Built on Facts

Physics Poetry

A little off the beaten path today, I’d like to present two poems by two physicists who were both on my Ten Greatest list. They’re very different, one contemplative and loose in form, the other playful but more rigorous. It’s an interesting comparison.

Untitled
Richard Feynman

There are the rushing waves…
mountains of molecules,
each stupidly minding its own business…
trillions apart
…yet forming white surf in unison.

Ages on ages…
before any eyes could see…
year after year…
thunderously pounding the shore as now.
For whom, for what?
…on a dead planet
with no life to entertain.

Never at rest…
tortured by energy…
wasted prodigiously by the sun…
poured into space.
A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea,
all molecules repeat
the patterns of another
till complex new ones are formed.
They make others like themselves…
and a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity…
living things,
masses of atoms,
DNA, protein…
dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle
onto dry land…
here it is standing…
atoms with consciousness
…matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea…
wonders at wondering… I…
a universe of atoms…
an atom in the universe.

A Problem in Dynamics
James Clerk Maxwell

An inextensible heavy chain
Lies on a smooth horizontal plane,
An impulsive force is applied at A,
Required the initial motion of K.

Let ds be the infinitesimal link,
Of which for the present we’ve only to think;
Let T be the tension, and T + dT
The same for the end that is nearest to B.
Let a be put, by a common convention,
For the angle at M ‘twixt OX and the tension;
Let Vt and Vn be ds’s velocities,
Of which Vt along and Vn across it is;
Then Vn/Vt the tangent will equal,
Of the angle of starting worked out in the sequel.

In working the problem the first thing of course is
To equate the impressed and effectual forces.
K is tugged by two tensions, whose difference dT
Must equal the element’s mass into Vt.
Vn must be due to the force perpendicular
To ds’s direction, which shows the particular
Advantage of using da to serve at your
Pleasure to estimate ds’s curvature.
For Vn into mass of a unit of chain
Must equal the curvature into the strain.

Thus managing cause and effect to discriminate,
The student must fruitlessly try to eliminate,
And painfully learn, that in order to do it, he
Must find the Equation of Continuity.
The reason is this, that the tough little element,
Which the force of impulsion to beat to a jelly meant,
Was endowed with a property incomprehensible,
And was “given,” in the language of Shop, “inexten-sible.”
It therefore with such pertinacity odd defied
The force which the length of the chain should have modified,
That its stubborn example may possibly yet recall
These overgrown rhymes to their prosody metrical.
The condition is got by resolving again,
According to axes assumed in the plane.
If then you reduce to the tangent and normal,
You will find the equation more neat tho’ less formal.
The condition thus found after these preparations,
When duly combined with the former equations,
Will give you another, in which differentials
(When the chain forms a circle), become in essentials
No harder than those that we easily solve
In the time a T totum would take to revolve.

Now joyfully leaving ds to itself, a-
Ttend to the values of T and of a.
The chain undergoes a distorting convulsion,
Produced first at A by the force of impulsion.
In magnitude R, in direction tangential,
Equating this R to the form exponential,
Obtained for the tension when a is zero,
It will measure the tug, such a tug as the “hero
Plume-waving” experienced, tied to the chariot.
But when dragged by the heels his grim head could not carry aught,
So give a its due at the end of the chain,
And the tension ought there to be zero again.
From these two conditions we get three equations,
Which serve to determine the proper relations
Between the first impulse and each coefficient
In the form for the tension, and this is sufficient
To work out the problem, and then, if you choose,
You may turn it and twist it the Dons to amuse.

I’m not yet brave enough to try to write one of my own. One of these days!

Comments

  1. #1 Cuttlefish, OM
    February 10, 2009

    There is no force, however strong,
    To take a chain, however long,
    And make it straight, however tight,
    Against a weight, however light.

    (Not my own–I have adapted it from a purely accidental poem found in a physics book; the author, as I recall, had written about a string, not a chain, being pulled tight, but with a weight in the middle. If I am not mistaken–and the odds are, frankly, that I am mistaken–this “found verse” addresses the same problem as Maxwell’s verse.)

  2. #2 Uncle Al
    February 10, 2009

    A woman who could have been any Ma.
    Instructed her class down in Panama.
    With nozzle and hose,
    She cleaned whom she chose.
    “I thought that all ‘physiks’ were ‘enema'”.

  3. #3 Jonathan Vos Post
    February 10, 2009

    THE DENSITY OF DEATH
    by
    JONATHAN VOS POST

    Death enters the Physics Laboratory

    meanders past the magnets’ poles

    wires coil on spools and rolls

    the slide projector stops its story

    Darkness diffracts through sharp-edged prisms

    sweeps across oscilloscopes

    blackens textbooks’ indexed hopes

    and silences their catechisms

    An airless breeze turns supercool

    as volt-ohmmeter’s needle dips

    the teeth of the alligator clips

    are clenched unopening and cruel

    Not vacuum tubes that hold their breath

    nor manuals for engineers

    erase from blackboards of our fears

    the chalky fingerprints of Death.

    1520-1555 22 Apr 87
    [in Dr. Theodore N. Sarachman’s lab, Whittier College]

    Copyright 1996, 1997 by Emerald City Publishing.
    All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
    May be posted electronically provided that
    it is transmitted unaltered, in its
    entirety, and without charge.

  4. #5 Matt Springer
    February 10, 2009

    Cuttlefish, the original “accidental” version of that poem was in my 12th grade English book as an example of “found” poetry. I had completely forgotten about it, thanks for reminding me! Apparently the author has embarassed when it was pointed out (I’d have been proud, myself) and changed it to something not rhyming in latter editions. I think I can remember it:

    And no force, however great
    Can stretch a cord, however fine
    Into a horizontal line
    That shall be absolutely straight.

  5. #6 CCPhysicist
    February 10, 2009

    One of the more interesting ones, “Cosmic Gall” by John Updike, was just republished in The New Yorker (page 67 of the Feb 9&16 issue).

  6. #7 Rob
    February 10, 2009

    There was a young woman named Bright
    Who traveled faster than light.
    She set out one day
    In a relative way
    And returned on the previous night.

  7. #8 Geoffrey A. Landis
    February 10, 2009

    Very amusing! I particularly like the Feynman poem, although I do appreciate the craft required to keep coherent a rhymed poem of the length of the one Maxwell wrote.

    I’ll point out that the SF Poetry Association (“SFPA”) is a good resource for those interested in science and science fictional poetry, by the way (www.sfpoetry.net). I’l take the risk of self-promotion to mention that several of the poems in my collection Iron Angels would qualify as physics poems. (FMI, http://www.ironangels.net). Here’s one of the “Haiku about astrophysics” (originally published in Asimov’s SF):

    Summer
    Swelling blue-white star
    outshines the bright galaxy
    spraying iron, salt: us

  8. #10 Brian
    February 12, 2009

    Orbital Dynamics

    Two bodies fall
    Drawn in
    By force of mutual attraction
    Revolve
    Orbit ’round and around
    Their common center
    Off-set by inequality
    Converge
    Recede
    Return once more
    Inexorable pull counterbalanced
    By velocity
    Or fear
    Of eventual collision.

  9. #11 Blake Stacey
    February 13, 2009

    I recall Martin Gardner once wrote an essay about how apparent patterns can rise from randomness, and — intentionally or not — wrote a topic sentence which could be read as a self-referential couplet.

    Today we’ll explore some “patterns” in pi and e,
    And a bit of accidental poetry.

    (More or less — I read the essay years ago.)

  10. #12 Podblack
    February 14, 2009

    I did a collection of Science poems a while back – ‘Nothing in The ‘Verse Can Stop Me': http://podblack.com/?p=282

    One enjoyable one – ‘The Kiss Precise’ by Frederick Soddy – famous for Soddy’s formula, which he presented entirely in poetic form:

    For pairs of lips to kiss maybe
    Involves no trigonometry.
    ‘Tis not so when four circles kiss
    Each one the other three.
    To bring this off the four must be
    As three in one or one in three.
    If one in three, beyond a doubt
    Each gets three kisses from without.
    If three in one, then is that one
    Thrice kissed internally.

    …Four circles to the kissing come.
    The smaller are the benter.
    The bend is just the inverse of
    The distance form the center.
    Though their intrigue left Euclid dumb
    There’s now no need for rule of thumb.
    Since zero bend’s a dead straight line
    And concave bends have minus sign,
    The sum of the squares of all four bends
    Is half the square of their sum.

    There’s a great series of school posters that combine science and poetry, if you’re interested. :)

  11. #13 Podblack
    February 14, 2009

    Oh – and I cannot help mentioning this on Valentine’s Day, a song by Tim Minchin. Apparently it had his wife very upset with him, until he pointed out that it was in fact not about love – but about mathematics.

    “Look, I’m not undervaluing what we’ve got when I say
    That given the role chaos inevitably plays in the inherently flawed notion of fate,
    It’s obstruse to deduse that I’ve found my soulmate at the age of 17
    It’s just mathematically unlikely that at a university in Perth
    I happened to stumble on the one girl on earth specifically designed for me

    And if I may conjecture a further objection love is nothing to do with destined perfection
    The connection is strengthened the affection simply grows over time
    Like a flower
    Or a mushroom
    Or a guinea pig
    Or a vine
    Or a sponge
    Or bigotry
    … or a banana


    But I’m just saying
    I don’t think you’re special
    I mean… I think you’re special
    But you fall within a bell curve”

  12. #14 Brad
    February 14, 2009

    Given that it’s probably thirty years since I read it posted on the door of a lab in a physics building,
    Energy: A Vilanelle by John Updike must have made an impression on me.

    You can have poetry without strict form, and you can have strict adherence to the form and not have great poetry. But, like bonsai, when you have the form and meaningful content, you have something striking.

  13. #15 paradoctor
    February 15, 2009

    Elliptic flies the arc of Mars
    while falling free beyond the air.
    The Love that moves the sun and stars;
    its cosmic reach in inverse square.

    The time goes slow, the length turns thin,
    so heavy near the rate of light;
    an age’d meet a youthful twin;
    the side-effects of stellar flight.

    Unstable Nature’s planless plan
    will turn your prophesies to lies;
    you do not need a weather man
    to know which way the butter flies.

    In one direction, deeds conspire;
    forever lost is last year’s rose;
    the frost will never warm the fire;
    for tiny chaos always grows.

    The relic of an inward blast
    so dense and low, not even light
    nor any matter, slow or fast
    can flee a star as dark as night.

    O thrifty, lazy universe!
    Each mote and man and beast
    shall find a path it may traverse
    whose action is the least!

    Though motion plus position
    would figure the path exact,
    yet partial is precision
    because of the mote of act.

    How does it get from A to B?
    By _every_ pathway, plain or crazed;
    find action on each history;
    their sum is how its wave is phased.

  14. #16 paradoctor
    February 15, 2009

    Oops, quatrain 1 should end, “its cosmic reach IS inverse square”.

    And yes, I wrote these.

  15. #17 Angie
    January 18, 2010

    A String Theory Poem – what do u think?

    Spinning a String Theory.

    More than you know
    there is a space inside us all
    where the sun shines weirdly

    Where the dimensions can be felt intuitively
    but no guided tour will explain it to you sufficiently
    Like all great and wondrous things in life they must be felt with the heart or not at all

    This space opens to you suddenly and you are made aware
    of the whole parts of ourselves
    we leave ignored and unimagined

    It fills every space inside your soul instantly
    no less miraculous than the universe exploding outward

    Reality is like a cracked black sphere
    once you see the fault lines you
    realize the many layers like onion skin are wound tightly over one another

    Balance this strange knowledge
    with the mundane everyday life we all live
    And you’ll be spinning a string theory

  16. #18 Anonymous
    October 14, 2010

    Where physics & poetry meet, the world could be in for a treat, one tall and slender, one fat and round…

    How about this for a Unifying Theorum? Force, Boundary and the Law itself.

    What was the big bang, where does the universe end – yes at the same moment in solitary, separated, pure, time in the absence of space.

    There is more than one reason why time and space might separate – the end of the expanding universe, the collapse of a star, but that is why there is more than one Force. One force is needed for each situation in which space and time might separate. In each situation where space and time might separate a force is required that will bring the two back together in universal birth.

    In the absence of gravity, electro magnetic force will bring positive time and negative space back together, and vice-versa. You build the rest.

    Horizons are interesting.

    The big bang was explosion and implosion in equal measure.

    Time exists between dimensions in the absence of physics. You need poetry here.

  17. #19 Julio Lopez
    October 23, 2010

    (-inf, inf)

    It’s plane of existence runs without bounds.
    It’s tail streaks with colour.
    As it rushes by in can be seen pushing into oblivion.
    The hackneyed scenery waivers no pity.
    It’s perpituity creates a clamour.
    A strawberry like sound.
    Like a dandelion in a violent storm.
    My cartesian heart.
    My perrenial love.
    My extraneous answer.

    -Me

  18. #20 James Ph. Kotsybar
    November 27, 2010

    STRINGS ATTACHED
    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    Physicists foresee a utopia
    (once they squint through micro-myopia)
    where all of the forces of nature
    should become unified
    and be understood.
    Even in science,
    letting go is hard,
    and notions are the hardest to divorce,
    but, to reach there,
    they’ll have to discard
    their classical point-particles of force.

    While Newton works large-scale,
    his physics fail,
    and even Einstein’s theories can’t subsist,
    when applied to the sub-atomic scale.
    The answers they produce just can’t exist.

    Particle physics,
    in quantum foam, sank,
    when its researchers
    walked the length of Planck.

  19. #21 James Ph. Kotsybar
    December 24, 2010

    PENT SILLS
    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    These graphite singularities
    contain universes
    unconceived,
    awaiting
    the Big Bang
    of inspiration, but
    narrative particles
    escape like
    Hawking radiation —
    gravity’s diminution
    evaporatively slow,
    nearly virtual,
    and random.

  20. #22 James Ph. Kotsybar
    January 1, 2011

    LAB CAUTION
    –James Ph. Kotsybar

    Anger combines
    Readily with fear,
    Forming the acid hate –
    Active and volatile –
    Avoid direct contact.
    Harmful or fatal If swallowed.

  21. #23 Harley White
    January 10, 2011

    M-THEORY MUSINGS
    — Harley White

    What theory unifies forces, weak, strong,
    With gravity– also, to which belong
    All the string theories of why and because?
    To answer these queries, M-theory does.

    Proponents aver it offers clarity
    As to the issue of singularity.–
    Where there’s a will there’s a way,
    So they say…

    In the beginning our universe sprang
    From membranes colliding to cause a Big Bang…
    Hence matter and energy stem from vibrations of strings seen by seers
    In a music of spheres.

    One mode of vibration, or ‘note’, makes the string an electron,
    Another a photon…
    And what of Higgs-boson?

    There’s even a mode for the graviton, thought to have gravity’s force.
    So vibrating strings would then be the source
    To create tiny articles which we call
    Elementary particles– one and all.

    Dimensions– four plus compactified seven–
    Equal a total that’s oddly eleven…
    To wit, though string theories wound up at the tenth,
    They had to add one more that’s odd to the nth.

    Do we have enough sense or senses extended
    To fathom those p-branes M-theory intended
    And get to the bottom of hyper spacetime
    In this super multiverse theory sublime?

    What sounding vibration
    Strange seeming sensation
    Might set the strings strumming
    Or maybe branes humming
    Is something to ponder,
    One’s whimsies to wander–

    My mind like the wind evanescent can roam
    O’er billowing waves and ineffable foam
    With parallels plenty of our bubble home…

    Thus I heard
    M-theory’s word.

    Albeit in physics there’s much knowledge base,
    What waters of wisdom could ever embrace
    Such cosmic curled places with hyperspace face?

    Eerily far we’ve come to here
    From bards’ illusions yesteryear–
    When heavens would sing lullabies,
    With moon and stars to harmonize
    Midst luminescent light display
    That might have been the Milky Way
    Overturning all its jars
    In a shower of shooting stars…

    How flimsy, fleeting, and fragile life seems,
    In our floating realm like a land of dreams!

    Amen– let poets lyricize yet
    Sweeter reveries lest we forget
    Dearer wonders perchance of yore
    From whilom membranes nevermore
    Where earthlings gazed at clearer skies
    With yonders nearer to our eyes,
    In a once upon a time divine
    P-brane world of auld langsyne…

  22. #24 James Ph. Kotsybar
    January 13, 2011

    PARABOLIC HYPERBOLE
    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    “The Geometry of Gravity,”
    reads the card of the museum’s display
    where metal spheres are leisurely launched
    along the lip of a parabolic funnel.
    They eddy in a sort of perpetual motion,
    their descent as imperceptible as inevitable.

    Early on, they collide, kissingly,
    as the longer rolling
    elliptically hoist themselves
    into intersecting orbits.

    Fresher launches define their fall
    with ever increasing velocity
    into accelerated, deeper orbits,
    more stable, circular and unique.

    Their increasing forward speed
    diminishes their descent
    till they blur into fevered coils
    hung stationary at the funnel’s neck.
    They vibrate aggressively
    into ghosts that vanish
    into the mechanism
    that invisibly replaces each
    along the lip of this metaphoric model
    of the human condition.

  23. #25 Julia Lynne White
    January 18, 2011

    ODE TO A BLACKHOLE
    — Julia L. White

    Your mysterious darkness clutches my thought.
    It freezes my busy, bustling life.
    Your powerful mass that time forgot
    Releases my being from strain and strife.

    Oh primordial star, magnanimous weight!
    Your presence puts me in my place
    For you hold the power to crush and create,
    Blackhole you dominate all space.

    How many universes have you devoured,
    Since the beginning of all time?
    And how many stars have you showered,
    Across the vast space sublime?

    You are supreme timeless priest,
    For you hold no beginning or end.
    In your horizon existence has ceased
    And you become an eternal friend.

    But is my fleeting life inferior?
    My power cannot compare with you;
    Perhaps on a small scale I am superior
    For compared with a photon I am huge.

    Yes! Maybe I am a whole other universe
    With millions of galaxies on my thumb.
    And perhaps some creature is writing a verse
    About my alleged ad infinitum.

    Blackhole, what if our space is one micron tall,
    Trapped in a whole other dimension?
    Then which is the biggest, supremest of all?
    I think that the answer has to be none.

    Oh! I see you wonderful star.
    You divine, wise, magical dear.
    You help me realize the truths that are,
    Your message to me is now very clear.

    I should cherish all in existence,
    Each star, photon, person, and galaxy;
    For they are all matter attracted to dense
    And together make-up what is known as reality.

    Thank you blackhole for conveying this truth
    And showing our measure’s a sham.
    It is not size or power that determines my worth,
    The important thing is I am.

  24. #26 James Ph. Kotsybar
    January 22, 2011

    DARK MATTER
    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    The universe is mostly abnormal,
    if we accept that physicists aren’t wrong
    and gravity remains uniformal,
    otherwise galaxies couldn’t last long.

    They’d spin themselves apart, unless, unseen,
    missing mass resolves the disparity.
    Dark Matter is needed to intervene.
    Though not found, it can’t be a rarity.

    “The clusters are like icebergs,” they patter.
    “Since Newton’s math holds true, it must be served.
    There’s five times as much as normal matter,
    or else momentum’s poise can’t be conserved.”

    Though they’ll claim science is observation,
    that’s often tweaked to fit the equation.

  25. #27 Harley White
    May 20, 2011

    Dark Matter Matters
    — Harley White

    Dark matter seems to be
    What isn’t there to be seen
    In between
    What we see.

    They dub it dark since you cannot detect it
    Nor can they inspect it
    With telescopy.

    Yet, while it can’t be descried
    It cannot be denied
    For equations that irk
    To work.

    Should dark matter matter,
    Would dark matter matter
    A titter or twitter,
    A transmitter flitter,
    A spatter or smatter–
    This transparent matter–
    To other than fans of the science news
    Or hopefuls for lists of physics who’s whos?

    Like other matters of matter that matter
    A pitter or patter, a skitter or scatter,
    It has to be plumbed, summed up and summed down,
    Verified, clarified, ere it’s dumbed down.

    One cannot spot it with unaided eyes–
    Oh, may the way to explore it be wise!

    Some sons and daughters of Mother Earth’s waters
    And sands of the dreamlands of Father Time
    Are trying to fathom celestial history,
    Master its mystery, reason and rhyme.

    Physicists hunt for dark matter, to move it
    With particle accelerators, to prove it
    Exists as suspected, from data collected
    With outcome expected, eureka! projected…

    But let us remember that they call it dark.
    How can one discern an invisible quark?
    They’re searching to learn of this strange seeming stuff,
    For knowledge is power– there’s never enough…

    It’s thought our universe has a whole lot of it.
    Those who suppose it give info they’ve got of it…

    Dark matter exerts gravitational pull.
    It glues stars together, makes galaxies full.
    Unlike normal matter it plays hide and seek
    And so much of it’s interactively weak…

    Speaking of such massiveness subatomic,
    Its acronym is ironically comic…

    With or without this WIMP snicker factor
    There’s still a detractor or two around…
    Though a gamma ray clue may have been found
    In the center of our own Milky Way–
    Dark matter collisions, that is to say.

    A curious mind always digs and delves.
    Yet, are we not getting ahead of ourselves?

    High fly the dreams of the capped and gowned
    To be world-renowned, laureate-crowned…
    Breakthroughs in deep outer space astound…
    While here on the ground, horrors abound!

    Be it phantom or really elusively there,
    Dark matter inferred, if ever laid bare,
    When we’ve been interred, with nary a word
    To mark our swift passage, might have the last laugh
    With ‘what fools were mortals!’ for our cenotaph–
    ‘Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night:
    Humans unlocked them, but all was not light.’

  26. #28 evans muriuki muriithi
    August 1, 2011

    I like physic poems. thank you

  27. #29 Julia Lynne White
    August 17, 2011

    HUMPTY DUMPTY
    — Julia L. White

    Humpty had his gluteus maximus
    interfaced with a pseudo-igneous
    supporting structure.

    Humpty Dumpty acquired an angular
    force that necessitated a rapid
    acceleration towards the outer layer
    of the mantle culminating in an
    instantaneous pressure exerted
    by the ground on Humpty’s protective covering.

    The total accumulative force of the
    supreme feudal magistrate, in
    terms of his Equus and Homo-
    sapien carbon compounds, was
    unable to integrate Humpty’s
    fragmentation which was now
    randomly dispersed on the surface
    perpendicular to the pseudo- igneous
    structure.

  28. #30 Harley White
    August 19, 2011

    DARK MATTER MATTERS
    — Harley White

    Why are we matter and not antimatter,
    Or are we the latter and think that we’re not?
    Brought into contact the one with the other
    The two would annihilate right on the spot.

    Opposites attract— some do—
    But in this case it isn’t true,
    For in that mirror image clash
    The counterparts destroy their doppelgangers in a flash…

    And thus give rise to high-energy photons
    That is to say, to gamma rays,
    Or other particles like antiprotons
    In what could be another phase…

    While an antiproton and a positron can form
    An atom antihydrogen that’s almost the norm
    Of a hydrogen atom, a physicist, instead
    Made of antimatter— to continue with the thread—
    In antimatter lab with chemicals and stuff
    Composed of antiparticles too sure enough
    Would find in all experiments practically the same
    Results as would a matter twin with an equal aim.

    Whew! Loopy loo—
    Much ado…

    Strange all this difference should be
    ‘Twixt Tweedledum and Tweedledee…
    Though ‘ditto’ one the other goes,
    They took up quarreling as foes.

    Did Alice through the looking-glass
    Into antimatter pass—
    With Hatter mad, alack, alas,
    Sentenced to death by “Off with his head!”
    (Those were the words the Queen of Hearts said…)
    For song sung ‘murdering the time’
    Before a verdict for his crime—
    A wonderland dreamworld, vice-a verse,
    Contrariwise, not better or worse
    In sentience, style, and logic’s pith?—
    Ah, glory be that Carroll myth!

    Suppose that on further reflection
    We flip the direction
    Of time, flip left and right,
    The Red King to White,
    Change matter as well into antimatter…
    (Or is it reversely for this chit-chatter?)
    Ho, mercurial Hatta, mad Hatter!—
    Which do you think it might be? Let’s natter…

  29. #31 Harley White
    August 20, 2011

    ANTIMATTER CHITTER-CHATTER
    — Harley White

    Why are we matter and not antimatter,
    Or are we the latter and think that we’re not?
    Brought into contact the one with the other
    The two would annihilate right on the spot.

    Opposites attract— some do—
    But in this case it isn’t true,
    For in that mirror image clash
    The counterparts destroy their doppelgangers in a flash…

    And thus give rise to high-energy photons
    That is to say, to gamma rays,
    Or other particles like antiprotons
    In what could be another phase…

    While an antiproton and a positron can form
    An atom antihydrogen that’s almost the norm
    Of a hydrogen atom, a physicist, instead
    Made of antimatter— to continue with the thread—
    In antimatter lab with chemicals and stuff
    Composed of antiparticles too sure enough
    Would find in all experiments practically the same
    Results as would a matter twin with an equal aim.

    Whew! Loopy loo—
    Much ado…

    Strange all this difference should be
    ‘Twixt Tweedledum and Tweedledee…
    Though ‘ditto’ one the other goes,
    They took up quarreling as foes.

    Did Alice through the looking-glass
    Into antimatter pass—
    With Hatter mad, alack, alas,
    Sentenced to death by “Off with his head!”
    (Those were the words the Queen of Hearts said…)
    For song sung ‘murdering the time’
    Before a verdict for his crime—
    A wonderland dreamworld, vice-a verse,
    Contrariwise, not better or worse
    In sentience, style, and logic’s pith?—
    Ah, glory be that Carroll myth!

    Suppose that on further reflection
    We flip the direction
    Of time, flip left and right,
    The Red King to White,
    Change matter as well into antimatter…
    (Or is it reversely for this chit-chatter?)
    Ho, mercurial Hatta, mad Hatter!—
    Which do you think it might be? Let’s natter…

  30. #32 Harley White
    August 20, 2011

    Really sorry to post the same poem twice, but I accidentally attached the wrong title to the previous one, and I didn’t know how to delete it…

  31. #33 Gnanaprakash
    September 4, 2011

    Nice one.

  32. #34 Harley White
    September 9, 2011

    THE GRAVITY OF GRAVITY
    — Harley White

    Gravity keeps our feet on the ground,
    Stops us from slapdash flying around.
    This force of attraction ‘fictitious’ gives weight
    And makes all fall down at equivalent rate.

    (Albeit in flights of fancy it seems
    That gravity follows the laws of dreams.)

    Relativity caused Newton’s view to shatter,
    In positing spacetime to be curved by matter.
    So objects will take a particular path
    That must correspond with Einsteinian math.

    (The upshot is bodies have odysseys
    Appropriate to their geodesies.)

    Gravitons, a gravitational source
    Of controversy, are seen as a horse
    Of a quite different color altogether.
    But then scientists aren’t birds of a feather.

    (Some sit upon their a priori-based fences
    And come up with theories defying the senses.)

    Weak or strong, short or long, what is this thing
    Called gravity? Wide hypotheses swing.
    There are those who suppose that it’s this, others that.
    Maybe someday, they all just might have it down pat.

    (Meanwhile gravity, though we resize and shape it,
    Will still have its own way— for who can escape it?)

  33. #35 supratall
    September 10, 2011

    I particularly like the Feynman poem, although I do appreciate the craft required to keep coherent a rhymed poem of the length of the one Maxwell wrote.

  34. #36 Harley White
    October 20, 2011

    UNLESS
    — Harley White

    Muon neutrinos time of flight, (Einsteinian anomaly)…
    Particles that outpace light, upending relativity, (perchance)…

    We dance our physics dance and ponder–
    On and on presumptions wander–
    As we wonder here and yonder…

    Might we travel time’s trapeze,
    Sail dimensions like a breeze,
    Go before we came with ease?

    Yet though unfathomed wisdom’s sought,
    How can we know beyond our thought?
    Infinity eludes us– still,
    Finiteness is a bitter pill.

    We theorize to the skies,
    Plumb the depths where insight lies–
    But we see with earthly eyes,
    And this cuts us down to size.

    So we take our measurements
    And scan the score.
    Then what’s proven true is true…
    Unless there’s more…

  35. #37 seo backlinks
    December 4, 2011

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  36. #38 Harley White
    March 20, 2012

    UNLESS
    — Harley White

    (Revision)

    Muon neutrinos time of flight, (Einsteinian anomaly)…
    Particles that outpace light, upending relativity, (ahem)…

    Not so fast— lest we should be overawed,
    Humans are human… some data are flawed.
    Facts can turn fictional, rendered unsound.
    Researchers research for findings unfound…

    (Perchance)…

    We dance our physics dance and ponder—
    On and on presumptions wander—
    As we wonder here and yonder…

    Might we travel time’s trapeze,
    Sail dimensions like a breeze,
    Go before we came with ease?

    Yet though unfathomed wisdom’s sought,
    How can we know beyond our thought?
    Infinity eludes us— still,
    Finiteness is a bitter pill.

    We theorize to the skies,
    Plumb the depths where insight lies—
    But we see with earthly eyes,
    And this cuts us down to size.

    So we take our measurements
    And scan the score.
    Then what’s proven true is true…
    Unless there’s more…

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