theorem. I wish I had had the chance to meet him in person when I lived in Boston!
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You never know how your work finds its way
That’s the magic
It was truly meant to be
Thank you, Sheldon! It is true – and I have told so many people about it – you really don’t know who will find your work and how! It was a magical moment. I was surprised and saddened to hear of his passing.
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