Erik Amézquita

PFFIE Postdoctoral Fellow

Plant Sciences and Mathematics @ University of Missouri

Describing Demeter

Demeter was the Greek goddess of the harvest, agriculture, fertility and religious law. She, as the rest of the Greek deities, was an embodiment of multitasking and multidisciplinarity. In fact, most of the Olympus had to supervise multiple tasks each, as it seems that economic trouble and budget constraints have plagued Greece since ancient, mythological times. Demeter must have had a precise knowledge of yields and cycles of all the different crops, along with fine-grained details on how each variety of cereal reacts to different soils, climates and farming practices. On top of that, she had to supervise and assist the proper following of sacred rules. With such a packed schedule, she needed to identify quickly the important traits of numerous cultivated plants. Perhaps a thorough, informed glance at the shape of each grain and spike revealed to her all the information required to understand the yield and resistance properties of different plant species. Maybe Demeter used mathematics, especially algebraic topology, the mathematical study and description of shape.

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barley_panicle
A cavernous bell pepper!