I found this nice limerick on Charles Petzold’s blog:
Said the man about town, ‘I have a flair
For squaring the circle, I swear.’
But he found that the strain
Was too great for his brain,
So he’s gone back to circling the square.
Petzold has a scan of the title page of E. H. Hobson’s 1913 book Squaring the Circle, and this limerick is hand-written on that page.
I was wondering if any of you knew the source of the limerick. I was not able to find any references to it on the internet. Petzold wrote in his blog that the name of the original owner of the book (which he bought from a used book store) was written inside the book: F. B. Allison. Perhaps Mr. or Ms. Allison is the poet responsible for the limerick.
A google search pulls up a few hits for a Rev. F. B. Allison of Chesterfield. It looks like he was an (amateur?) astronomer. His name came up in reference to the Crater of Archimedes on the moon. These astronomy articles were all in the 1879-1885 time period. So, while it is not out of the realm of possibility that Rev. Allison was the owner of this 1913 book, it is a larger gap of time than I’d like.
I was not able to determine who named the crater after Archimedes. I think it would be wonderful if Allison named this crater after the great mathematician Archimedes and more than 35 years later penned the limerick in this book about ruler and compass constructions. We will probably never know, but let me know if you have any information about this.