Notes on Piet Hein

Piet Hein Piet Hein (1905-1996) was a Danish poet and scientist with wide ranging interests. Millions of his countrymen knew him as Kumbel, the pen name he used for his poetry. He was a genius with many different sides. In addition to discovering the Soma cube, he created a new geometrical form, the "super-ellipse", which is something in between the rectangle and the ellipse. The form also came in a 3D version and was then called "the super egg" or "the super-ellipsoide". As an artist and constructor, Piet Hein in the 50's and 60's gave form to beautiful pieces of furniture, and he contributed to make "Scandinavian design" become an international conception. Internationally he always tried building a bridge between the "hard" technical and natural sciences and the "soft" humanistic subjects.
--some of the imformation above from Stavanger Aftenblad 4-18-96

Below is a sampling of Piet Hein's "Grooks", as his poems were known. He wrote in several languages.

Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishment
When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
Things Take Time.
Naive you are
if you believe
life favours those
who aren't naive.
Problems worthy
of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back.
The road to wisdom? - Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.
Whenever you're called on to make up your mind,
and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.
No - not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you're hoping
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