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After the revolution, she passed the boys' exam
and became the first woman in the Luzitania,
students of Nikolai Luzin known for
their interest in a new kind of math,

descriptive math, something more like
philosophy, sometimes described as
mathematics for ladies.

This particular lady worked on functions
converging “almost everywhere”
(a precise term po-trigonometricheski)

and she herself converged almost everywhere, too:
Paris, France; Lvov, Poland; Bologna, Italy;
even a mountain pass named for her lover, Nemytski,
whom she later married.

She married Nemytski, but some say her real love
was Luzin. They say she was despondent at his death,
and that when she was not yet sixty (in other words, 59),
she threw herself in front of a Moscow Metro train.

There’s no way to know. It could have been an accident.
But when a woman had made her name calculating
functions that converge almost everywhere,
we have to think she knew what she was doing.

Jessy Randall’s poems and stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, Nature, and Scientific American. Her most recent book is Mathematics for Ladies: Poems on Women in Science (MIT, 2022). She is a librarian at Colorado College, and her website is
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26 Feb 2024

I can’t say any of this to the man next to me because he is wearing a tie
Language blasts through the malicious intentions and blows them to ash. Language rises triumphant over fangs and claws. Language, in other words, is presented as something more than a medium for communication. Language, regardless of how it is purposed, must be recognized as a weapon.
verb 4 [C] to constantly be at war, spill your blood and drink. to faint and revive yourself. to brag of your scars.
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