How to Teach Physics to Your Dog Poetry Contest


There once was a dog from Niskayuna...

The previous post announced a photo caption contest for a chance to win an advance proof copy of my book, How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, six(-ish) months before it's available for purchase. I thought I should include something for the less visually inclined, though, and I do have two extra galley proofs, so...

Announcing the Official How to Teach Physics to Your Dog Poetry contest. The idea is simple: write a short poem involving both dogs and physics in one of the usual short verse forms (haiku, limerick, double dactyl, whatever, as long as it has some sort of rhyme and meter). If your poem is selected as the winner, I'll send you an advance uncorrected proof of the book.

Obligatory contest rules and disclaimers:

  • Entries may be submitted by leaving the poem in a comment to this entry, or by emailing the poem directly to me.
  • One entry per comment/ email, please. You can enter more than once, but please put each entry in its own comment or email.
  • Entries must be received by 5pm Eastern on Sunday, June 30th, as determined by the time stamp on the comment/email.
  • The winner will be chosen by a jury consisting of the residents of Chateau Steelypips (me, Kate, Emmy, and SteelyKid). All award decisions are final.
  • The winner will be announced on the blog sometime next week, at which time I will contact the winner for shipping instructions.
  • All entries should include permission to reproduce them either on the blog or on

If you win the proof and want to post a review on the web/ recommend it to all your friends/ pass it on to your close personal friend, Oprah Winfrey, that'd be appreciated, but there's no obligation to do anything in particular with it.

So, get to it!

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Wait, Haiku don't have rhyme or meter!

Beautifully, Dutifully,
Emmy the elegant
Poses for pictures, with
Evident ease;

Helps with translating the
Thoughts of her human, to
Bunnies and Cheese!

The sleeping dog's dream--
Mozzarella String Theory
and Quantum squirrels.

Canine: the Crown of Creation
with apologies to Jefferson Airplane
by Jonathan Vos Post
Copyright (c) 2008 by Emerald City Publishing


"Heaven goes by favor.
If it went by merit,
you would stay out and
your dog would go in."
-- Mark Twain

Verse and Chorus:

You are the Crown of Creation
You are the Crown of Creation
and you've got no place to go.
Want to go out? For a walk?

Soon you'll attain the stability you strive for
because the locations of the poles of the transfer function
are in the left half-plane of the complex frequency plot
as we cut through this parking lot
with telephone poles
theory of controls
and move more briskly, start to trot
in the only way that it's granted
I'm enchanted
now that you've panted
all excited, never docile
lesser dogs you gladly jostle
your fidelity's colossal
among all canines, you're apostle,
in a place among the fossils of our time.

In loyalty to their kind
with ratio undefined
double helix intertwined
they'd better get resigned
we're ascending, they've declined
they cannot tolerate our minds.
Acceptance is hard,
but heed Saint Bernard:
"Qui me amat, et canem moum" *
Who loves me, will love my dog
got to be cruel to be kind
with the Dog Star we're aligned
supervisor call instruction
Darwinian fitness
sexual reproduction
as dog's my witness
it's mutual induction
In loyalty to our kind
we cannot tolerate their obstruction.

"It's been a hard day's night,
and I've been working like a dog."
-- John Lennon, A Hard Days' Night, 1964

Verse and Chorus:

Life is Change
the rocket range
Life is Change
derivative's directory
Life is Change
integrating the trajectory
Life is Change
How it differs from the rocks
the rocks with fossil bone
one way ticket to the Twilight Zone
I've seen their ways too often for my liking
your wagging tail
so very striking
let's go running
let's go hiking
New worlds to gain
your noble heart's internal drive
My life is to survive
and be alive
for you
only for you
You are the Crown of Creation
You are the Crown of Creation
and you've got no place to go.
Want to go out? For a walk?
Good dog!

* St. Bernard, In Festo Soneti Michaelis: Seermo Primus, 1150

11 Feb 2008

Must entrants be human to qualify?

The best dog poetry I know of, sadly ill adapted to physics education, showed up in a contest run by The Oregonian in the early '90s: "You gonna eat that? / You gonna eat that? / You gonna eat that? / I'll eat that." which Google finds attributed Birch, kept by Karen Shepard, as noted in and elsewhere.

By Nathan Myers (not verified) on 22 Jun 2009 #permalink

Emote to the theme of Gilligan' Island, The Yellow Rose of Texas, or nearly anything written by Emily Dickenson (if you're brown-nosing a grade).

The Queen of Niskayuna

A dog once sought to quantify
What others had observed.
She sat and rolled for Maxwell,
That skeptics thought absurd.
She barked so at path integrals
That Maple shed a tear.
And ere Taylor converges,
I'll buy her doggie beer.

She's sweet with Gauss's field contours,
She's tart with del-squared phi.
She's salty with free bodies,
All bitterness denied.
You boast about your undergrads
Incoming then forgot.
My dog from Niskayuna
Is smarter than the lot.

My grading sheet rests heavily,
With numbers not with names.
Student bodies matter not,
Performance but remains.
My dog from Niskayuna
Blew all of them away.
Diversity will sue my ass,
Will process served today.

There once was a fortunate dog
Who barked about "Physics, by god!
"My wonderful master
"has made all disaster
"Seem simple and not merely odd!"

I know. Keep the galley proof...

Chad you forgot one important rule; the science interhedron poet laureate, Cuttlefish, is banned from participation! Given that competition it's not worth trying!

Physics Fun!

An adiabatic circut
Is a jog around the block
Stopping at Bettiâs.

Visiting Aunty -
Birkhoff's relativity...
Free will forgotten!

A Buckingham Pie
No cloning and No-broadcast -
Breakfast at Clairaut's !

BraggâGray cavity
Time for a dentistâs visit...
Noether's wisdom tooth.

Parallel axis
HellmannâFeynman mayonnaise
And Haag's fruit yoghurt!

An optical sine
Thereâs no-communication ...
Density function.

Bellâs carnivora
A canine fluctuation...
New Pekingese!

Cluster decomposition ...
LeggettâGarg chew-bones!

Caniformia words...
MerminâWagner dictionâry...
LeeâYang pedigree!

Mustard with a very sharp bite...
My canis loves it!

By Tanja Cilia (not verified) on 23 Jun 2009 #permalink

Braggingly, waggingly
Emmy the Emporess,
Smart as a Shepherd, and
Sly as a fox

Facile with words like "Ge-
Still wants the cat in a
Very real box

Quick question, with regard to local dialect: Does Emmy (and for that matter, do you) pronounce "squirrel" as one syllable, or as two?

Also, I have looked a few places, and maybe I am missing an obvious link, but do you have chapter titles listed somewhere?

"Squirrel" tends to be two syllables, though when Emmy gets excited, it comes out as one.

The table of contents for the book is in this post. The pagination has changed, of course, but those are the chapter titles.

One necessity of teaching: a facility for reaching
Through the mass of preconceptions that can settle like a fog,
And may block new information, or bring misinterpretation;
Thereâs a remedy for some of this: try thinking like a dog!
Thatâs the premise of the method that Professor Orzel plied
With the Queen of Niskayuna by his side!

She told him of the habits of the Niskayuna rabbits
How they sometimes seemed to vanish in the Niskayuna air
It would help her with her chases if she occupied two places
And could trap the little bunnies as theyâre running to their lair.
Oh, the yummy little bunnies would have nowhere left to hide
If the Queen of Niskayuna could divide!

âSpooky barking at a distanceâ clearly needed her assistance
So they wrangled with entanglement and tackled it with ease;
She learned how to beam a bunny, which to humans may sound funny
But to dogs itâs just as plausible as bunnies made of cheese.
There are laws of Quantum Physicsâand they will not be deniedâ
Which the Queen of Niskayuna takes in stride.

Here the uses and mis-uses (and occasional abuses)
Quantum Physics has been saddled with, are rendered clear for you,
With occasional referrals to the Niskayuna squirrels
(Who are never to be trusted, and are evil through and through).
So begin the thrilling journey that these essays will provide
With the Queen of Niskayuna as your guide!

(I am saddened to discover itâs not Emmy on the cover
But some fancy dog professional who likes to cock his head.
He may look all nice and quizzical, But Emmyâs quantum-physical,
Although, perhaps, as royalty, sheâs not one to be led.
Though the picture on the cover she was callously denied,
Itâs the Queen of Niskayuna whoâs inside!)…

A short poem for dog

When the food is gone, my pup wags its tail
Wanting more but with no prevail
I watch that tail wag
Going up with a bounce and down with a sag
Newton, under his apple tree
came up with brilliant hypothesi
What goes up must come down
And thats what moves fido's tail around

By Henry de Koeyer (not verified) on 25 Jun 2009 #permalink

m-E Limerick

Emmy is both dog and equation

and leads to energy conservation

with rest mass Newtonian simplistic

which bunnies of cheese make relativistic

That's Einstein's mass-Energy relation!

By R. de Koeyer (not verified) on 27 Jun 2009 #permalink

A dog who seeks morsels organic
Such as bunnies that tremble and panic
Must be fast and observing
And strong and deserving
And informed about quantum mechanic

She told him of the habits of the Niskayuna rabbits
How they sometimes seemed to vanish in the Niskayuna air
It would help her with her chases if she occupied two places
And could trap the little bunnies as theyâre running to their lair.

She told him of the habits of the Niskayuna rabbits
How they sometimes seemed to vanish in the Niskayuna air
It would help her with her chases if she occupied two places
And could trap the little bunnies as theyâre running to their lair.

My final effort:
Dog and God Particles meet--

(hopefully posted just in the nick of time)

Thanks wouldappreciateletters thanks rushing out

By Robert McLoed (not verified) on 24 May 2010 #permalink

ThanksI have been writingsomeon and off.wouldlike instructions toimprovemy work,write scientifically and philosophically, artist

By RobertMcLeod (not verified) on 24 May 2010 #permalink