Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dark Matter: a Recalcitrant Phycisist's Lament.

(For Tom, and for BB)

As I was gazing in the air
I saw some stuff that wasn't there.
It wasn't there again today,
I wish it would just go away.


Dale said...


Rouchswalwe said...

Perhaps it lives on the dark side of the moon.

christopher said...

Oh Lucy, after my own heart :D Here goes...

Dark Matter

Oh dear what can that
matter be in between things,
between the wide wheels
of heaven's carriage,
oozing between God's splay toes?

They say space doesn't
hold together right
without this invisible
stuff and yes, weeping
is called for after
forced invisibility,
bowlegged lightyears.

Lucy said...

Thanks you three.

Christopher, you are a very wonder. Physics is by far and away the most poetical of the sciences, and the one least disposed to a dogmatic and intolerant atheism. It's just a bit barking mad sometimes. Though who knows where chemists are coming from? They aren't generally as strident or as sexy as the others, so you don't hear as much from them. Margaret Thatcher and Umberto Eco are the only ones I can think of who have made it to mainstream prominence, and then for something else.

I'm hoping someone will call me on that gross piece of ingnorant generalisation.

I shall copy your poem out and share it with Tom over our morning tea. I love this sprat-to-catch-a-mackerel way blogging works for me.

Anyone like my spiral galaxy? I found it in the back garden.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm ploughing my way through a book about dark matter at the moment.....

Roderick Robinson said...

A dedication! My first! I palpitate like Cherubino. I presume we watched the same Horizon. Mrs BB enjoys these science programmes but this went a step too far. She was particularly irritated by the fact that when the maths doesn't fit the physicists simply add in something new as a temporary door-stopper. And the TV producer resorts, yet again, to that explosion tape which, paradoxically, appeared to calm Mrs BB down.

As to the dedication I must reply in kind, though I can't do it as quickly as shoot-from-the-hip Chris. I have in mind an imaginary dialogue between you and Tom as you watch a TV programme neither of you are liking; that would open up all sorts of possibilities. But why would you continue to watch? The burden of plotting, previously absent from my versifications, transfers itself from the vaguer, more demanding prose world of the fledgling novel.

christopher said...

What is it, 20% of everything is dark matter, and 75% of everything is dark energy or the universe as we see it can't work the way it appears? What we can see is only 5% of everything?? That's a pretty big fudge factor, 95%. Without the dark matter gravity doesn't hold with the figures we have at the size of the galactic clusters. Without dark energy, the expansions involved (starting with inflation) can't overcome the gravitation. Hmmm.

If that much is out of kilter, then we may be waiting for more than one new Einstein to come along and upend everything. As far as I know no one has unified our macro with micro yet.

As for the chemists...they are busy chasing life creation and extension, are they not? They are busy with codes. Actually that's biochemists. The inorganic chemists, who knows?

herhimnbryn said...

Grand stuff Lucy.

Living with one of the 'other' chemists (inorganic), I can tell you he is off using carbon analysers and gas cromatographs in the gold/ iron ore and agricultural industries. There, you really wanted to know that didn't you?

Where did you find that spiral in your garden?

Dick said...

Neat. Unlikely to get Fritz Zwicky's vote, though!

Lucy said...

How very satisfactory!

CGP - I had forgotten you were a physicist as well as crafty, green and a poet!

BB, and Christopher, and vicariously Mrs BB - you have made my husband very happy, for which I can only thank you. What with Julia helping out on the subject of Brahms' intervals, and now sympathisers in the area of Standard Cosmological Model scepticism (or is it denial?), all I have to do is find him someone with whom he can talk about cricket and my work here is done.

Regrettably, BB, the endlessly repeating explosion shot, together with the bursting red balloon, did nothing to placate his ire, but rather increased it. As to why we went on watching, why indeed? I suppose there is always the hope that something good and true may ultimately surface... as ever, my brain began to transform itself into Sleepy Hollow anyway, barely kept awake by the interjections of contempt and rage from the other side of the sofa.

HHB - ah, I hoped you might weigh in on behalf of the chemists! The Alchemical Erstwhile Bear's activities sound potentially quite poetic... The galaxy was a coil of blue plastic netting covered in snow and heavily doctored with Picasa glow, contrast and soft focus.

Dick - thanks, I shall Google him forthwith!

I think I may transfer the bulk of my blogging activity to the comment box. Or I already have.

Pam said...

Hmm. As a mere arts graduate, I feel slightly out of my depth here...

PurestGreen said...

Yesterday I watched a BBC programme about the sun and this just fits with how I was feeling afterwards - bewildered and a bit spinny.:)

Rosie said...

We watched the program about dark matter and were amused by the way the scientific method of which we are all so proud seemed to be tweaked just a little bit to accomodate inconveniences... perhaps we should just call everything "stuff" and have done with it.

P. M. Doolan said...

Clever poem.