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**clerihew**is an irreverent, rhyming quatrain based on a fanciful biographical theme, which begins with the name of its subject. A cousin to the limerick, the clerihew is a form of short comic verse which was popular in England in the 1920s.The name "clerihew" came from the middle name of the English journalist named Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) who developed the novel verse form.

On the mathematician-architect, Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), Bentley wrote:

*Sir Christopher Wren**Said, "I am going to dine with some men.*

*If anybody calls*

*Say I'm designing St. Paul's."*

Let’s focus our attention slyly on some famous mathematicians and math educators of yesteryear.

*Paul ErdÃ¶s*

Wasn’t crazy about MS-DOS

For his brain worked like a cutter

Sharper than any MS-DOS computer

Wasn’t crazy about MS-DOS

For his brain worked like a cutter

Sharper than any MS-DOS computer

was nobody's fool:

but never forget⎯

his mathematical legacy is the empty set.

**George Boole**was nobody's fool:

but never forget⎯

his mathematical legacy is the empty set.

⎯ Robin Harte

**Fibonacci da Pisa**

Who exported Hindu numerals as far as Czechoslovakia

Is remembered today for a pair of highly fertile rabbits

Which kept on reproducing in the most irrational habit.

*Archimedes of Syracuse**,*

To get into the news,

Called out "Eureka"

And became the first streaker.

To get into the news,

Called out "Eureka"

And became the first streaker.

⎯J. C. W. de La Bere

*Clerihews on a Singapore Mathematician-Amateur*

What about composing a few clerihews for the new millennium? Here are two on Singapore's Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who would have undoubtedly become a first-class mathematician had he not followed his father's political footsteps.

*Prime Minister Lee*

Reluctantly had to flee

His beloved mathematical brethren

To take charge of some political harem

Reluctantly had to flee

His beloved mathematical brethren

To take charge of some political harem

*Brigadier General Lee*

Could not foresee

His mathematical love

Succumb to a political move

Could not foresee

His mathematical love

Succumb to a political move

*K C Yan*

*Didn't think he can*

Churn out some clerihews

Until he knelt onsome pews

Churn out some clerihews

Until he knelt on

Who's your "mathematical idol" (dead or living)? Why not formulate some clerihews about him or her? And share them with the rest of us.

Eves, H. (2003).

*Mathematical circles Vol III: Mathematical circles adieu and return to mathematical circles*. The Mathematical Association of America.

© Yan Kow Cheong, February 6, 2011