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Januari 4
August 12
From: <dawool#NoSpam.bellsouth.net>

   Schroedinger's cat

I have been reading of Schroedinger's cat
But none of my cats are at all like that.
This unusual animal (so it is said)
Is simultaneously live and dead!
What I don't understand is just why he
Can't be one or other, unquestionably.
My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
In one I'm enlightened, the other I ain't.
If you understand, then show me the way
And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
Then I will and won't see you in Schroedinger's zoo.

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Januari 4
August 12
From: Karen Reid <karen#NoSpam.perfectgiftguide.com>

Here are some Schroedinger's Cat limericks written by me, my children, and
my daughter's adviser at Cambridge University in England (she's a fellow on
the faculty there).


By me:  Karen Reid

Said Schroedinger," isn't this fun
Shot a cat in a box with a gun
I'll be sure it survives
'Cause the cat has nine lives
And I'll only be using just one."

Schroedinger should not have done that
It was cruel "playing God" with a cat
Which, by the way, mister
Belonged to your sister
The next time please make it a rat.

Said Schroedinger poison is nifty
To dispose of this cat, God is shifty
We can't tell if it died
Till we all peer inside
And the odds are at just that, 50/50.

The cat in the box still has growth
Or it's dead, and infested with sloth
One should not get unnerved
Till the cat is observed
It's a superposition of both.

So that is the way that you tell it
Leave a cat in a box with a pellet
Should the trigger let go
The poison will flow
And you'll know the cat's dead when you smell it.

Said Schroedinger, "let Physics advance
Though it might be kitty's last dance
When we open the box
Be prepared for some shocks
But there's only a 50% chance."

Said Schroedinger, "let's take a chance
Though it might be kitty's last dance."
"The poor cat," he then joked
"is alive, or it's croaked"
But you can't know these things in advance.

From my son Nate Reid:

Schroedinger once started schemin'
on how to get his sister all steamin'.
He said with distaste,
As he closed up the case,
"Time for kitty to meet Maxwell's Demon"

A physicist so deft in his craft,
To his sister, did something quite daft.
Placed her cat in a state
of indetermate fate,
Where the odds it was dead were one half.

When shown a cat healthy as day,
Erwin whispered in utter dismay
"Wish the radioactvity
Had the proclivity
For a hell-of-a-lot-faster decay".

From my son Brian Weissman:

"An Atom of something in flux
In Schroedinger's box is the crux
Of quantum prediction
And superposition
From the cat's point of view, it all sucks."

"Though Schroedinger's ethic is shitty
And the feline's deserving of pity
In their youth, the boy cruel
With his sister at school
Did far meaner things to her kitty"

Now you'd never call Erwin a "Wussy"
Nor label his working day "cushy"
But you might have to question
His endless obsession
With superpositional pussy.

Though you'd never call Erwin a "Wussy"
Nor label his discipline "cushy"
You might have to question
His morbid obsession
With superpositional pussy.

Barked Schroedinger "Turn off the heat'a
Release all the chimps and the cheetah
And take all you can grab
'Cause the whole goddamn lab
Is surrounded by bastards from PETA!"

From my daughter Kira Weissman:

All this talk about Schroedinger's cat?
I mean, what's the big deal with that?
It's alive or it's dead
But what can surely be said
Is that the cat must be smelling a rat!

Pity Schroedinger's feline
Whose state we cannot define
It's superposition
Dependent on fission
Only the cat knows whether it's fine

For his thought experiment insightful
Was the loss of a kitty a trifle
That it lives or it's curtains
Remains quite uncertain
His sis found the test less delightful

In Schroedinger's box sat a kitty
Unaware of it's fate, what a pity
More intelligent sods
Wouldn't have taken those odds
50:50 is really quite shitty!

And her favorite:

The experiment, said the cat with a wink
Is much simplier than what you might think
To end Erwin's test
Put uncertainty to rest
A meow is required, I think.

From Kira's adviser, Peter:

Will you help me show states that are pending?"
said Schr५dinger with sighs quite heart-rending,
But his cat said "no thanks -
Give the box to the Manx,
For his is the tale with no ending".

Die Katze von Schr५dinger's Schwester
Hat das Leben im Kisten das Beste
"Je lॊnger ich lebe - solang ich nicht schwebe-
Wird Schr५dinger's's Zweifel noch fester!"

Le chat de sa soeur dit "ma foi!
Schr५dinger me traite comme un roi,
Et ma vie prend une pause, comme Louis Cat-orze
car, l'़tat, c'est (ॆ moiti़) moi....."

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Februari 8
March 17
From: Don Casada <doncasada#NoSpam.icx.net>
Here's a bit of poetry (using the term loosely) on Bernoulli's equation and
other fluid movement relations:

The way the water wends

(Words wrought by a worn down wag)

It's twice the rate at which rain doth fall
Into how fast it's a-gittin' there, square.

Plus what it is a holdin' it back times
Deux points trois ( l'eau sanitaire).

And how far thou art toward heaven
(or toward hell  better not go there!).

Now, I ain't the one who made this up,
But I do believe it's true.
And if you want to check it out,
Right here is what you do:

Talk with them fellers, Leon and Dan'l
(They's the ones who told it to me).
Though, strange, when I asked them who they wuz,
They said "Oil her" and "Burn you, Lee!"

Winding along the worrisome way,
Things heat up, and so I guess
You better not forget to
Account for shear distress.

My palpitatin' heart is a-pumpin',
It's plumb positively displaced!
And those heady words, "Energy o'er weight,"
My feeble mind just can't erase.

I'm feeling hot, tired and hammered,
Need a cool shower, I would say.
Ain't got no indoor plumbin' here,
But I figgered me another way...

Got eleven sixty gallon water barrels;
The old horse can lift 'em six feet,
And wash me down in just a minute,
That'll be perfect and complete!

by: Don Casada

(with apologies to and great admiration for Leonhard Euler and Daniel

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From: "Frank Bohan" <franbo#NoSpam.globalnet.co.uk>
December 25
March 30
Special Category: Isaac Newton
When Newton saw an apple fall, he found ...
A mode of proving that the earth turnd round
In a most natural whirl, called gravitation;
And thus is the sole mortal who could grapple
Since Adam, with a fall or with an apple.

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Special Category: Archimedes

From: "Brian Redmile" <bredmile#NoSpam.iafrica.com>

Came across this at school, early 1950s.  Funny how some things stick!

                        ARCHIMEDES' PRINCIPLE

Students of physics are frequently told
Of experiments performed by great physicists of old
Like Boyles and Charles -- but greatest of these
Was the Principle discovered by Archimedes.

The Sicilian King, Archimedes was told,
Ordered a crown from a large lump of gold,
And though the weight of the gold was completely correct,
The goldsmith's eye made the King suspect
That he'd made up the weight with some cheaper metal
And stolen some gold, that his debts he might settle.
His problem was then of outstanding immensity
As he had no idea, whatsoever, of density.

Climbing into a bath he received a surprise
When he noticed the water beginning to rise.
He suddenly snapped, and let out a scream,
As he realised, with joy, his long-wished-for dream.

He found the upthrust, produced on a body's base*,
To be equal in weight to the water displaced,
And soon volumes and weights would make it quite plain
What various metals the crown could contain,
And so he could easily show to his Royalty
The absolute proof of the goldsmith's disloyalty.

Leaping out of the bath at remarkable rate,
He made for the palace by doorway and gate --
But the men in the street were completely confounded
To see a naked man shout "Eureka!  I've found it!"

*    Is this the only error?  The upthrust is not on the base, but at the
Centre of Pressure.

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From: Hello i'm an Alien (TiddyOgg#NoSpam.half.co.ck)

For tradition I have great respect,
And Sod's Law I'd never suspect
But you can be tricked,
When these two conflict:
Which one can you say is correct?

Now a cat always lands on its feet,
So tradition says.  And I repeat
Toast, when golden brown,
Lands butter side down,
Or Professor's Sod's law will be beat.

I needed to find the truth,
So I took the cat up to the roof -
All fourteen floors,
Though it scratched with its claws
And bit, but I must have the proof.

To its back strapped I one slice of bread,
With butter 'twas liberally spread;
In the interests of science,
Despite his defiance,
To the parapet's edge I did tread.

I tossed the cat over the rail;
It spat, yowled, and gave me one bale-
ful glare as it fell,
It wished me in hell...
But that's not the end of my tail.

A truck passing by in the street,
It's load covered by canvas sheet,
By the moggie was caught,
And it gallantly fought,
To cling to the side with its feet.

So now with my news I've regaled
You, but my schemings all failed.
I've still no evidence
Of which law takes precedence,
And probably soon I'll be jailed.

Tiddy Ogg.

Sod's Law, in case anyone does not know states: if it can go wrong, it
This was discovered by Britain's Professor Sod, but, like so many
other things, the Merkins claim credit for their Dr. Murphy.

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From: archie (archive#NoSpam.iinet.net.au)

Of toast I soon had had my fill
A slice tied onto my cat, Rill.
When dropped from a height
She's in severe fright -
Rill's suspended - spinning there still!

Archie - All I have to do now is to attach a system of shafts and cogs
and - whoopee - a perpetual motion machine!!!!
For newcomers - cats always land on their feet, Toast always lands
butter side down.   Sod discovered this and Murphy replicated the
experiments, thus confirming them!
Thank you Murphy or Sod or whoever (Wasn't it actually a Russian who
discovered those laws first?)

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From: H <aitch#NoSpam.norfolk.infi.net>
Tid, all those professors who rate
A parchment for predicting fate
Quantumly know
That soon as you throw:
Such cat's in an up *and* down state.

Special Category: Erwin Schr५dinger
Januari 4
August 12

My ol' buddy Schrodinger tried the toast-cat-butter-ducttape
experiment several times, but he could never bear to observe the results
(meekly claiming that the act of observation itself would affect the
outcome), and indeed never opened the boxes in which I returned his

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From: cybe#NoSpam.cyberwizardstower.com (Cybe R. Wizard)

A  PROton once spied a Boson,
said, "Sailor boy, you I have chosen,
It's your type of guy on
whom, cutesy pion,
a strong interaction I'm closin'."

"But, sailor boy, don't let me down,
strutting off with that new cloud in town.
I need a bambino,
a little neutrino,
so you need to have a breakdown."

"She's pulling a big meson me,"
said the Boson, "virtually
all of her spin
is for pulling me in,
I'm uncertain, positively."

But that was three decades ago.
Today would it happen?  Why, no.
It'd now be a quark
buzzing 'round, on a lark,
making all this activity flow.

like this:

Strange Bottom Down on the docks
spied  Up Top Charm and set her locks.
She hadron, you see,
quantum mechanically
put them both within Schr५dinger's box.

What Color!  What Charge!  What a Spin!
What a probable box to be in!
What a wonderful GUT
to Big Bang her butt
she'll superstring him along once again.

Dog, I love subatomic interactions!
These days there are dozens of factions
each with their own theory.
It's making me weary
In fact, I think I'll hit the sack, you 'uns.

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by Susan Lowe

Radio-active Einsteinium
Has the atomic number nine-ninium.
It was found in the ash
Of a hydrogen blast.
As is its chemical signium.
So few really know of Einsteinium,
It really is one of a kindium.
It doesn't seem fair
To have to compare,
It just doesn't have any timium.

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A corpuscle once did oscillate so quickly to and fro,
He always raised disturbances wherever he did go.
He struggles hard for freedom against a powerful foe --
An atom -- who would not let him go.
The aether trembled at his agitations
   In a manner so familiar that I only need to say,
In accordance with Clerk Maxwell's six equations,
   It tickled people's optics far away.

The corpuscle radiated until he had conceived
A plan by which his freedom might easily be achieved;
I'll not go into details for I might not be believed,
Indeed, I'm sure I should not be believed.
However, there was one decisive action.
   The atom and the corpuscle each made a single charge,
But the atom could not hold him in subjection,
   Though something like a thousand times as large.

   The corpuscle won the day,
   And in freedom went away,
   And became a cathode ray.
   But his life was rather gay,
   And he went at such a rate
   That he ran against a plate;
   When the aether saw his fate
   Its pulse did palpitate.

   -- From Post-Prandial Proceedings of the Cavendish Society,
Cambridge, England.

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                  THE QUANTUM'S PLIGHT

A lively little quantum went darting through the air,
Just as energetic quanta go speeding everywhere.
He had traveled far -- this quantum -- urged as if by some far
When he saw a lonely atom with no signs of pep at all,
And he started for that atom in the highest of elation,
Said he: "Here's where I show the world a trick of transmutation.
I'm going to hit that atom such an awful, awful whack,
That I'll knock out its electrons so far they can't get back."
So he gave that peaceful atom such an energetic shove,
That its outermost electrons soared to levels far above.
Then the atom got excited, and it held the quantum fast,
Until the last electron came tumbling back at last.
Then the quantum was released again, and fled in degradation,
While the atom got the credit for a lot of radiation.

-- E.H. Johnson

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A certain PHYS REV referee
Considers all papers with glee:
"What's new is not true,
And what's true is not new,
Unless it was written by me."

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From: Ted Shoemaker <shoematr#NoSpam.uwec.edu>
From way down in my cranium
This prediction I will make:
That if you eat uranium,
You'll get atomic ache.

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robertk#NoSpam.xmission.com (robertk):
There once was a fellow named Fisk
Whose fencing was exceedingly brisk.
So fast was his action
That by the Fitzgerald Contraction
His rapier soon was reduced to a disk.

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From: slw1#NoSpam.ellis.uchicago.edu (SluT)

There was a young fellow named Fisk
Whose stroke was exceedingly brisk
By relative action
The Lorenz contraction
Had reduced his dong to a disk.

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From: jim.henry#NoSpam.ftl.mese.com (Jim Henry)

A quantum mechanic's vacation
Had his colleagues in dire consternation.
For while studies had shown
That his speed was well known,
His position was pure speculation.

(Not sure who wrote that one.)

I saw an old fellow of Sirius,
I thought I was merely delirious.
But he ate me with zeal,
I'm convinced he was real
That zealous old gourmand of Sirius.

(I wrote that one.)

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From: Ken & Jo Walton (Magellan#NoSpam.kenjo.demon.co.uk)

There was a young lady called Bright
Who could travel much faster than light.
She set out one day
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.
       Arthur Buller  in Punch, 19 Dec. 1923

From: Sam Hobbs <samh#NoSpam.gdsassoc.com>
To her friends, that Miss Bright use to chatter,
"I have learned something new about matter,
   My speed was so great
   That it increased my weight;
Yet I failed to become any fatter."

   Source: A. Reginald Buller

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From: Sam Hobbs <samh#NoSpam.gdsassoc.com>
There was an old man who observed,
"I confess I am somewhat unnerved.
   I had never before
   Seen the truth of the lore
That, where matter is, space must be curved!

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From: rrcraig#NoSpam.eos.ncsu.edu (Ralph Ray Craig)

There was a young couple named Bright
Whose fucking was faster than light
They went at it one day
In a relative way
And came on the previous night.

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From: robertk#NoSpam.xmission.com (robertk)

There once was a fellow named Blight
Whose speed was much faster than light.
He sat off one day
In a relative way
and returned on the previous night.

We've heard of that fellow named Blight,
And his trip on that fabulous night,
But his increasing mass
Would have soon proved so vast
He'd have been a most *singular* sight!

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Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18

Said Einstein, "I have an equation,"
"Which some might call Rabelaisian:"
"Let P be viginity,"
"Approaching infinity,"
"And let U be a constant, persuasion."

"Now, if P over U be inverted,"
"And the squareroot of U be inserted,"
"X times over P,"
"The result, Q.E.D."
"Is a relative."  Einstein asserted.

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From: Sam Hobbs <samh#NoSpam.gdsassoc.com>
Said a pupil of Einstein, "It's rotten
To find I'd completely forgotten
   That by living so fast,
   All my future's my past,
And I buried before I'm begotten.

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Januari 8
Special Category: Stephen Hawking
From: Sam Hobbs <samh#NoSpam.gdsassoc.com>
Steven Hawking can prove with a plot
Whether we will or will not
   Expand without limit
   Or end in an intimate
Space which is all in one spot.

   Source: Larry Dahl

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From: Colin_Douthwaite#NoSpam.equinox.gen.nz (Colin Douthwaite)

Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18
There's a wonderful family named Stein,
There's Ep, there's Gert, and there's Ein.
Ep's statues are junk,
Gert's poems are bunk,
And nobody understands Ein.

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September 30
October 11
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
I don't wonder what you are
For by the spectroscopic ken
I know that you are hydrogen

Big whirls have little whirls
That feed on their velocity;
And little whirls have lesser whirls,
and so on to viscosity.
                  -Lewis Fry Richardson

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From: Rodney Wines (R_WINES@TRZCL1)

I heard a poem as a child that I liked a lot.  I don't remember the words
exactly, and I've butchered it rather badly, but it went SOMETHING like:

 Twinkle twinkle little star
 I know exactly where you are
 I've studied your size and I've measured your mass
 You're not a diamond you're just hydrogen gas

Andrew Leventis wrote::

Actually I have a book that has the same words in it.  "STARS: a field
guide".  Dont remember the author.  It was published n the 1950s if I
remember correctly.  Just wanted to mention.

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From: Alec Muzzy (n9541518#NoSpam.rowlf.cc.wwu.edu)

A great song by THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, entitled "Why Does The Sun Shine?" and
can be found on a PBS recording "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego".  
Some of the song goes as follows.

The Sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is turned into helium
at a temperature of millions of degrees.

Whoa-ho its hot, 
the sun is not
a place for you and me.
but without its light
to shine on us,
there'd be no you and me.

Actually it was written by someone other than TMBG, but its still funny.

From: Andrew C. Plotkin (erkyrath+#NoSpam.CMU.EDU)

From a children's education album. (LP record album, from the early
70's.) And it wasn't intended to be funny; it was educational.

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From: sdnaik#NoSpam.iastate.edu
December 25
March 30
Special Category: Isaac Newton
Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18
Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night,
God said, "Let Newton be," and all was light. -- Alexander Pope
It did not last; the devil howling "Ho!
Let Einstein be!" restored the status quo. -- Sir John Collings Squire

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When Newton saw an apple fall, he found ...
a mode of proving that the earth turn'd round
in a most natural whirl, called gravitation;
and thus is the sole mortal who could grapple
since Adam, with a fall or with an apple  -- Byron.

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June 13
November 5
Special Category: James Clerk Maxwell
From: wcw#NoSpam.math.psu.edu (William C Waterhouse) and "Oliver L. Shaw" <olshaw#NoSpam.zoom.co.uk>

There's a little version of "Comin' through the rye" that James Clerk
Maxwell wrote for a friend and that has made its way into some anthologies
of light verse:

(Rigid Body sings:)
   Gin a body meet a body
       Flyin' through the air,
   Gin a body hit a body,
       Will it fly? and where?

   Ilka impact has its measure,
       Ne'er a ane hae I,
   Yet a' the lads they measure me,
       Or, at least, they try.

   Gin a body hit a body
      Altogether free;
   How they travel afterwards
      We do not always see.

   Ilka problem has its method
      By analytics high;
   For me, I ken nae ane o them,
      But what the waur am I?

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From: "Oliver L. Shaw" <olshaw#NoSpam.zoom.co.uk>


(Tune: Men Of Harlech)

All black body radiations,
All atomic oscillations,
All the spectrum variations
Vary as hν
Ultraviolet vibrations,
X- and gamma-ray pulsations,
Ordinary light sensations,
All obey hν.
       Heres the right relation,
       Governs radiation,
       Heres the new,  the only true
       Electrodynamical equation.
       Never mind your d/dt2
       Beν or 1/2 mv2
       If you watch the factor c2
       's equal to hν.

------ ----- ----- -----

And in matters energetic,
Whether static or kinetic,
Or electric or magnetic,
You must use hν
Also with things calorific,
Such things as the heat specific
Yield to treatment scientific
When you use hν.
      Heres the right relation,
      Governs radiation,
      Heres the new,  the only true
      Electrodynamical equation.
      There would be a mighty clearance,
      We would all be Plancks adherents -
      Were it not that interference
      Still defies hν  !!

Author unknown; culled from Bangor University Scout & Guide Club songbook.
Passed on to me by Tony Hale,  AB Sailing Club, late 1960s.

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From: crystalc#NoSpam.cpcug.digex.net (Edward Cooper)

        Possible, probable, my black hen
        She lays eggs in the relative when
        She doesn't lay eggs in the positive now
        Because she's unable to postulate how
                - Frederick Winsor "The Space Child's Mother Goose",1958

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From: dave.coble#NoSpam.equinox.org (Dave Coble)

Her voice is so high it's absurd
It's so shrill that you can't hear a word
  When she's something to say
  She starts running away
So the pitch drops enough to be heard
               -  Steve Offner
              (written for an Omni Magazine limericks contest in 1979)

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October 9
May 11
From: essio#NoSpam.cavemen.net (Steve Offner)

I wrote and submitted the following for the same limerick contest (Omni
Magazine, 1979), however as far as I know it has never been published:

  A black hole - a tremendous creation
  Its physics defies imagination
    Time and space it can bend
    Wow!  I can't comprehend
  The gravity of this situation

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There once was a man who said: 'Damn!
I can't possibly be in this tram
For how can I know
Both how fast that I go
And also the place where I am.'

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Gar manches rechnet Erwin schon
mit seiner Wellenfunktion
nur wissen moechte man gerne wohl
was man sich dabei vorstell'n soll.
         From: Physics Today, 1976

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From: schornj#NoSpam.way.com (jay m. schornstein)

by James Wieghart
                        The Orphan Entity

The entity, we'll call it S, differed in every way.
While some spun left and some spun right, S would merely stay.
S was neither left nor right nor up nor down, but rather in the middle.
Lacking color and charm and other traits that made its neighbors notable,
S resolved to leave this place and find a spot more suitable.
A quiet place that a colorless, measureless waif would find hospitable.
A spot where an entity without mass, or motion,
would not be likely to cause commotion.
After giving much thought to the matter, and energy too,
S arrived at a solution which it felt would do.
"Empty space is just the place for an orphan entity to spend
                                                  infinity," S thought.
Alas, although the universe is far and wide, there is no empty space inside.
So S went beyond into a black void and found.... nothing.
"Perfect," it said, "but let there be light."

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From: mini-AIR
The offering by Kevin Ahern:

A violation of Sir Isaac was found
By Megan hurtling fast toward the ground
She's not in smithereens
Because on trampolines
What goes down, must go up, then go down.

Can be rewritten into limerick form, saving the excellent last
line (with a minor violation in the lack of true rhyme), as:

The laws of Sir Isaac were found
To bring Megan so fast toward the ground
Yet she's not smithereens
Since on all trampolines
What goes down, must go up, then go down.
                          --  Jay M. Pasachoff

[Here is a limerick about I paper I submitted to "Physics Review
E" entitled "Novel soliton solutions in Rowland ghost gaps:"]
In a periodic grating structure,
I claim Rowland ghosts should occur,
They have wriggles and bumps,
And travel over humps,
But the reviewer has yet to concur.
        --Neil B.

The "Novel soliton solutions in Rowland ghost gaps" is far from a
limerick.  A corresponding limerick might read

A grating can lead to a blur
When its lines cause some ghosts to occur.
I showed wriggles and bumps
And then also some lumps,
But reviewers have yet to concur.
                          --  Jay M. Pasachoff

[My astronomy PhD thesis in limerick form:]
High-velocity clouds are found,
In disk galaxies to abound.
And although superbubbles,
Have given great troubles,
The fountain model is sound.
        --Eric Schulman

Rewriting this example, with the minor deviation in the lead-
in that is often allowed, could give:

High-velocity clouds can be found
And in galaxies' disks they abound.
Now although superbubbles
Have given great troubles
The model called "fountain" is sound.
                        -- Jay M. Pasachoff

Januari 1
Februari 4
In Boulder, where often it snows,
NIST/JILA staff got high from lows.
A great celebration:
at last! condensation
according to Einstein and Bose!
     --Walter Leight

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From: "Edward Hookway" <ehookway#NoSpam.hotmail.com>

                              The Galaxy Song

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned,
The sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In the outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It's a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide.
We're thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go 'round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy itself is one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

Our universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whiz;
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!

(From Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life.  Sung by Eric Idle)

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From: Ken Smith Limerick page http://www.teleport.com/~klsmith/limerick.shtml
Hervelius on a clear night did view
Through the scope on a pole hanging true,
   That due to a subordinate,
   The flexture was inordinate
And the back of his head was on view.
(And I thought space was curved - McW)    Source: MEK

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Januari 2
April 6
From: Ken Smith Limerick page http://www.teleport.com/~klsmith/limerick.shtml
An astronomiss happily sang,
"I've been screwed by the telescope gang,
   They all had a bit o' me,
   For I'm the epitome
Of the grandly impressive Big Bang."
                                          Source: Isaac Asimov

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Januari 14
November 8
From: Ken Smith Limerick page http://www.teleport.com/~klsmith/limerick.shtml
From the world, his discovery brought cheers;
From his wife, it drew nothing but tears.
   "For you see," said Ms. Halley,
   He used to come daily;
Now it's once every 76 years!"
                                          Source: Rowdy Jack

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From: Ken Smith Limerick page http://www.teleport.com/~klsmith/limerick.shtml
April 24
A wonderful tube is the Hubble,
Peering out from its space-platform bubble.
   Through billions of years,
   The telescope peers,
Turning creationist stuff into rubble!
                                          Source: Bert

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From: Ken Smith Limerick page http://www.teleport.com/~klsmith/limerick.shtml
We cannot know where in the sky
A signal is lurking, or why.
   We will search even though
   The chances are low.
The payoff is well worth a try.

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From: Sam Hobbs <samh#NoSpam.gdsassoc.com>
Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18
Special Category: Arthur Eddington
Januari 14
Januari 27
December 28
November 22

  The Einstein and the Eddington

The sun was setting on the links,
The moon looked down serene,
The caddies all had gone to bed,
But still there could be seen
Two players lingering by the trap
That guards the thirteenth green.

The Einstein and the Eddington
Were counting up their score;
The Einstein's card showed ninety-eight
And Eddington's was more.
And both lay bunkered in the trap
And both stood there and swore.

I hate to see, the Einstein said;
Such quantities of sand;
Just why they placed a bunker here
I cannot understand.
If one could smooth this landscape out,
I think it would be grand.

If seven maids with seven mops
Would sweep the fairway clean
I'm sure that I could make this hole
In less than seventeen.
I doubt it, said the Eddington,
Your slice is pretty mean.

Then all the little golf balls came
To see what they were at,
And some of them were tall and thin
And some were short and fat,
A few of them were round and smooth,
But most of them were flat.

The time has come, said Eddington,
To talk of many things:
Of cubes and clocks and meter-sticks
And why a pendulum swings.
And how far space is out of plumb,
And whether time has wings.

I learned at school the apple's fall
To gravity was due,
But now you tell me that the cause
Is merely G_mu-nu,
I cannot bring myself to think
That this is really true.

You say that gravitation's force
Is clearly not a pull.
That space is mostly emptiness,
While time is nearly full;
And though I hate to doubt your word,
It sounds like a bit of bull.

And space, it has dimensions four,
Instead of only three.
The square of the hypotenuse
Ain't what it used to be.
It grieves me sore, the things you've done
To plane geometry.

You hold that time is badly warped,
That even light is bent:
I think I get the idea there,
If this is what you meant:
The mail the postman brings today,
Tomorrow will be sent.

If I should go Timbuctoo
With twice the speed of light,
And leave this afternoon at four,
I'd get back home last night.
You've got it now, the Einstein said,
That is precisely right.

But if the planet Mercury
In going round the sun,
Never returns to where it was
Until its course is run,
The things we started out to do
Were better not begun.

And if before the past is through,
The future intervenes;
Then what's the use of anything;
Of cabbages or queens?
Pray tell me what's the bally use
Of Presidents and Deans.

The shortest line, Einstein replied,
Is not the one that's straight;
It curves around upon itself,
Much like a figure eight,
And if you go too rapidly
You will arrive too late.

But Easter day is Christmas time
And far away is near,
And two and two is more than four
And over there is here.
You may be right, said Eddington,
It seems a trifle queer.

But thank you very, very much,
For troubling to explain;
I hope you will forgive my tears,
My head begins to pain;
I feel the symptoms coming on
Of softening of the brain.

@A: W. H. Williams
@R: ``The Einstein and the Eddington'', from G. J. Whitrow (ed.),
 _Records of R. A. S. Club 1925-1953_, p. xxiv-xxvii,
quoted in S. Chandrasekhar, _Truth and Beauty : Aesthetics
and Motivation in Science_, University of Chicago Press, 1987,
p. 124-127.
@%: Dr. Williams (who shared an office with Eddington)
prepared this verse for a faculty club dinner on the eve of
Eddington's departure from Berkeley in 1924
For people who do not know their classic: This poem is based on "The Walrus
and the Carpenter" in Lewis Carols "Through the looking-glass"

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From: Greg Roelofs (newt#NoSpam.uchicago.edu)

                            Physics Theoretical
                                   BY JOHN A. BARRETT

(This is one of Greg's favorite poems, for obvious reasons. He thinks it
was probably first published in Physics Today sometime between 1987 and
1991, but since he is unable to find the proper issue...oh well.)

I've studied all the sciences in order alphabetical,
My judgment is, which some of you may find to be heretical,
        The field that's really quite abstruse,
        The field where all the screws come loose,
The field that's famous for its spoofs, is physics theoretical.

I've taken undergraduate work whose content is forgettable;
And graduate work is gen'rally regarded as regrettable.
        The lecturers are all absurd.
        A cogent word is never heard.
Insanity afflicts a third in physics theoretical.

We never do experiments; we shun the purely practical.
Our best work's done in getting grants--our budgets are fantastical.
        In one respect our motive's pure:
        Though funding fails, we still endure--
We make damn sure our job's secure in physics theoretical.

Our scientific breakthroughs are, to say the least, debatable.
We laugh at critics haughtily; our egos are inflatable.
        The rest of science goes along,
        Because our last defense is strong:
It's hard to prove we're ever wrong in physics theoretical.

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Theo Rhodes <rhodes#NoSpam.mithras.phys.uconn.edu>

I wrote the first of these, about Newton's laws, during an electricity and
magnetism lab in which we were attempting to get a scanning tunneling electron
microscope to a) funtion and b) transfer the images it created to a normal
format. Neither happened. We think the problem was in the tip, and didn't feel
like waiting the extra week or two to etch a tip using acid. That's probably
because we spent the first half of the course trying to get an Auger apparatus
to work. It didn't. It wasn't our fault. Cursed machines.

Newton's Laws of Motion - a Haiku Adventure
object in motion
unless acted on by force
will stay in motion

force on an object
is equal to its mass times

an object exerts
equal force on the object
exerting the force

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Theo Rhodes <rhodes#NoSpam.mithras.phys.uconn.edu>

The second set of these I wrote in Pittsburgh, visiting Stephanie, at her
request. They practically wrote themselves. Maybe it was due to the Orb in the
background, maybe it was the CHEMystery Site that I used to look up the laws of
thermodynamics. Who knows. ("The Shadow knows! To the amp!")  Perhaps I will
collect my incidental haikus here someday when I have nothing else to do.

Laws of Thermodynamics - another Haiku Adventure
temperature of A
same as B; B same as C
thus C equals A.
total energy
is equal to kinetic
and the potential

entropy always
greater than or equal to
zero in system

a perfect crystal
at zero degrees kelvin
has no entropy

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                            WHY THE SKY IS BLUE
                                                by John Ciardi

I don't suppose you happen to know
Why the sky is blue? It's because the snow
Takes out the white. That leaves it clean
For the trees and grass to take out the green.
Then pears and bananas start to mellow,
And bit by bit they take out the yellow.
The sunsets, of course, take out the red
And pour it into the ocean bed
Or behind the mountains in the west.
You take all that out and the rest
Couldn't be anything else but blue.
Look for yourself. You can see it's true.

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 APS News                                      March 1997 Edition


A total of 190 limericks were received since the contest was announced in
the December issue of APS News. Although most entrants sent in one or two
limericks, one sent in 22 and a 'team' from Harvard sent a record
37. Schroedinger's cat, which was the favorite subject, has reason to feel
paranoid; reviewers for Phys Rev came in a close second. The longest poem,
a finalist, had 13 limerick-form stanzas.

A note on the selection process: The editor collected opinions from members
of the March and April meeting program committees, APS visitors and staff
members. They had diverse tastes, to say the least, and many limericks not
included among the finalists below had ardent admirers. The final selection
was mine (as is the blame for most of the titles). Some are acknowledged
'groaners' - but punsters have to live too; some don't scan so well, but
had other redeeming qualities. As promised, each author will receive a
dunking bird; the winners will receive a flock (3). Most submissions
(except for a few) may be viewed on the APS website at:
http://www.aps.org/apsnews/limericks.html. Enjoy.

Barrie Ripin, APS News Editor


          Doin' its own Thing
           by Edward H. Green

The first law of Newton I sing
My voice has a relevant ring:
"An object left free
Of hassles will be
Engrossed in just doing its thing."

May 21
July 19
       May the Force Be With You
by David Morin, Eric Zaslow, E'beth Haley, John Golden, and Nathan Salwen

On a merry-go-round in the night,
Coriolis was shaken with fright.
Despite how he walked,
'Twas like he was stalked,
By some fiend always pushing him right.

  [WINNER!]Condensed Story of Ms Farad
            by A. P. French

Miss Farad was pretty and sensual
And charged to a reckless potential;
But a rascal named Ohm
Conducted her home -
Her decline was, alas, exponential.

     Wish I Were a Fly on the Wall
           by Robert D. Cowan

There once was a fly on the wall
I wonder why didn't it fall
Because its feet stuck
Or was it just luck
Or does gravity miss things so small?

Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18
December 25
March 30
Special Category: Isaac Newton

       A Brief History of Gravity
            by Bruce Elliot

It filled Galileo with mirth
To watch his two rocks fall to Earth.
He gladly proclaimed,
"Their rates are the same,
And quite independent of girth!"

Then Newton announced in due course
His own law of gravity's force:
"It goes, I declare,
As the inverted square
Of the distance from object to source."

But remarkably, Einstein's equation
Succeeds to describe gravitation
As spacetime that's curved,
And it's this that will serve
As the planets' unique motivation.

Yet the end of the story's not written;
By a new way of thinking we're smitten.
We twist and we turn,
Attempting to learn
The Superstring Theory of Witten!

Februari 15
Januari 8
Special Category: Galileo Galilei
  Limerico di Galileoऊ [13 stanzas]
          by Martin J. Murphy

While watching a cannonball's motion,
Galileo conceived of the notion
That natural laws,
Not a mystical Cause,
Ruled the physical world's locomotion.

Though its own view was mostly confused,
The Church was not greatly amused
With this flaunting of Deo
By old Galileo
And ordered it quickly defused.

So the Pope sent some priests who inquired
If it wouldn't be best he retired?
"Undoubtedly you know
What we did for Bruno;
Do you also wish to be fired?"

He asked an old Cardina;'s opinion:
"Pray tell me, Your Grace, if you will then,
Does this mean what I think?
That henceforth I must shrink
From discussing my clever perception?"

Said Bellarmine, "No, it is not a ban;
If you want to keep teaching of course you can.
They merely have said
To take care where you tread
And smile when you say thing Copernican."

Unbeknownst to our venerable dissident
The records said something quite different.
When the Pope saw the note
The inquisitors wrote
He lost what remained of his temperament.

The message the Vatican sent
Was blunt in its stated intent
"Recant all this heresy
Quick or we'll harass thee,
Now until your life has been spent."

In facing the dread inquisition,
Few men could defend their position;
So it shouldn't surprise
When we are apprised
Of old Galileo's decision.

"Explaining celestial motion
Needs more than just faith and devotion.
But to save my poor head
I'll recant what I've said
(Though I'll secretly keep to my notion)".

So our friend the illustrious Florentine
Spent his last years in Vatican quarantine,
Locked up in his home
By the prelates of Rome
For being a cosmical libertine.

The Church caused a major imbroglio
By correcting Copernicus' folio
Yet it couldn't discern
The abuse it would earn
In forbidding the whole Dialogo?

By killing Sidereus Nuncius
For the news that their views were defunctus,
The renaissance ended
And darkness descended
Upon the Dominican dunces.

In spite of the Vatican's dissuasion
Galileo still rose to the occasion.
Though once deemed heretical,
He proved more prophetical
Than those of a clerical persuasion.

            Cole's Lost Soul
            by A. P. French

There was a young fellow named Cole
Who ventured too near a black hole.
His dv by dt
Was quite wondrous to see
But now all that's left is his soul.

          On Liquor Production
           by David M. Smith

A friend who's in liquor production
Owns a still of astounding construction.
The alcohol boils
Through old magnet coils;
She says that it's "proof by induction."

            Goodnight Irene
 Author unknown, submitted by Ken Kiger

There once was a girl named Irene,
who lived on distilled erosene.
But she started absorbin'
A new hydrocarbon,
And since then has never benzene!

            Cool Cruel Test
         by Kay R. Devicciऊ

The thermo exam was quite near-o,
And he thought everything was quite clear-o;
"Why study this junk
I'm sure I won't flunk,"
But they gave him an Absolute Zero.

Januari 1
Februari 4
  The Bose-Einstein Story (Condensed)
         by Jonathan P. Dowling

A couple of young guys in Boulder,
Cooled their gas cloud down colder and colder.
Then with much exhortation,
They hit Bose Condensation,
And beat out their rivals (much older).

         Relatively Good Advice
           by Edward H. Green

Dear S': I note with distress
The length of your yardstick is less
And please wind your clock
To make it tick-tock
More briskly. Your faithful friend, S.

              Proton Decay
           by David Halliday

A proton once said, "I'll fulfill
My long-term belief in free will.
Though theorists (may) say
That I ought to decay
I'm damned if I think that I will."

December 18
      And Then There Were Photons
           by William Rolnick

An electron, while trav'ling in space,
Met a positron there "face-to-face."
The electron then sighed,
At the sight of his bride
And they "died" in a loving embrace.

December 18
 [WINNER!]Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen
           by David Halliday

Two photons, close-coupled at start,
Flew several parsecs apart.
Said one, in distress,
"What you're forced to express
Removes any choice on my part."

            Fussy Electrons
by David Morin, Eric Zaslow, E'beth Haley, John Golden, and Nathan Salwen

An electron is sure hard to please.
When spread out, it sometimes will freeze.
Though agoraphobic,
It's still claustrophobic,
And runs off when put in a squeeze.

          The Cat in the Tree
             by Peter Price

Another great Dane has made free
With a question of Be or Not be.
Now might Schroedinger's puss,
In descending by Schuss,
Leave one track on each side of a tree?

    Protecting Schr५dinger's Cat
          by Devlin Gualtieri
Special Category: Erwin Schr५dinger
Januari 4
August 12

PETA was out in full force,
But not for a dog or a horse.
At Schroedinger's place
They pleaded their case
For the sake of his cat, of course


    Desperately Surfing for Science
by David Morin, Eric Zaslow, E'beth Haley, John Golden, and Nathan Salwen

Who needs the balance and check?
Screw peer review -what the heck!
Send all of your crap
To the internet -zap!
Who cares if it's nothing but dreck!

    [WINNER!]On What's New and True
             author unknown

A certain Phys Rev referee
Considers all papers with glee:
"What's new is not true,
And what's true is not new,
Unless it was written by me."
[Editor's Note: Several variants on this theme were submitted.]

   The Past Isn't What it Used To Be
            by Bruce Elliott

A professor of Physics named May
Complains of the classroom today,
"The problem, you know,
Is that they're too slow.
We were far better students than they."

His friend, a professor named Beecham,
Said "It's true, you don't seem to reach 'em.
But they're not to blame,
For they haven't the same
Class of teachers that we had, to teach 'em!"

            See You at Work
            by Steve Langer

The chairman of AT&T
Said, "Your graduate physics degree
Is not worth a - penny,
Of your kind we've too many.
Perhaps you can program in C?"

               Great Lies
            by Beall Flower

There are several Great Lies that we know.
One is "I'll love you tomorrow."
Here's another false word
That we've recently heard,
"With less money your research will grow!"

       Quark-Dork Symmetry Group
         by Kay R. Devicciऊ

When we physicists talk about quarks,
And "sleptons," "sneutronos," and "squarks,"
We shouldn't be stunned
When the Congress won't fund
Our big projects - they think that we're dorks!

       A Physicist from Nantucket
         by Michael Van Leeuwen

There once was a man from Nantucket
...oops...just got a life.

Amikam Aharoni

A theorist evaluating a weight,
Neglected what he should calculate.
He said: what the hell,
I do quite well,
When two is much larger than eight!

Amikam Aharoni

Maxwell had plenty of time to think
While dipping his pen in the ink.
Today's computations
With Maxwell's equations
Don't leave you the time for a wink.

Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18

Sarah Antel
There once was a man with strange hair.
He said, "Anything other than physics, don't care."
He sat down with a book,
And had a long look,
And he realized that E=mc2!

Bruce Baskir
"Electrons all jumbled like rice?"
Quoth Einstein, "That's too high a price."
In reply, answered God
"Well I don't find it odd.
So shut-up and let me play dice."

Phil Best
In advising potential physics majors the late Marshall Walker conveyed the
fervor of some students, as follows:

To students unsure of their station
Our colleague made prognostication.
Your competitor's facts
In ordering acts
Rank physics before fornication.

Hard Times at Physics High
by Irving J. Bigio, Ph.D.

Some fear physics these days is contractive;
Yet complexity keeps the field active.
Feigenbaum is chaotic,
Mandelbrot 'most erotic,
and I find them strangely attractive.


Lament of a Humble Optical Physicist -Version I
by Irving J. Bigio, Ph.D.

Delta and Sigma, Omega and Psi
Particle physics still can't find the key.
"Parts is parts" they proclaim;
Find just one: find your fame.
Yet somehow it's all Greek to me!

Lament of a Humble Optical Physicist -Version II
by Irving J. Bigio, Ph.D.

Delta and Sigma, Omega and Psi
Particle physics still can't find the key.
The 'J' notwithstanding,
I lack understanding,
'Cause somehow it's all Greek to me!

George Cody
with help from Harry Drickamer and who knows who else

There was once a bold referee
Who reviewed each paper with glee.
What's new is not true!
What's true is not new!
Unless it's been published by me.

Robert D. Cowan

There once was a fly on the wall
I wonder why didn't it fall
Because its feet stuck
Or was it just luck
Or does gravity miss things so small?

James P. Crawford

There once was a pole-vaulter named Dwight,
whose speed approached that of light.
He was trapped one day
in a barn, so they say,
but Dwight said "No, that's not right!"

Kay R. Devicci ऊ

As the cosmos expands, growing flatter,
The cosmologists argue and chatter.
Or massive neutrinos -
They want to know what's the (dark) matter.

Stephen Hawking's "no boundary" condition
Puts God in an awkward position.
With nothing to do,
His purpose is through
So He might as well fix my transmission.

As if all of you folks didn't know it,
I'm a physicist, not a poet.
I work with space-time,
Not with rhythm and rhyme,
And these verses should certainly show it.

A tachyon, moving quite fast,
Was imaginarily-massed;
And thus it decayed
Before it was made,
As to traveled from future to past.

My brother likes lying in hammocks;
My sister likes doing ceramics;
But I get my kicks
From al the neat tricks
In quantum electrodynamics.

As physics gets harder and harder,
The physicists seem to get smarter.
They now know topology,
With its groups cohomology,
And those things are just for a starter.

"The Nature of Space-Time" was written
By those two brilliant guys from Great Britain.
They discuss profound things,
But there's little on strings,
Which must certainly vex Edward Witten.

A physicist, almost in tears,
Said, "A proton, it seems, disappears.
The GUT;s say
That it should decay
in 1031 years."

A physicist grumbled one day,
"These protons don't seem to decay.
We once had high hopes,
But we now feel like dopes,
For those darn things - they just seem to stay."

When physicists misuse their brains
To give particles whimsical names,
Most folks think we're liable
To be certifiable
And they don't want to fund our mad games.

Michael Cohen - you really should meet him;
For humor, no other can beat him;
Such as when he relates
The continuum states
To those that are "in the discretum."

The thermo exam was quite near - o,
And he thought everything was quite clear - o;
"Why study this junk
I'm sure I won't flunk,"
But they gave him an Absolute Zero.

A physicist ran in a race
That was held in reciprocal space.
His momentum that day (sigh!)
was h times kj;
Twas as bad as just running in place.

An expert on things astrophysical
Develop an countenance quizzical
When I told him one day,
"Oh sir, I can say
Our relationship's totally physical."

With all the abortions each morn
Now performed on young ladies forlorn,
You don't need lots of nerve
Or a close timelike curve
To die months before you were born.

If you care about animal rights,
Consider the horrible plights,
Of Schrodinger's cat,
And other's like that,
For many long days and long nights.

These cats suffer agonized fates -
And superposition of states;
Not alive or quite dead,
Something ghoulish instead,
Till a measurement ends their long waits.

Then a physicist looks with his eye,
Knowing seeing could make the cat die.
Puts the poor cat through hell,
Just to get his Nobel,
As her kittens sob, "Mommy, good-bye!"

Do you know "The Charge of the Light Brigade?"
The English teacher said.
"You want that in coulombs or esu?",
sand the physicist, scratching his head.

Jonathan P. Dowling

There is this weird codger named Wootters,
Who seeks to build quantum computers.
He's wagered two bits,
He'll prevail without qubits,
But he finds he has many disputers.

Jonathan P. Dowling

A couple of young guys in Boulder,
Cooled their gas cloud down colder and colder.
Then with much exhortation,
They hit Bose Condensation,
And beat out their rivals (much older).

Jonathan P. Dowling

The chemist heaved a long sigh,
When his filtrate was finally dry ...
But an unstable fraction,
In a quick chain reaction,
Formed a mushroom cloud five miles high.

Jonathan P. Dowling

A quantum mechanic named Twitty,
Is trying out "Schroedinger's Kitty".
The poor feline(s) await,
For him to pry open the crate,
And then exalt in great joy -- or great pity.

Jonathan P. Dowling

McHumbug maintains the delusion,
That soon he'll be getting cold fusion.
For two weeks now he's strove,
With an old pot on the stove,
To detect neutron flux in profusion.

Jonathan P. Dowling

Our buoyant new physics instructor,
Has found a new superconductor.
He shouts, "The Tc
Is room temp -- do you see!?"
While afloat on a magnetic inductor.

Bruce Elliott

The graviton's something unique,
A particle many would seek.
To Earth we are stuck
It seems, more by luck,
For its coupling's exceedingly weak!

Bruce Elliott

deBroglie, caught quite unawares,
Observed a mixed state of affairs:
'Twas Schroedinger's cat
Who quietly sat,
While running away down the stairs.

Bruce Elliott

Implicit in Maxwell's equations
Are truly important relations.
While fields are unchanged,
Potentials may range,
Distinguished by gauge transformations.

The Past Isn't What it Used To Be
Bruce Elliott

A professor of Physics named May
Complains of the classroom today,
"The problem, you know,
Is that they're too slow.
We were far better students than they."

His friend, a professor named Beecham,
Said "It's true, you don't seem to reach 'em.
But they're not to blame,
For they haven't the same
Class of teachers that we had, to teach 'em!"

Bruce Elliott

'tHooft had the realization
Of couplings' peculiar relation.
He'd only to solve
Just how they evolve,
Performing renormalization.

Bruce Elliott

The Particle Physics morass
Is stuck on the problem of mass.
If Higgs can be found,
We'll all come around.
Till then it's a pain in the neck.

Bruce Elliott

Beware of the plasma fanatics,
They're prone to a fusion of antics
That generate heat
When hydrogens meet
With magnetohydrodynamics.
(well, YOU rhyme it!)

Bruce Elliott

"The quark's a mysterious fellow!"
My advisor was oft prone to bellow,
"It's red, blue, or green,
(Though it's never been seen),
And certainly couldn't be yellow!"

Beall Flower

There are several Great Lies that we know
One is "I'll love you tomorrow."
Here's another false word
That we've recently heard,
"With less money your research will grow!"

A. P. French
December 25
March 30
Special Category: Isaac Newton

Said Sir Isaac: "I've got a great notion
That force is a changer of motion.
Let's put it this way:
F equals ma
The rest is just sweat and devotion."

Februari 18
March 5
Special Category: Alessandro Volta

Said that famous old physicist Volta
"My dry cells put out quite a jolt-a.
When I throw this switch,
All your muscles will twitch
If you were a chicken, you'd molt-a."

A.P. French

Oh captain, now where can we be,
after traveling so close to c?
"We've reached the far spot,
that you thought we could not:
length-contraction in action, you see."

A.P. French

Went out for a walk on the grass
A slumbering lepton
Who nearly got stepped on
Protested "Remember your mass!"

A.P. French

Said a quantum mechanic named Steve
"I find it quite hard to believe
That all of that gang
Who pursue the Big Bang
Have anything new up their sleeve."

A.P. French

A semiconductor named Si
Got some arsenic stuck in his eye.
It made him a donor
And (though not a moaner)
He couldn't help wondering why.

Edward H. Green (deceased)
(sent in by Joseph Gruenebaum)

A simple improvement I've found:
Let troublesome numbers be round
And both pi and "e"
Be equal to three
And kgm = 2 lb.

Edward H. Green (deceased)

The first law of Newton I sing
My voice has a relevant ring:
"An object left free
Of hassles will be
Engrossed in just doing its thing."

Edward H. Green (deceased)

Dear S': I note with distress
The length of your yardstick is less
And please wind your clock
To make it tick-tock
More briskly. Your faithful friend, S.

Edward H. Green (deceased)

This answers your hasty request
To speed up your medical test:
Your increase in weight
Is nothing you ate,
It's E over c square; just rest.

Edward H. Green (deceased)

My twin is much younger than I
He's travelled a lot, that is why
If I had the brain
I'd be glad to explain
But Einstein I'm not, so why try.

Edward H. Green (deceased)
(The following one may have appeared in AJP long ago.)
October 11
August 31

"I'm English!" he said, with a scowl
"My name, I should think, would be 'Joule'
And yet, as a rule
I must answer to 'Joule' -
Confound that ambiguous vow'l!"

Devlin Gualtieri

In youth, his hair grew like a weed,
But Old Hubble was balding, indeed.
"I know that I ought
To make this constant a naught,
Then my hairline will never recede."

Devlin Gualtieri

Einstein sat all night awake.
"These equations are so hard to make!"
"With a wave of my hands,
The Universe expands,
But Omega puts on the brake."

Devlin Gualtieri

Dr. Young was having a fit.
His optics had developed a slit.
"My grant will not pay,
So I'll use it this way."
And you know the rest of this bit.

Devlin Gualtieri

There once was a Chemist named Pauling,
Whose predictions were downright enthralling.
"I'm really quite fond
Of the chemical bond
That I get with this sticking and balling."

Devlin Gualtieri

There once was a Solid State Phys.
Who hated this Quantum Math biz.
"Forget all that crap, *
The band has a gap,
And that's just the way that it is!"

(* Colorful language in the tradition of Richard Feynman)

Devlin Gualtieri

"It's here, right under your nose!"
"Just arrange the whole thing in rows."
"Put hydrogen here,"
Dmitri would cheer,
"And tungsten down by your toes."

Devlin Gualtieri

An equal of Gordon was Klein,
And his work was equally fine.
But, lo, what a fate,
For in Physics of late,
His name is replaced by a sine!

Devlin Gualtieri

Hadrons, leptons, bosons, too,
Are members of our little zoo.
Though in their stalls
As little balls,
They're really clouds of quantum goo.

Devlin Gualtieri

Can there be any levity
In electronegativity?
Fluorine is high,
As are others nearby.
How is that for brevity?

Devlin Gualtieri

The accountant was ranting and hissing!
Such an audit was not of our wishing!
But such was our state,
An astronomer's fate,
Since some of our mass was found missing!

Proton Decay
David Halliday

A proton once said, "I'll fulfill
My long-term belief in free will.
Though theorists say
That I ought to decay
I'm damned if I think that I will."

The Hubble Constant
God said, "I find no delight
In my constant H's sad plight.
Is it high? Is it low?
They simply don't know.
(And I'm not quite sure which is right.)"

Einstein Podolsky and Rosen
Two photons, close-coupled at start,
Flew several parsecs apart.
Said one, in distress,
"What you're forced to express
Removes any choice on my part."

Neutrino Oscillations
From the Sun's core a neutrino flew
Saying, "I've got the Earth to go through.
Then I'll reach Super-K
But while on the way
I might just turn into a mu."

Srikanth Hariharan

There once lived a man named de Broglie
who thought of physics clasically.
He found this unique feature,
Of waves and particles in nature
And took a quantum leap finally!

Srikanth Hariharan

There was a young man named Laurel
Who sought to publish in PRL.
He worked on Helium-3,
Discovered superfluidity
But the Cornell trio beat him to the Nobel!

Edward G. Harris

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
Said "I am going to the pub for a beer and will not soon be back.
If anyone ask if I am in,
Say, No he is out discovering electron spin".

Author unknown, submitted by Ken Kiger

There once was a girl named Irene,
who lived on distilled kerosene.
But she started absorbin'
a new hydrocarbon,
and since then has never benzene!

Daniel Koon

To Michelson and E. W. Morley
ther theory explained rather poorly
Why their first beam of light
Reached their eyepiece all right,
But the next one arrived just as early.

That patent clerk -- Al What's-his-name --
Told us energy and mass are the same.
To make matters worse,
He said (not in verse)
That there is no preferred reference frame.

Daniel Koon

Fermi called the small bugger neutrino
After maybe a little much vino.
I hate to be crass,
But whatever its mass,
It's still way too small to be seen-o.

Grad student Edwin H. Hall,
So excited he might bounce off the wall,
Said, "this brand new effect
Causes charge to deflect,
Given current and B-field -- that's all."

Steve Langer

There once was a fat Anglo-Saxon
Who raced round while putting his slacks on.
"My trousers won't fit,
If I don't shrink a bit
With Lorentz and Fitzgerald's contraction!"

Steve Langer

The chairman of AT&T
Said, "Your graduate physics degree
Is not worth a penny --
Of your kind we've too many.
Perhaps you can program in C?"

Arthur Lesk

A girl whose frustration was chronic
Became cynical, brash and sardonic:
"I do flutters and dips,
when I wiggle my hips --
They love it when I'm anharmonic."

Arthur Lesk

A bachelor named bra took a bet
That he'd meet a young spinster named ket
He boasted he'd hail her:
"Hi ... let's make a scalar,
Or turn back to back and project"

Arthur Lesk

An abelian group lived far away,
and spent hours in his car every day.
He complained to his pa,
(For whom ab wasn't ba)
"This commuting is turning me gray."

Valerie Lesk

A lady was once on a horse
She rode it with much too much force
Her scaler went vector
The horse tried to protect her,
But the impulse had killed her, of course.

Valerie Lesk

There once was a witch from Carlisle
Who stirred up her cauldron with style,
Adding mass and momentum,
she couldn't prevent'em
From forming a bright projectile

Victor Lesk

There once was a keen Aberdonian
Who burnt himself frying an onion,
His mom said 'Oh, my,
I don't wish to pry,
But I think you've the wrong Hamiltonian'

D.M. Lipkin

We need more than a theory ad-hoc,
Understandable to a post-doc,
For why unit Planck action and Millikan charge
make spins up or down interlock!

Mike Lubell

There once was a quantum optician
Embarked on a ludicrous mission.
His goal was to show
That all photons are slow,
In spite of their massless condition.

Mike Lubell

"Their three colors are red, white and blue,"
The professor said over a brew.
A drunk student objected,
"That's not been detected!
And without any proof, I say screw!"

Linear Events
David Markowitz

One day you have a clear path
To spend your hour in the bath,
With arch deities like Archimedes
And the power of physics and math.

Nonlinear event
David Markowitz

Another day but not to bore you;
The towel is gone that would restore you.
You're late, you fuss, get hit by a bus.
Well, there goes chaos for you.

Chris Matthews

Through a prism looked Newton at light.
The spectrum was a curious sight.
"This light isn't stained,"
Sir Isaac explained,
"for when recombined it comes back white!"

Chris Matthews

The sky has a beautiful hue,
to scattering of light it's due.
Long wavelengths like red,
through air go unbled,
leaving us seeing the blue!

Chris Matthews

Explained Heisenberg one day to his son,
"My Principle is not a difficult one.
Measuring x is an ease,
and finding p is a breeze,
but determining both I'm not sure can be done."

Chris Matthews

Is light a particle or wave?
Corpusular it seems to behave.
But thru a double slit,
Interference does its bit,
demonstrating that photons do quave.

Chris Matthews

What causes the mountains to lift?
What causes a fissure to rift?
What makes the ground shake
during an earthquake?
The answer is continental drift!

Chris Matthews

Answer this question if you will,
What colours the green of dill?
In a plant cell,
is a chemical,
that goes by the name chlorophyll!

Chris Matthews

Alpha centauri is a binary star,
the distance to which is quite far.
Said Einstein, one night,
"To measure, use light."
"Denn it's only 4,3 Jahr!"

Roy Briere Maxwell

If you'll just add dE by dt
And combine equations, you'll see
That waves a la Hertz
And photons, in spurts,
Both travel with speed equal c. 

David Morin, Eric Zaslow, E'beth Haley, John Golden, Nathan Salwen -
Harvard team

There once was a world full of things,
But Ed said 'tis nothing but strings.
With Kaluza extensions
To eleven dimensions,
"It's really quite simple," he sings.

The ad said, for one little fee,
You can skip all that grad-school ennui.
So send your tuition,
No need for admission!
Get your mail-order physics degree!

The prof was so clever and wise,
When his work was inspired by highs.
In the cosmos he'd dine
On rose-petal wine,
With giraffes wearing purple suede ties.

David Morin, Eric Zaslow, E'beth Haley, John Golden, Nathan Salwen -
Harvard team

Who needs the balance and check?
Screw peer review --- what the heck!
Send all of your crap
To the internet --- zap!
Who cares if it's nothing but dreck!

There once was a student with flash,
Who set out to make a big splash.
But the profs who were rising
Had no time for advising,
So she's back on the streets, selling hash.

There once was a scathing review,
Which blasted the work through and through.
It said that what's true
Is clearly not new,
And what's new is most surely not true.
(these last three lines come from a well-known quote)

On a merry-go-round in the night,
Coriolis was shaken with fright.
Despite how he walked,
'Twas like he was stalked,
By some fiend always pushing him right.

Ernst Mach found himself in Nantucket,
Where water he spun in a bucket.
He said with a grin,
As he wiped off his chin,
"My, how those distant stars suck it!"

Light passed a black hole from Nantucket,
Where his pull was so great he would suck it.
He said with a grin,
As he pulled the light in,
"With Hawking radiation, I'll chuck it!"

There was a black hole from Nantucket,
Whose trick was to grab light and suck it.
He sucked so much in,
I scratched at my chin,
Wond'ring where in this stunt he could tuck it.

A grad student's search for advisors
Turned up a boatload of misers.
There was barely a nickel,
Cash flowed in a trickle,
And not, as expected, in geysers.

"Extremize f," said the text.
I at once $\partial f/\partial x$'ed.
I zeroed that, sighed,
$\partial f/\partial y$'ed,
But solving these two had me vexed.

The change in the two cars' momentum
Was that which a third car had lent them.
Total P was conserved,
Until, braking, they swerved,
And total K.E., till it bent them.

When God said, "Let the Higgs be!"
He gave it but slight energy.
He said, "You grow thinner,
You must have some dinner."
So it ate up some W and Z.

On a tropical beach walked Niels Bohr,
Transfixed by the waves flowing pure.
Then he looked at the sand,
And thought it quite grand How those waves met the grains at the shore.

A young child looked up in the sky,
And said, "It's so blue, Mom, but why?"
You see, blue scatters more
(There's this power of 4),
So it rarely comes straight to your eye.

John never comes home to the house.
He's working too hard! cried his spouse.
He toils all night,
'Neath the terminal's light,
With only one hand on the mouse.

There once was an academician,
Whose papers should've earned the position,
But were too-fewly numbered,
So untenured he lumbered,
'Till he fell to the ranks of attrition.

What would you have said, Galileo,
If instead you dropped cows and did say, "Oh!
To lessen the sound
Of the moos from the ground,
They should fall not through air but through mayo!"

The experiment of Michelson and Morley
Allows us to say, very surely,
"If this ether is real,
It has no appeal,
And shows itself off rather poorly."

One day, legend says, Isaac Newton
Came a-runnin', a-hollerin', and a-hootin'.
He was a-rubbin' his head,
And a-wishin' instead
Of an apple, he'd picked a rambuten.

The cosmos according to Hubble
Expands like the soap of a bubble.
Let's hope it's not closed,
It would then be disposed
To shrink down to zero, and that's trouble.

One morning while eating my Wheaties,
I felt the earth move 'neath my feeties.
The cause for alarm
Was a long lever-arm,
At the end of which stood Archimedes.

Relativistic limericks have the attraction
Of being shrunk by a Lorentz contraction.
But for readers, unwary,
The results may be scary,
When they see just a fraction . . .

The power of M's and C-squares
Provides us with just cause for scares.
Our childhood fright
Of a bump in the night
Is now mushrooms from nightmarish prayers.

There once was a tunnel in Texas.
To physics, it turned out a nexus.
Congress said, "Nay!
For this we won't pay
It won't help in building a Lexus."

There once was a method, RG.
That gets rid of the infinity.
Some say that the bug
Is hid by a rug,
But maybe that's how it should be.

Your units are wrong! cried the teacher.
Your church weighs six joules --- what a feature!
The people inside
Are four hours wide,
And eight Gauss away from the preacher!

They're vacuuming dirt from Topeka
With a bad-ass, humongous Eureka.
The silt is then fed
To the East River bed,
"But you'll flood," Archi said, "Nuyorica!"
(note: we thought Nuyorica was a place in NYC, but now
we're not so sure.)

Larry Lobster crawls deep in the sea,
Where the pressure and depth guarantee
That all the frustrations
Of mighty crustaceans
Won't help when they have to go pee.

An electron is sure hard to please.
When spread out, it sometimes will freeze.
Though agoraphobic,
It's still claustrophobic,
And runs off when put in a squeeze.

Copernicus gave his reply
To those who had pledged to deny.
"All your addictions
To ancient convictions
Won't bring back your place in the sky."

As we grow up, we open an ear,
Exploring the cosmic frontier.
In this coming of age,
We turn in our cage,
All alone on a tiny blue sphere.

The referee caused him much strife.
She sounded so much like his wife.
"Accept my derisions
On all your revisions,
And get the hell out of my life!"

"To three, five, and seven, assign
A name," the prof said, "we'll define."
But he botched the instruction
With lame-ass induction,
And told us the next prime was nine.

Newton said as he gazed off afar,
"From here to the most distant star,
The wond'rous ellipses
And solar eclipses
All come from a 1 over r."

The skill to do math on a page
Has declined to the point of outrage.
Equations quadratica
Are solved on mathematica,
And on birthdays we don't know our age.

Frank Moser

There was a young lassie named Laser
Who never let problems dephase her
Never yielding coherence
She kept up her appearance
By wearing a ruby red blazer

Peter Price

An electronic scheme promised lots
From coherently joined nanodots.
But when Coulomb blockaded
The gadgets abraded,
And converted their white noise to shots.

Peter Price

While bemused by my whirling screen saver,
I imagined a new lepton flavor.
But I'll yet make my mark
With a loftier top quark,
Or an anyon bigger and braver.

Peter Price

A youthful encoder named Alice
Has tunnelled from Dover to Calais:
Since her heart failed to throb
While entangled with Bob,
An oblivious transfer to the Gallish.
* 'Calais' as spoken in Maine

Peter Price

Since the Unending Frontier's demise,
A change of perspective seems wise.
For no grants will be hatched
With string theories attached,
While society's eye's on the prize.

Peter Price

I sing the Am. Phys. Soc's first century,
And our labors both bookish and venturey.
Now our Physical Reviews
Come in multiple hues,
Wherein none of it seems elementary.

Peter Price

Copenhagen's view may be correct,
In entangling observe and effect.
Still it seems to me that
Only Schro"dinger's cat
Knows which side of a door to select.

Peter Price

Another great Dane has made free
With a question of Be or Not be.
Now might Schro"dinger's puss,
In descending by Schuss,
Leave one track on each side of a tree?

Michael Reck

We all think it's called entanglement.
But what we think is not what he meant.
The proper translation
of Schrodinger's version,
Verschr\"ankung, is more like entwinement!

Michael Reck

The multiport is a thing nefarious.
The ways of construction are various.
With phases and mirrors,
and bewaring of errors,
the setups we build are precarious.

Michael Reck

The physics of optical fibers
present us with effects diverse
that will pulses reshape
interference unmake
with components that light do disperse.

Michael Reck

A splitter for three is a tritter.
In labs he's a popular critter.
A quarter is for four
and the device for more,
the splitter for five, is a quitter.

Michael Reck

Photons in pairs have a quality
with no regard for reality
when on paths that don't meet
they non-locally beat
testing a Bell inequality.

Michael Reck

Writing with a cramp in the finger,
references include Schrodinger,
Einstein and Podolsky,
Rosen cum Zukowski,
with Greenberger, Horne, and Zeilinger.

And Then There Were Photons
William Rolnick

An electron, while trav'ling in space,
met a positron there "face-to-face."
The electron then sighed,
at the sight of his bride
and they "died" in a loving embrace.

Detector's Dilemma
William Rolnick

Two slits were wide open, you see.
But no photons would land here on me.
When they shut down one slit,
I received quite a bit.
Well now, how could that possibly be?

Short Ode to John Keats
William Rolnick

That beauty ain't truth, we now know.
And, yes, truth isn't beauty, but lo,
although they're quite rare,
those two do form a pair.
And by bottom and top they now go.

William Rolnick

Is nature so fickle, my friend,
an indefinite future t'portend?
"Well they say it is so
'cause experiments show
Probability reigns in the end."

Michael Scanlan

Said the cat in the box, "This is fun.
Inside all chances are one.
So there could be a kitten
With whom I am smitten.
Please don't lift the lid till I'm done."

David M. Smith

A friend who's in liquor production
Owns a still of astounding construction.
The alcohol boils
Through old magnet coils;
She says that it's "proof by induction."

Conway W Snyder

It's as easy to say as to know
That in winter molasses is slow.
But a physicist, enamored of verbosity,
Would invent some mathematical monstrosity
And attribute the decrease of the velocity
To its "thermal coefficient ov viscosity".

Roger Tobin

Erwin's tabby cried out to be fed.
In a box he confined her instead.
Now she sits there and waits
In her superposed states,
To find out if she's living or dead.

Morris E. Wickliffe

Though well known as an inveterate talker
Of his manifest skills as a stalker
He is quick to demur
That he's not after fur
Only atoms are trapped by Thad Walker.

John Woodward

A Danish professor named Bohr
Thought atoms had a nuclear core,
"A plum pudding raisin
Would scatter just grazing,
Not like sine to the negative four!"

Copyright 1997, The American Physical Society.
The APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this
newsletter provided that attribution to the source is noted and the
materials are not truncated or changed.

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From: Erik Nelson <rknlsn#NoSpam.tiac.net>

Here is something I found that you should know about if you don't
already, which I found in an anthology of nonsense verse.

Where can I find "real" literature discussing the same thing,
seeing as how this verse is apparently an effort to paraphrase something
someone studied in a real math and-or physics course, but I do not know
how to make sense of it.  Does anyone know who the Dr. Ball is, who is
mentioned in the last verse? If you know the answer to these questions,
please e-mail me: rknlsn#NoSpam.tiac.net (Erik Nelson)

from "A Nonsense Anthology", Collected by Carolyn Wells.
Dover, 1958  reprint of first edition published by Scribner in 1902.
Page 33.

Song of the Screw

A moving form or rigid mass,
Under whate'er conditions
Along successive screws must pass
Between each two positions.
It turns around and slides along--
This is the burden of my song.

The pitch of screw, if multiplied
     By angle of rotation,
Will give the distance it must glide
     In motion of translation.
Infinite pitch means pure translation,
And zero pitch means pure rotation.

Two motions on two given screws,
     With amplitudes at pleasure,
Into a third screw-motion fuse;
     Whose amplitude we measure
By parallelogram construction
(A very obvious deduction.)

Its axis cuts the nodal line
    Which to both screws is normal,
And generates a form divine,
    Whose name, in language formal,
Is "surface-ruled of third degree."
Cylindroid is the name for me.

Rotation round a given line
    Is like a force along.
If to say couple you incline,
    You're clearly in the wrong.
'T is obvious, upon reflection,
A line is not a mere direction.

So couples with translations too
     In all respects agree;
And thus there centres in the screw
     A wondrous harmony
Of Kinematics and of statics,--
The sweetest thing in mathematics.

The forces on one given screw,
     With motion on a second,
In general some work will do,
     Whose magnitude is reckoned
By angle, force and what we call
The coefficent virtual.

Rotation now to force convert,
     And force into rotation;
Unchanged the work, we can assert,
     In spite of transformation.
And if two screws no work can claim,
Reciprocal will be their name.

Five numbers will a screw define,
     A screwing motion, six;
For four will give the axial line,
     One more the pitch will fix;
And hence we always can contrive
One screw reciprocal to five.

Screws-- two, three, or four combined
     (No question here of six),
Yield other screws which are combined
     Within one screw complex.
Thus we obtain the clearest notion
Of freedom and constraint of motion.

In complex III., three several screws
     At every point you find,
Or if you one direction choose,
     One screw is to your mind;
And complexes of order III.
Their own reciprocals may be.

In IV., wherever you arrive,
     You find of screws a cone,
On every line in complex V.
     There is precisely one;
At each point of this complex rich,
A plane of screws have given pitch.

But time would fail me to discourse
     Of Order and Degree;
Of Impulse, Energy and Force,
     And Reciprocity.
All these and more, for motions small,
Have been discussed by Dr. Ball.

           -- J. D. Everett

Originally in :  Nature, Volume 14, Issue 341, pp. 30 (1876).

From: "Arfur Dogfrey" <dogschool#NoSpam.dogmail.com>

The poem is by English Physicist J. D. Everett  and is a poetic synopsis of
Treatise on the Theory of Screws (1876) by Robert S. Ball (1840-1913).

You can read the 1900 update of  Dr. Ball's treatise online at


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From: "Kerry L. Opel" <kopel#NoSpam.dragonbbs.com>
Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might.
Aw shit
It's just a satelite

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From: J. Richard Jacobs (On the Science Jokes mailing list:
There once was a species named Sapiens.
They lived on a planet called Earth.
Along came a body uncatalogued;
Now nothing remains but the dirt.

J. Richard "Dr. Doom" Jacobs

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                  by John Updike

Neutrinos: they are very small
They have no charge; they have no mass;
they do not interact at all.
The Earth is just a silly ball
to them, through which they simply pass
like dustmaids down a drafty hall
or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
ignore the most substantial wall,
cold shoulder steel and sounding brass,
insult the stallion in his stall,
and, scorning barriers of class,
infiltrate you and me. Like tall
and painless guillotines they fall
down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
and pierce the lover and his lass
from underneath the bed. You call
it wonderful; I call it crass.

John Updike, in: From Telephones Poles and other Poems

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Special Category: Erwin Schr५dinger
Januari 4
August 12
Special Category: Albert Einstein
March 14
April 18

From: "Douglas Woolley" <dawool#NoSpam.directvinternet.com>

Schroedinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!
Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!
(Not bad, eh? Don't worry. This part of the verse
Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)
Win saw that the theory that Newton'd invented
By Einstein's discov'ries had been badly dented.
What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, "Don't
No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.
Consider electrons. Now, these teeny articles
Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like
If that's not confusing, the nuclear dance
Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!
No sweat, though--my theory permits us to judge
Where some of 'em is and the rest of 'em was."
Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck
The comforting linkage of cause and effect.
E'en Einstein had doubts, and so Schroedinger tried
To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.
Said Win to Al, "Brother, suppose we've a cat,
And inside a tube we have put that cat at--
Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,
A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes
(Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got 'em,
One vial prussic acid, one decaying ottom
Or atom--whatever--but when it emits,
A trigger device blasts the vial into bits
Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime
Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.
The cylinder's sealed. The hour's passed away. Is
Our pussy still purring--or pushing up daisies?
Now, you'd say the cat either lives or it don't
But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won't.
Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),
Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.
To some this may seem a ridiculous split,
But quantum mechanics must answer, "Tough @#&!
We may not know much, but one thing's fo' sho':
There's things in the cosmos that we cannot know.
Shine light on electrons--you'll cause them to swerve.
The act of observing disturbs the observed--
Which ruins your test. But then if there's no testing
To see if a particle's moving or resting
Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavor!
We know probability--certainty, never.'
The effect of this notion? I very much fear
'Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly
Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,
"We've just flipped a coin and we've learned he's a
So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, "You're nuts.
God doesn't play dice with the universe, putz.
I'll prove it!" he said, and the Lord knows he tried--
In vain--until fin'ly he more or less died.
Win spoke at the funeral: "Listen, dear friends,
Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.
Though he doubted my theory, I'll say of this saint:
Ten-to-one he's in heaven--but five bucks says he
                -- Cecil Adams

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October 10
Februari 24

From: <dawool#NoSpam.bellsouth.net>

    Ode to Hydrogen

Just one proton you contain, 
Yet you baffled Neils Bohrs brain.
The Hindenburg was filled with you,
Seems that was an error too,
But that blast was downright teeny,
Compared to testing at Bikini.
When four of you are shoved together,
That creates our summer weather.
Balmers lines are colored bright,
Lymans look like dark of night.
In gas you pair up two by two,
No element outnumbers you.

           -Douglas Woolley

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From: Janis Knox <jknox#NoSpam.pacbell.net>
Here is one that I wrote for children but it seemed to fit in.

Janis Knox.  Astronomy student.

                        Gravity and Other Theories

Gravity is so predictable
We understand just what it does
It makes the meteors fall from space
And keeps the oceans in their place.
But what great power stops the moon
From hitting earth today at noon?
And what is it that keeps the sun
From making all the planets one?
They simply play the spinning game
"Centrifugal" is this forces name.
It keeps the planets in their place
And all the galaxies in space.
Unless they meet a big black hole
Then they cant resist its pull
They augur in with just a whimper
And then they are a whole lot denser.

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Special Category: Max Born
Januari 5
December 11
From: Sabine Grossmann <grossmann.sabine#NoSpam.web.de>

to smash a little atom
all mankind was intend
now every day
the atom may 
return the compliment

there is also a german version:

Zu sprengen den Atomkern
die Menschheit war erpicht
nun jeden Tag 
erwidern mag
den Scherz der kleine Wicht

By Max Born.

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December 25
March 30
Special Category: Isaac Newton

From: PopiTart#NoSpam.aol.com

If ever man fulfilled his quest,
Then surely Newton passed the test:
Figs that are high
Toward the ground tend to fly,
And objects at rest stay at rest.

-Emily Porter 

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Special Category: Jean le Rond d'Alembert
Special Category: Archimedes
Special Category: Nicolaus Copernicus
Special Category: Ptolemy
Special Category: Johannes Kepler
Special Category: Galileo Galilei
Special Category: Isaac Newton
Special Category: Ren़ Descartes
Special Category: Leonhard Euler

                      The Astronomer's Drinking Song

"Whoe'er would search the starry sky,
  Its secrets to devine, sir,
Should take his glass - I mean, should try
  A glass or tow of wine, sir!
True virtue lies in golden mean,
  and man must wet his clay, sir;
Join these two maxims, and 'tis seen
  He should drink his bottle a day, sir!

"Old Archimedes, reverend sage!
  By trump of fame renowed, sir,
Deep problems solved in every page,
  And the sphere's curved surface found, sir:
Himself he would have far outshone,
  And borne a wider sway, sir,
Had he our modern secret known,
  And drank a bottle a day, sir!

"When Ptolemy, now long ago,
  Believed the earth stood still, sir,
He never would have blundered so,
  Had he but drunk his fill, sir.
He'd then have felt it circulate,
  And would have learnt to say, sir,
The true way to investigate
  Is to drink your bottle a day, sir!

"Copernicus, that learned wight,
  The glory of his nation,
With draughts of wine refreshed his sight,
  And saw the earths's rotation;
Each planet then its orb described,
  The moon got under way, sir;
These truths from nature he imbibed
  For he drank his bottle a day, sir!

"The noble Tycho placed the stars,
  Each in his due location;
He lost his nose(1) by spite of Mars,
  But that was no privation:
Had he but lost his mouth, I grant
  He would have felt dismay, sir,
Bless you! *he* knew what he should want
  To drink his bottle a day, sir!

"Cold water makes no lucky hits;
  On mysteries the head runs:
Small drink let Kepler time his wits
  On the regular polyhedrons:
He took to wine, and it changed the chime,
  His genius swept away, sir,
Through area varying at the time
  At the rate of a bottle a day, sir!

"Poor Galileo, forced to rat
  Before the inquisition,
*E pur si muove* was the pat
  He gave them in addition:
He meant, whate'er you think you prove,
  the earth must go its way, sirs;
Spite of your teeth I'll make it move
  For I'll drink my bottle a day, sirs!

"Great Newton, who was never beat
  Whatever fools may think, sir;
Though sometimes he forgot to eat,
  He never forgot to drink, sir;
Descartes(2) took nought but lemonade,
  To conquer him was play, sir;
The first advance that Newton made
  Was to drink his bottle a day, sir!

"D'Alembert, Euler and Clairaut,
  Though they increased our store, sir,
Much further had been seen to go
  Had they tippled a little more, sir!
Lagrange gets mellow with Laplace,
  And both are wont to say, sir!
The *philosophe* who's not an ass
  Will drink his bottle a day, sir!

"Astronomers! What can avail
  Those who calumniate us;
Experiment can never fail
  With such an apparatus:
Let him who'd have his merits known
  Remember what I say, sir;
Fair science shines on him alone
  Who drinks his bottle a day, sir!

"How light we reck of those who mock
  By this we'll make him appear,s ir,
We'll dine by the sidereal clock
  For one more bottle a year, sir:
But choose which pendulum you will, sir,
Unless you drink - and drink your fill, -
  At least a bottle a day, sir!"

(Sung by the Mathematical Society of Londen)

(1)Tycho lost his nose in a duel with Maderupius Pasbergius.  A
comtemporary, T. B. Laurus, insinuates that they fought to settle which was
the best mathematician!  The seems odd, but it must be remembered that they
fought in the dark, "in tenebris densis"; and it is a nice problem to shave
off a nose in the dark, without any other harm.

(2)As great a lie as ever was told: but in 1800 a compliment to Newton
without a fling at Descartes would have been held a lopsided structure.

Source: Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871), The Budget of Paradoxes, 1872 In
in J. R. Newman(ed.) The World of Mathematics

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From: Frodo Morris
The Grand ol' Duke of York, he had ten thousand men;
He marched 'em up to the top of the hill
And he marched 'em down again.
And when they were up they were |up>,
And when they were down they were |down>;
And when they were only halfway up
They were in a linear superposition of |up> and |down> eigenstates.

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Januari 12
June 22
From Randall Wall http://www.plasticsurgerydr.com/rrel.html
          Haiku about Relativity
           by Randall Wall

One time, I was at
A forum, and I started
A thread 'bout haiku.

After a few posts,
Someone said that haiku must
Be about nature.

I replied, saying
I liked science, not nature.
That was my topic.

I wrote some short ones.
About evolution and
The Big Bang theory.

But I wanted more.
I thought back to a website
That I once had seen:

Explained using words of just
Four letters or less."

(Of course, on the page,
They did not use a haiku.
I just did that here.

If it would please you,
You may see this page yourself
The link is right here.)

Anyway, I thought,
If they could use just short words,
Haiku was easy.

So, I sat down and
Wrote the following poem
I hope you like it:

Hard to explain in haiku.
But I think I'll try.

First, there's "special;" it
Has no acceleration
Only about speed.

For all observers
Who do not accelerate.
Physics is the same.

Imagine two guys
Floating out in open space.
They're named Al and Bert.

If they move apart
Does Al move, or is it Bert?
There's no way to tell.

But what about light?
Al could take a lamp with him
And then turn it on.

Light travels at c.
Al can compare self to light
To find his speed, right?

Nope, that would not work.
Light always travels at c.
For all observers.

How does this matter?
This fact changes many things.
Here's an example:

We have a train car.
Two leaders at front and back
Plus there's a table.

Leaders just fought war.
Now, they want to sign treaty
At exact same time.

So, here's what they do:
They put light bulb on table
Half-way in between.

When they see the light
Then they will sign the treaty.
Will be the same time?

An observer on
The car would say both leaders
Signed at the same time.

"The light left the bulb,
Traveled exact same distance
Reached ends at same time."

But, an observer
Sitting beside the train tracks
Would not think the same.

"After light turned on
The train was still moving fast
Distances were changed.

The leader in back
Moved closer to where bulb was
He saw the light first."

So, which one is right?
The answer is both of them.
Not intuitive.

So, time's relative.
It moves differently for some
Than does for others.

Also, without time
Length and mass are relative
Only c's constant.

That was the "special"
Type of relativity
Now, for "general."

So, you cannot say
Whether or not you're moving.
But that isn't all.

You also can't speak
About acceleration.
Why? Let me explain.

To put it simply:
Gravity accelerates
Just like space ships do.

More complicated:
Imagine a fast space ship
With you inside it.

You feel a pull
Towards the bottom of your ship
Just like gravity.

What's making this pull?
It is the whole universe.
As it goes past you.

Same with centrifuge:
The whole universe revolves
Around the sample tube.

Neither you nor tube
Can say if they are moving
Or the universe.

When you are moving
Space-time gets "warped" around you
Warping makes the pull.

Same with gravity.
A large mass will warp space-time.
And create a pull.

"What is this 'space-time'?"
It is hard to understand.
I'll try to explain.

Usually, when
Things travel, they move in a
Perfectly straight line.

However, mass or
Acceleration can cause
A straight line to bend.

If you travel near
A large mass, you'll see your ship
Won't move in a line

Rather, it will curve
Around the large mass. This is
Because space-time bent.

In three dimensions
Your ship traveled in a curve
But not in space-time.

In four dimensions,
Your ship took the shortest path
That space-time allowed.

This is how orbits
Work; we're just moving through a
Bent-up space-time field.

Of course, there are some
Other cool effects of this:
Black holes, time travel.

But I will leave those
For a second discussion
I'll have an encore!

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From: phil <philbo#NoSpam.cix.co.uk>
"Windmills of your Mind" Originally by Dusty Springfield

"N-Dimensional Space" Parody by Phil Alexander

This is to anyone who ever tried to study quantum physics or superstring


Like an angle in a triangle
A plane upon a plane
Euclidian geometry's
Not too hard to explain
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a path upon a sphere
Once you hit that third dimension
It all becomes less clear
Like a tiny 1-D superstring
That's infinitely small
It exists in ten dimensions,
Or is it really there at all?
These are problems that you face
When pondering n-dimensional space
Like a tesseract unfolding
As from nowhere it has grown
We see it coming from a fourth
Dimension of its own
Like a door that keeps revolving
Pushed by Schroedinger's dead cat
Just which three of the ten 
Dimensions are we looking at?
Like a theory mutated
On a plane that's rearranged
And topology that's twisted
'Till reality has changed
Can mathematics keep apace
With changing N-dimensional space?
Sets that hold dimensions
Whose dimensions set the sets
If you understand recursion
That's as complex as it gets
Things that by their interactions
And their intersects defined

Does the logical conclusion cause
Implosion of the mind?
Pictures like they were by Dali
Looking really, very odd
In the depths of quantum physics
Do we see the face of God?
When you knew exams were over
Were you suddenly aware
That what you wrote was rubbish
But now you really couldn't care...
Like a one-dimensional ribbon
Like a thread around a thread
Superstring theory turns
The world upon its head
And it shows a certain grace
Electro-microscopic lace
In N-Dimensional space

If you enjoyed this parody, please vote for it here: 


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December 21
June 10
From: phil <philbo#NoSpam.cix.co.uk>

"Eleanor Rigby" Based on the performance by The Beatles
"Brownian Motion" Parody by Phil Alexander

Ah, look at all the little particles
Ah, look at all the little particles

Brownian motion tries to explain how a dust mote can move when 
there's nothing else there
Except the air
Air isn't moving - there must be something that is on the move but 
that we cannot see
What can it be?

All those little part'cles
Why do they rise and fall?
All those little part'cles
Why do they move at all?

Ah, look at all the little particles
Ah, look at all the little particles

Air is made up from atoms and molecules whizzing around at high speed
So now take heed
See the dust jerking, something is hitting that speck just to make it 
go whizz
Know what it is?

All those little part'cles
Why, what is it we've found?
All those little part'cles
Why do they move around?

Ah, look at all the little particles
Ah, look at all the little particles

Brownian motion caused by collisions with something that's too small 
to see
Wbat can they be?
Miniscule mol'cules banging the dust motes we see as they go whizzing 
Moving quite fast

All those little part'cles
Why do they move in jerks?
All those little part'cles
Now I know how it works...


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From: Tuomo Kalliokoski <tuokall#NoSpam.cc.jyu.fi>

         Life and Quarks
       By Tuomo Kalliokoski

There are ups and downs in life.
Sometimes it's even strange and it can be charming.
One should never forget the bottom line: Beauty of physics.
Which is the truth at the top.

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October 9
May 11
From: Rakesh_Nandakumar#NoSpam.Dell.com

    The black hole
              By Rakesh Nadakumar

He has lived a long long life
Full of zest and showering light
And now its time for him to leave
To crumble into his own self
As a good samaritan he had lived
All for others all for good
Now as he falls the eyes glow red
Volts of might enter his blood
He turns as black as black can get
The heresy of the dark sucker is set
At the heart of the world he sits
Ready to sever the naive to bits
Feasted on many the sucker has
His hunger for more will never die
Not even to the lightest of the light
Will he stop showing his might
What of his prey noone knows
In another world they may raise their woes
Will we meet them in some future spell
Only the sands of time will tell

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December 18
From: "lindsay coker" <arco#NoSpam.netspace.net.au>
        By Lindsay Coker
(original for this site)

Hey, little photon, am I right?
You and your brothers make up light, 
Get up close and form a stream,
Work together as a team?
Hey, little photon, do you act alone,
Or only with the other clones?
Be a wave of specific length
Or a particle of unknown strength?
Hey, little photon, 
What's it like out there?
Out in space and unaware
You could come to earth and hiy my eye
And make me see. Do you die?
Part of universal history,
Backdrop to the human mind
You might be real or just a fable - 
Will us humans one day find
In searching out your mystery
That reality is just a label?

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From: farooq_w#NoSpam.hotmail.com (Mohammed Farooq)

An electron, while traveling in space, 
Met a positron there face-to-face. 
The electron then sighed, 
At the sight of his bride 
And they died in a loving embrace.

---by W. Rolnick

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Special Category: Christmas Science Jokes
From: "Thomas Cotton" <gossypion#NoSpam.onetel.net>

        A Cautionary tale

From the 'Atom Train'
Guide to the travelling Exhibition on Atomic Energy,
brochure, England, 1947:
This is the tale of Frederick Worms,
Whose parents weren't on speaking terms.
So, when Fred wrote to Santa Claus
He wrote in duplicate, because
One went to Dad and one to Mum,
Both asking for plutonium,
Which met in Frederick's stocking and
Laid waste ten square miles of land.
Learn from this tale of nuclear fission:
Never mix science and superstition.

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From: ecwade#NoSpam.vt.edu

   Ode to Quark

                By Emily Wade

Up quark, down quark
Strange quark, charm quark
Bottom quark, top quark
Are the various quarkal flavors
Only up and down are common in matter
Since the others are unstable and fatter

In an experiment they were discovered
--In one similar to that of Rutherford--
By shooting electrons at a proton
Some electrons shall backscatter
Indicative of a point-like matter
Which we now call quarks

The quarks strong force between two,
Carried by an exchange of glues,
Tis not like electromagnetism!
But twas no sort of cataclysm
The force between two quark particles
Just gets stronger as they get farther

Thus quarks and antiquarks are never free
They always come in two or three
To make mesons & baryons, respectively

The proton contains two up, one down
And in this positive structure theyre bound
But quarks are capable of roaming round
At short distances, theyre free to race
Inside this fermionic hadron case
Because quarks have asymptotic freedom

To differentiate, twas decided
Quarks shall comes in different hue
Of red and green, and also blue
Because quantum mechanics does not permit
Identical particles to in the same state sit
And we often see three ups together
So this color factor makes it better
And now quarks dont violate quantum mechanics.

In the year of 1974,
This color factor was explored
And found to really represent,
The charge of the quark strong force.
Gluons carry this color charge too
This way they can attract,
Those quarks of blue
Or red or green or whatever they need
They can also attract one another indeed

From: JONATHAN CASWELL <jonathanecaswell#NoSpam.yahoo.com>
To: pentatette#NoSpam.limericks.org
Sent: Sat, November 21, 2009 8:40:52 AM
Subject: Geneva "Big Bang" machine up and running again.

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From: Cassandra White <clw073#NoSpam.truman.edu>

I wrote a physics haiku in class today that my professor urged me to
submit.  It is: 

These plural points of
perpetual zeros are
known as nodes of waves.

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From: JONATHAN CASWELL <jonathanecaswell#NoSpam.yahoo.com>
The Hadron Collider(**) returned
A year after one circuit burned,
    You'd think that each splice
    Would be checked out twice
Considering what the tech must have earned.
One poorly-soldered little circuit
Made ten billion dollars less worth it,
    Took forty million more
    To get it off the floor
To where researcher could work it.
(**The largest particle collider in the world, outside of Geneva, Switzerland)
Chicago has its Levatron,
Geneva has a Proton Hedron
    That's nick-named Big Bang
    To which praises rang
Till a simple burnt splice shut it down.
                                         ---J.E. Caswell

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