The Mathematician in Love

A mathematician fell madly in love
With a lady, young, handsome, and charming:
By angles and ratios harmonic he strove
Her curves and proportions all faultless to prove.
As he scrawled hieroglyphics alarming.

He measured with care, from the ends of a base,
The arcs which her features subtended:
Then he framed transcendental equations, to trace
The flowing outlines of her figure and face,
And thought the result very splendid.

He studied (since music has charms for the fair)
The theory of fiddles and whistles,-
Then composed, by acoustic equations, an air,
Which, when ’twas performed, made the lady’s long hair
Stand on end, like a porcupine’s bristles.

To the polka and waltz, an equation;
But when to rotate on his axis he tried,
His centre of gravity swayed to one side,
And he fell, by the earth’s gravitation.

No doubts of the fate of his suit made him pause,
For he proved, to his own satisfaction,
That the fair one returned his affection;-“because,
“As every one knows, by mechanical laws,
“Re-action is equal to action.”

“Let x denote beauty,-y, manners well-bred,-

“z, Fortune,-(this last is essential),-
“Let L stand for love”-our philosopher said,-
“Then L is a function of x, y, and z,
“Of the kind which is known as potential.”

“Now integrate L with respect to d t,
“(t Standing for time and persuasion);
“Then, between proper limits, ’tis easy to see,
“The definite integral Marriage must be:-
“(A very concise demonstration).”

Said he-“If the wandering course of the moon
“By Algebra can be predicted,
“The female affections must yield to it soon”-
-But the lady ran off with a dashing dragoon,
And left him amazed and afflicted.

By William J. M. Rankine

Read more:Victorian scientists’ poetry: An anthology

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Chandrasekhar Limit

Perhaps I shine brightest now,
but my energy has changed;
what I know is difficult to know
in simple space and time;
passion is a system dying,
if not making new.

Precious is a luxury,
a jewel with maintenance.

I am a white dwarf, long in the truth
of life and death, weighted with mission
that follows me like a shadow,
a penumbra I must now leave behind.

This is the way of creation, nothing
begets nothing. Darkness moves me
into the light.

 by Richard Maxson

https://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/2016/08/18/top-10-science-poems/

Taunton axe

A fine archaeological poem by the archaeologist Mick Aston:

the urban prehistorian

Serendipitous encounter with

the material culture of urban prehistory

unexpected discovery

the happenchance of sewage infrastructure

small find destined to be documented, drawn

and stored in a box

once found, then forgotten again

almost unknown

unknowable

indicative of an act: loss, disposal

or the outcome of a process: erosion, river-washed

the slow accumulation of the archaeological record

drifting until discovery

on the riverbank

beside the cricket ground

by Mick Aston off the Time Team.

stone axe from taunton drawingNotes: on the 30th June 1974 Mick Aston, then a field archaeologist with Somerset County Planning Department, found the butt of a Neolithic polished stone axe on the spoil heap of a trench that had been dug beside the River Tone, in the centre of Taunton, for sewage works. The broken axe was green in colour, had been bashed around by the river, and was broken. Analysis by the Petrology Implement Committee identified the possible…

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To the Chief Musician upon Nabla: A Tyndallic Ode

I come from fields of fractured ice,
Whose wounds are cured by squeezing,
Melting they cool, but in a trice,
Get warm again by freezing.
Here, in the frosty air, the sprays
With fern-like hoar-frost bristle,
There, liquid stars their watery rays
Shoot through the solid crystal.

 

I come from empyrean fires—
From microscopic spaces,
Where molecules with fierce desires,
Shiver in hot embraces.
The atoms clash, the spectra flash,
Projected on the screen,
The double D, magnesian b,
And Thallium’s living green.

 

We place our eye where these dark rays
Unite in this dark focus,
Right on the source of power we gaze,
Without a screen to cloak us.
Then, where the eye was placed at first,
We place a disc of platinum,
It glows, it puckers! will it burst?
How ever shall we flatten him!

 

This crystal tube the electric ray
Shows optically clean,
No dust or haze within, but stay!
All has not yet been seen.
What gleams are these of heavenly blue?
What air-drawn form appearing,
What mystic fish, that, ghostlike, through
The empty space is steering?

 

I light this sympathetic flame,
My faintest wish that answers,
I sing, it sweetly sings the same,
It dances with the dancers.
I shout, I whistle, clap my hands,
And stamp upon the platform,
The flame responds to my commands,
In this form and in that form.

 

What means that thrilling, drilling scream,
Protect me! ’tis the siren:
Her heart is fire, her breath is steam,
Her larynx is of iron.
Sun! dart thy beams! in tepid streams,
Rise, viewless exhalations!
And lap me round, that no rude sound
May mar my meditations.

 

Here let me pause.—These transient facts,
These fugitive impressions,
Must be transformed by mental acts,
To permanent possessions.
Then summon up your grasp of mind,
Your fancy scientific,
Till sights and sounds with thought combine
Become of truth prolific.

 

Go to! prepare your mental bricks,
Fetch them from every quarter,
Firm on the sand your basement fix
With best sensation mortar.
The top shall rise to heaven on high—
Or such an elevation,
That the swift whirl with which we fly
Shall conquer gravitation.

by  James Clerk Maxwell

The trick is slick code

The trick is slick code to manage
all the if, for, and while statements
in a optimized number of lines.
Pass a list, fix the syntax, import all the variables.
Comment your lines and indent where necessary,
leaving line breaks and whitespace
for readability.

by Monica Sharman

from https://www.tweetspeakpoetry.com/

Valentine by a Telegraph Clerk (male) to a Telegraph Clerk (female)

The tendrils of my soul are twined
With thine, though many a mile apart.
And thine in close coiled circuits wind
Around the needle of my heart.

Constant as Daniel, strong as Grove.
Ebullient throughout its depths like Smee,
My heart puts forth its tide of love,
And all its circuits close in thee.

O tell me, when along the line
From my full heart the message flows,
What currents are induced in thine?
One click from thee will end my woes.

Through many a volt the weber flew,
And clicked this answer back to me;
I am thy farad staunch and true,
Charged to a volt with love for thee.

 

Read more:Victorian scientists’ poetry: An anthology

“On breathing the Nitrous oxide” Poem by Humphry Davy

On breathing the Nitrous Oxide
Not in the ideal dreams of wild desire
Have I beheld a rapture wakening form
My bosom burns with no unhallowed fire
Yet is my cheek with rosy blushes warm
Yet are my eyes with sparkling lustre filled
Yet is my murmuring mouth replete with dying sound
Yet are my limbs with inward transports thrilld
And clad with new born mightiness around

by Humphry Davy