Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 August 2016
Recently a poem, written by Blanche Descartes in the 1930s, was republished in the Gazette, with the additional attribution ‘communicated via Cedric A. B. Smith’. Cedric had reported ‘it was written after Blanche heard that Hector Pétard was about to be married. She composed the verse as a wedding present. Hector is still active mathematically, though I suspect that he may be in his mid nineties’. We felt that readers might be interested to know something about the mysterious Blanche Descartes, and the origins of the poem. It makes quite a story. At the risk of boring you, we will start at the beginning.