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Sunday, 17 May 2009

"The Physics of Poetry or the Poetry of Physics" from Laura Orem's blog

How many of us, scientists and non-scientists alike, know of poetic works by Nobel Physicist, Richard Phillips Feynman?

To one of his lectures, Laura Orem, tells us that Feynman added this poetic footnote, a poem in prose:

"Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere gobs of gas atoms. Nothing is "mere."

I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them.

But do I see less or more?

The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination - stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light.

A vast pattern - of which I am a part - perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star,

as one is belching there. Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar, rushing all apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together.

What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the "why?"

It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it.

For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined!

Why do the poets of the present not speak of it?

What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?"


"The Physics of Poetry (or the Poetry of Physics)" from Laura Orem:

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