Some Security Questions - A poem by Fellow Judy Brownfellowship
To celebrate World Maths Day on the 15th October we're delighted to release Some Security Questions, a poem by Arts and Culture Fellow Judy Brown. During her Fellowship Judy worked with Professor Peter Challenor from the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence to explore Uncertainty Quantification, a method of using complex numerical models that can help predict the climate, design aeroengines and model the human the heart.
This poem is one of a number that were written as a result of their time working together.
Some Security Questions
Q: What were the stupid questions? A: There aren’t any,
the statisticians said, but this was maths, so they could
be out there, capable of being asked. You might find one
holed up in some hard-to-fathom 5D keysafe
downwind of the site manager’s office. Q: Are any cats kind?
A: Some questions crack your teeth on the way out.
Harmful as polonium, they pose a risk even to the poisoner.
Experts say you can handle them, like dangerous dogs,
by whispering your mother’s maiden name,
into a magnetically constructed containment device.
Q: Your first school? A: Asking a question doesn’t rid you of it.
You still own the dog, pouchy and violent. OK, the agent
would text you the code in Health & Safety’s usual 2D.
But when you reached your hand into the opening
your mind couldn’t seem to accept what came out.
Our kitten was was pretty shaken up by its first mirror.
At this age you’ve anthologised all your worst shames
The others are safe as plasma in the toroidal machine.
Q: All I ask is an evening viewing my second-best humiliations
in B&W, the old dog back on the sofa. It’s the best question
and I deserve an answer. A: It happened, and this is what it was like.
© Judy Brown 2019
Image courtesy of Judy Brown.
You can find out more about Peter and Judy's project 'Uncertain Rigours' here.