British Science Week

British Science Week runs between 10th March - 19th March. It’s a 10 day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths. The week aims to raise awareness, spark enthusiasm and celebrate science, engineering, technology and maths with people of all ages and from all walks of life.

The theme this year is connections and there are free activity packs to download for schools and communities. Each pack includes a wide range of fun, hands on activities and loads of useful information for planning events for the week.

Smashing Stereotypes also returns for another British Science Week celebrating the diverse people and careers in science and engineering. Since it’s launch in 2020 the Smashing Stereotypes campaign has encouraged hundreds of people working in science, technology, engineering and maths to share stories about their day- to- day work as part of British Science Week.

But what if Shakespeare and Beethoven had been interviewed for British Science Week? What would they have said about their day-to-day work? Is mathematics the basis of poetry and music?


British Science Week - On the Assertion that Mathematics are the Basis of Poetry & Music


When Shakespeare learned his twice times table 

He said, “I think I should be able 

By skilled manipulation,

To make a living fairly stable,

As well as poems marketable 

With this one stipulation - 



“That Euclid’s name shall not outshine 

The praise that numbers will make mine

By laws of mathematics:

For what is poetry, divine,

But simply building line on line

Equations and quadratics?”



Beethoven, too, found hours of pleasure 

In marking out rule and measure 

Scales major and chromatic.

He said, “I’ve surely found a treasure 

And means to occupy my leisure 

With these here mathematics!



To Newton’s height I now aspire

Yes! Quite as high and perhaps higher - 

It’s sure I can’t be wuss - 

For all my burning muse of fire 

Is simply this: my keen desire 

To know the calculus”.



Now isn’t it an awesome thing

That men should write and likewise sing

All through the three times table?

That by the changes you can ring

On simple tables you can bring 

King Lears and fugues admirable?



You see what lisping numbers do:

You may become a Newton too - 

A Shakespeare perhaps in passing - 

For it’s most certain and most true

It all began with twice times two

And it’s well worth your amassing!


Ian Henery

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