Why Wait for Science

Sarcastic Science, she would like to know,
In her complacent ministry of fear,
How we propose to get away from here
When she has made things so we have to go
Or be wiped out. Will she be asked to show
Us how by rocket we may hope to steer
To some star off there, say, a half light-year
Through temperature of absolute zero?
Why wait for Science to supply the how
When any amateur can tell it now?
The way to go away should be the same
As fifty million years ago we came—
If anyone remembers how that was
I have a theory, but it hardly does.
Robert Frost

 

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THE NON-EUCLIDEAN UNIVERSE

 

A line that looks dead straight can be an arc
like the horizon when you’re out at sea.
True distance is deceptive: in the dark
it can’t be measured. Yes, you made a mark
or two, in fact, but you can barely see.
A line that should be straight becomes an arc,
the path that’s traveled by a welder’s spark
when danger’s just a matter of degree.
Since distance can’t be measured in the dark
most people turn the light on. And the stark
divisions blind them with geometry.
A line that isn’t straight is called an arc—
no! Think outside the box! Perhaps a quark
moves like a knight in chess, a hop-two-three.
(True distance is deceptive.) In the dark
all rules break down completely. What a lark!
The future’s coming at you in 4D.
A line that should be straight looks like an arc.
True distance can deceive you in the dark.

by Anna M. Evans

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015
Tribute to Scientists

Distances

Just where that star above
Shines with a cold, dispassionate smile —
If in the flesh I’d travel there,
How many, many a mile!

If this, my soul, should be
Unprisoned from its earthly bond,
Time could not count its markless flight
Beyond that star, beyond!

–From Lyrics of life and love / by William Stanley Braithwaite [electronic text]
Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962.
Courtesy of the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative American Verse Project.

Relativity (a song by Tom Lehrer)

Einstein was the first who stated,
He was the first who dared:
Mass and energy are related,
By E = mc2.

 

When Isaac Newton wrote The Laws that we all quote,
It’s now extremely apparent that he
Neglected to consider — Relativity.

 

What focused our attention on the fourth dimension?
We’d been doing so well with just three:
‘Twas Mr. Einstein’s brainchild — Relativity.

 

Now who would think, and who’d forecast,
That bodies shrink, when they go fast.
It makes old Isaac’s theory
Look weary.

 

So then if you are near when atom bombs appear,
And you’re reduced to a pile of debris,
You’ll know it’s largely due to — Relativity.
Yes, you can place the blame on — Relativity.

 

These lyrics were published in Physics Today, July 2005, p. 59.

WAVE PARTICLE

A very interesting poem about the Big Bang:

best poetry blog in the cosmos

can the cosmos
suffer depression?

can the Universe
go paranoid-
schizophrenic?

we know
historically, scientifically,
they can explode
with happiness

or would that
be rage
(nothing to
tell us
but the
microwaves)

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The little folk

A wonderful poem about another human species:

The Cheesesellers Wife

Folk tales of little people abound
Retreating to the deep Earth
Now and then to emerge and engage
Ensnare or enslave
With trickery or with passion

Peripatetic you may have been
Leaving small trace of your lives
But deep in an African cave
We have found you
Naledi, little stars

We term the women who reclaimed you to the light
Underground astronauts
Yet you carried your beloved dead here
Through narrow clefts, over parlous depths
To lay them tenderly down to rest

As we stare into our deep past
And find you, Homo naledi
Those of us who wonder
Those of us who marvel
Are ensnared and enamoured

Copyright © 2017 Kim Whysall-Hammond

The discovery of fossils of a new human species  (Homo Naledi) is, in itself, a fascinating story. But why they are so ‘cool’ is very well explained by our fellow blogger on Fossil History at https://fossilhistory.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/homo-naledi-why-these-fossils-are-so-friggen-cool/

 

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Radcliffe Science Library poetry competition 2016

The Radcliffe Science Library ran a poetry competition in  2016, and the wonderful winning poems are availaibe for download at:

https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/science/about/poetry-competition-2016

Please go and discover!