by Nilima Nigam, Fall, 2014

h, p, d or g

combine of these any three,

FEM in a periodic table,

Conforming, commuting and mighty stable.

If the numbers don't converge

the method hears a sombre dirge

If instead they go too well

the method may be quite spectr-el.

The Circus at the IMA

adaptive work, refined play;

from those (and not!) at the meeting

to Doug, a special birthday greeting.

by Lars Wahlbin, Fall, 2011

Every Point at Avery,

Is much above the Average.

I heard some people say:

"Could we switch with Dmitriy?"

Said the newborn Mariner,

To the happy, plenty crowd:

"Alas, I like my Elements,

Water, Wind and Rain and Clouds."

On a pleasant inland coast,

Even with less sun,

This Circus has been fun,

Warmed by our host.

by Lars Wahlbin, Spring 2011

While joint meetings of the Finite Element Circus/Rodeo were held at the
University of Texas in Spring 2000

and at Louisiana State in Spring 2008, this meeting a the University
of Chicago Center in Paris, June 3-4, 2011,

must count as a Fabulous First: The FE Fair, the Rodeo, and the
Circus combined.

It was organized by Christine Bernardi (Paris), Vivette
Girault (Texas A&M) and Ridgway Scott (Chicago).

About 35 people attended, and while we do not have a complete record, to the
best of our investigations,

the Circus showed the flag with seven members:
Andrew Barker (Louisiana State), Alan Demlow (Kentucky),

Todd Dupont (Chicago),
Rick Falk (Rutgers), Peter Monk (Delaware), Victor Nistor (Penn State) and
Ridg Scott (Chicago).

No recorded poem for this occasion has been found, so instead the special
menu at the Le Train Bleu restaurant is given:

Foie gras de canard compote'e d'oignons rouges

Souris d'agneau confite jus au thym/Gratin dauphinois

Brie de Meaux

Mi cuit tout chocolat, chantilly cacao

Cafe', Pays d'Oc viognier, Me'doc chateau Plagnac.

by Nilima Nigam, Fall 2010

The Circus came from far away

to party at the IMA;

All these people highly keen

to honour Falk, Pasciak and Wahlbin

The messages were loud and clear

for PDE we all hold dear

Even though the slides flew by

speedier than asking 'why'?

`Hybridize your DG so

the error and the work be low!'

`Exterior calculus shall save us all

Use a complex, big or small!'

`Keep your talks not too long!'

Constraints from organizers, fairly strong

[This panick'd scribe they brow-beat

to craft this verse, (a minor feat).]

No matter what our FEM may be

h-conforming or h-p

we all do (in faulty meter)

thank Johnny, Jay, and Peter.

The message from the assembled `crew'

(and yes, there were some sailors few)

Dear Rick, Lars and Joe

Happy birthday, and many more!

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2010

In the fair town of Providence,

At a University named Brown,

There is plenty much of evidence,

They will never win the Ivy basketball crown.

On the other hand, on the evidence,

The Brown Circus wins, hands down,

One can say with much confidence,

That glorious DG crown of renown.

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 2009

Stand in one little spot,

Shake your bending moments hot,

That's when you got something,

Yeah, you got a lot.

It is elements a-shaking,

Shaking hot as they can be,

Yeah, some elements a-baking,

Down in Knoxville Tennessee.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2009

This Circus in Delaware,

May have made you aware,

To use care and avoid the snare,

To fall for deficiences bare,

Beware, be fair, and then dare!

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 2008

To model gradients extreme,

With confidence most supreme,

Study element methodology.

Compare with the topology,

Of Troy; and then dream or scream.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2008

A Circus and a Rodeo bring,

Elements that glow like bling,

Add a roaming tiger, too,

And you will have a Zoo,

Lots of horseplay in the ring.

by R. Falk, Fall 2007

The talks were flying by

At the Circus at Cornell.

Where one stopped and the next one started

Was almost impossible to tell.

In my mind, the talks have merged to one.

And I am sure you will agree

After hearing just the title.

It's the best in history.

L-infinity estimates and fast solvers

For methods nonconforming, mesh free, or DG

For the Darcy-Stokes-Monge-Ampere equation

With a corner singularity.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2007

There was a young man named Galerkin,

In numerical methods researchin'.

On even days smooth and continuous.

On odd days rough, discontinuous.

A divide in Galerkin was lurkin'.

by R. Falk, Fall 2006

Thirty-six talks at the Penn State Circus.

It's great we've achieved such renown.

But my talk was just getting started,

When I was told it was time to sit down.

All my best results left unsaid.

I was really quite perturbed.

Perhaps if we held the next circus in Antarctica,

I would get all the time I deserve.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2006

UMBC, the place to be,

For finite elementers, he or she,

Knowing what's now,

Growing know-how,

Glowing news of elements in MD.

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 2005

**On the mathematics of two of the founding fathers of the Circus on the
occasion of their 75th birthdays.**

Jim and Bruce, they got the juice,

They know how to cruise,

In waters Mathematical.

They are in their element,

They do their Theorems cement,

With Proofs pure and economical.

Among ensnaring, snaky integrals,

And choppy, sharp differentials,

They navigate with ease.

Yes, it's all breezy, it's all so easy,

When THEY pull the barge,

Those two Mathematicians at large.

Yes, they can do whatever they please,

They can follow their whim,

They know how to swim, do Bruce and Jim.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2005

Gauss and Seidel had a flair,

For solving their systems with care.

The importance of getting it right,

So the numbers will shed true light;

Of this were Gauss and Seidel aware.

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 2004

A lovely number born in Greece, ever ready to tease,

PI a maiden of Hellas, toyed with a Syracuse fellow:

"I like being irrational, transcendental and random,

You are so very rational, but can you catch a phantom?"

Ardent Archimedes, in turn set his clever Hunter's snare:

"For a phantom and enigma, a mirage and chimera,

You do cut solid figures, spheres, paraboloids, what not,

They make me hot to trot to untie that Hymen's knot,

Ninety-six elements I hope we merrily shall share,

3 10/71 < PI < 3 1/7,

I'm longing to embrace you in our Seventh Heaven."

Lovely PI was pleased to be so gently squeezed:

"I'll add my elementary and very merry share,

Both Earth and crisp October Air,

But mostly I'll your mind inspire,

In Water and with Fire."

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2004

Finite Elementers all felt the urge,

To converge at U. of Pittsburgh.

Their spirits surged, indeed they splurged,

Their thoughts meshed and truly merged.

From clownish pitt-falls all purged,

Finite elements emerged, boldly verged.

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 2003

Courant, Friedrichs and Lewy

they pitched their tent at night.

They had been drinking heavy,

they couldn't get it ... straight.

They stumbled in the dark,

they couldn't find the light.

They all had lost their spark,

they didn't look too bright.

But then they all sat down

to really start to think.

"We really are all clowns,

we really truly stink."

But they were charismatic,

and in a very blink,

with thinking charact'ristic,

they found the missing link.

"I think we aimed too high

it got to be unstable.

Let's lower our sights,

and start when we are able."

Soon the blinking stars,

their light-rays straight, unbent,

shone down on our three Stars

in their cozy circus tent.

The night was soon all gone,

the sun came up to glance:

Sweet dreams inside their cone,

had Dick and Kurt and Hans.

by R. Falk, Spring 2003

If you missed it,

It's a pity.

We had quite a circus

In the Motor City.

Zhang and Zhang picked the date

And hosted us at Wayne State.

Ivo was there, it was nice to see.

We listened intently to his philosophy.

Validation and verification

Were his themes.

Without them, we have only

Worthless schemes.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2003

On the fair campus of Wayne State,

We were given verification,

That finite elements are, simply, great,

In helping us in validation.

The terminology may be confusing,

Maybe we mean validation

of the methods we try to be using

in modeling verification ?

What we can all validate,

What struck us all uppermost,

What we can all verify:

The Zhang Brothers are super hosts !

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 2002

Mathematicians came; like lambs looking tame,

Not-any lions in sight?

Their theorems true; did though shine through,

As tygers burning bright.

What immortal hand or eye,

Dared frame their fearful symmetry?

Sweet delight of endless strain,

In the furnace of the brain,

Glor'ous mor'ns of sweet delight,

When your thoughts shine bright and right,

Endless nights of strain and pain,

When your brain goes down the drain.

Glorious infinity,

Is sun rise to eternity,

Infinities of elegance,

Grace dancing Finite Elephants.

by L. Wahlbin, Spring 2002

A Circus at Maryland

Is a pleasant affair.

You walk to the Math Home

And climb up the stairs.

Mathematics will greet you;

It's all in the air.

Old and New Friends will meet you.

Yes, it's that atmosphere.

If I were an M.D.

Healing Body and Soul:

A Circus at MD

Prescribed, makes you whole.

A Circus at Maryland

Is indeed a Most Pleasant Affair.

by R. Falk and R.B. Kellogg, Fall 2001

Heeding the words of GWB,

Continuing on our path,

A reduced but still energetic group

We presented our latest math.

Maxwell, powder, fluid flow,

The applications swirled,

Then engineer Mareno gave

A glimpse of the real world.

Discontinuous elements

Appeared at the circus again,

History is cyclical

And good ideas remain.

by L. Walhbin, Spring 2001

The Rotunda gives the Big Top idea,

The Lecture Room is Top Notch, we agree,

What Perfect a Venue,

for a Circus Adventure;

for algorithms for DE in DE.

by B. Kellogg, Fall 2000

A numerical analyst named Bubba

Had considerable stability trouble.

For some help he was sent

To the circus he went

At a campus named after George W.

To explain he was offered the floor

His ideas were splattered with gore.

With his scheme inconsistent

His errors were persistent

At the end he was thrown out the door.

by R. Falk, Spring 2000

When the Rodeo joins the Circus,

It's an event you shouldn't miss.

It's a time to learn of new results

And a chance to reminisce.

The Circus founders knew it

And were there, just as long ago

To see Finite Elements still going strong.

Was there ever a doubt that would be so?

by L. Wahlbin, Fall 1999

The Millennium closes,

And so will this Circus;

Are Foundations done Right for the next thousand years?

Is reasoning Bright,

Are arguments Tight,

Will they Live in the next thousand years?

When Work sheds Light,

And is Bright and is Right,

It SHINES, through the next thousand years.

by R. Falk, Spring 1999

We got the order of speakers at the first circus

By drawing numbers from a hat.

In recent times we've gone high tech

Using a random number generator to do that.

Some complained, so Doug's computer

Now makes the sounds of days gone by.

If he can make it look like Mary Wheeler

We old-timers may start to cry.

Author's notes: 1. In the early circuses, Mary Wheeler was chosen
to draw the numbers.

2. This poem provides an updated ending
to the poem of Fall 1996.

by R. Falk, Spring 1998

It was the first circus ever in Denver

And Leo put on quite a show.

His web site had all the info

And the signs told you where to go.

He got the sun to shine on the Rockies

And the snacks were the best and most.

If Leo would only reimburse my airfare,

I'd make him permanent circus host.

by M. Suri, Fall 1997

In the land of magic and mythica,

Laid I mine eyes on the maiden of Ithaca.

I followed her to where she did dwell

In the shimmering kingdom they call Cornell.

A posteriori estimates at her feet did I lay,

Logarithms for her love I did slay.

Domains I decomposed, to amuse here

Secrets of superconvergence did I peruse her.

I hoped to win her over this way,

But my heart sank when she did say:

"Finite elements do nothing for me

I care not a whit for hp...

"If my hand 'tis your wish to secure,

Try not to be such a bore.

There's one big mistake you're making, pal...

This lady's a finite *difference* kinda gal!"

by D. French, Fall 1997

The time to discuss finite elements once again came around;

The circus was in Ithaca where fall colors could be found.

Alas, many of the usual performers did not appear

But we still gave our talks and they were all perfectly clear.

The lectures were excellent as we all would attest.

Lars vigorously chased that nasty logarithm pest,

John Osborn explained how badly our method could perform,

And from Jinchao Xu a new multigrid algorithm was born.

But the conference was quieter without Ivo to run the show:

No clapping or yelling to keep us all in tow.

His questioning and badgering were all part of the game

And he would not let us forget the L-shaped domain.

The Cornell circus will soon come to an end;

We have now shown where all our approximate solutions will tend.

So back to our homes we must now go

To refine more meshes before the next circus show.

by R. Falk, Spring 1997

The circus in the Big Apple,

I knew it was meant to be,

When Olof showed his unstructured mesh

And it was a map of NYC.

by R. Falk, Fall 1996

We used to determine the order of speakers

By drawing numbers from a hat.

Now we use a laptop computer

And random numbers to do that.

Someday, we may only have a virtual circus,

Connecting by computer and phone.

I knew when I let those new guys run the circus

They would not leave well enough alone.

by R. Falk, Spring 1996

We came to South Carolina

To a circus hosted by Sue.

She made sure the azaleas were in bloom

And got Hootie and the Blowfish to be there too.

The talks proceeded at a leisurely pace,

An unheard of thirty minutes was each speaker's due.

It seems that all is well in the finite element world

Except for Ivo, who was home with the flu.

by R. Falk, Spring 1993

OK, Ivo, so it's a little terse.

Be grateful you are getting any verse.

Author's note: This poem was written under extreme pressure from our peerless leader.

by R. Falk, Fall 1991

Dedicated to R. Bruce Kellogg on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday.

Why the name "Finite Element Circus,"

I was asked some time ago.

Bruce Kellogg had just finished speaking

And my questioner was anxious to know.

Well, of course it's not really a circus, I said.

There are no lions, trapeze, or tents,

And I can't recall a time in which Bruce

Actually mentioned finite elements.

Hey, R. Bruce, can you help me out on this one?

Or have we all been really dense.

To have used for over twenty years,

A name that makes no sense.

by R. Falk, Spring 1990

One of the first circuses I remember

Took place here at Cornell.

Since many of you weren't around back then,

There are some things that I should tell.

Al spoke in his own time slot

And prepared his talk ahead.

And Ivo didn't stop the speakers

Until everything was said.

After Jim talked about the analysis

Of the method of least squares,

We all went to dinner at MacDonalds.

Hey -- back then we didn't have L'Auberge.

Well, maybe my memory is a little fuzzy,

And it didn't happen quite that way.

Still, we must have done something right,

'Cause the Circus is going strong today.

by R. Falk, Fall 1989

He asks me to name the great circuses.

I say Ringling Brothers in number one with me.

Number two was the Finite Element Circus

Held in eight-nine at UMBC.

What made that second circus so great?

I never heard of it, he intones.

Well, how could I explain that to a guy

Who doesn't know lions from Lions.

by R. Falk, Spring 1989

In the early years of the Circus,

The number of talks were few.

There was no inf-sup to guide us

and the h version was all we knew.

Since then we've made much progress,

But the basic principle is as before.

No matter how great you think your results are,

You get twenty minutes and no more.

by R. Falk, Fall 1988

When Happy Valley beckoned,

I was anxious to get started.

I knew the trip would take four hours

No matter from where I started.

To get to the Penn State Circus,

I'd drive through a raging inferno.

It's not that I care about finite elements.

I just want a glimpse of Joe Paterno.

by R. Falk, Spring 1988

In the good old days of finite elements

You knew just where you stood.

The elements used all conformed

And behaved just as they should.

But now the integrations are reduced

And the methods all mixed and hybrid.

If this kind of nonsense doesn't stop.

I'll use finite differences instead.

by R. Falk, Fall 1985

When the Circus comes to Brookhaven,

All its members feel secure.

No mathematical spies can get by the guards.

Of that you can be sure.

There is one slight problem, though,

And it concerns the breakfast cereal.

That unusual taste you raved about

Was honey coated nuclear material.

by R. Falk, Fall 1984

You say you need a fast solver,

Because your algorithm is much too slow.

You say you need to move your meshes,

But don't know which way to go.

You say you have a singularity,

But don't understand pollution.

And that the physical quantity of interest

Looks nothing like your computed solution.

If these are some of your troubles, friend,

There's no need for you to despair.

Just come down to the Finite Element Circus

And consult the experts there.

by R. Falk, Spring 1981

When the Circus comes to Maryland,

Its always a special treat.

We lunched at what Oui magazine calls

"a place that can't be beat."

Before dinner Ivo hosted a great party

With unlimited alcoholic consumption.

But the highlight was my fortune cookie.

It said: you will need an inverse assumption.

by R. Falk, Spring 1979

There once was a fellow named Storm,

Who used meshes not quasi-uniform.

With considerable urging, he got approximations converging,

But only in some negative norm.

by R. Falk, Fall 1978

There once was a fellow named Dare,

Who approximated PDEs with great care.

But the solutions were rough

And the problems were tough.

So he only got O(h^2).

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