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There is a hole in the universe

Below is one of my favorite John M. Ford writings, not that I actually understand all of it, but that is true of me with respect to most John M. Ford writings. (You can get this one on a poster at http://www.cafepress.com/speceng - several other of his poems are also available in various forms there).



COSMOLOGY: A USER'S MANUAL

[Greek letter alpha]
First Cause, the Word, Big Bang -- what name you choose,
One bright note sounds. A symphony ensues.

ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE.
If we, who love the light, had never been,
The stars would find new shoes for dancing in.

BOUNDARY CONDITION.
Beyond, no fusion burns to light the stars;
The waves will not collapse, the joke won't parse.

CAUSALITY.
First one cuts down the tree, then hears it fall --
It seems we don't need this one, after all.

DARK MATTER.
Our sight and hearing span the spectrum, yet
Most of the universe plays hard-to-get.

EMISSION LINES.
The(stellar fires are profligate indeed,)
And what they throw away, we glean and read.

FERMI'S PARADOX.
Hello out there! We're here! Do come and play!
Don't mind what our old broadcast quanta say.

GRAND UNIFIED THEORY.
You hold the chalk, and I'll apply the glue;
Oh, dear, that's loose again. One's never through --

HUBBLE CONSTANT.
The galaxies rush on; the redshifts climb,
And loneliness increases over time.

INFLATIONARY UNIVERSE.
When it was new, the cosmos moved right quick;
Then (sound familiar?) things began to stick.

JEANS, JAMES.
"Like a great thought," he said, but did not cease
To search and blueprint its machineries.

KEPLER, JOHANNES.
He wished elliptic orbits to prove wrong,
Yet still proposed them. Reason's whips are strong.

LORENZ CONTRACTION.
If you will not stand still, while I do so,
I shall see you diminished as you go.

MICROWAVE BACKGROUND.
The cosmic egg-shell cupped against your ear,
The rush of the dark ocean's plain to hear.

NON-EUCLIDEAN GEOMETRY.
It's not that he was wrong, the clever Greek;
But where bare Beauty's seen from, so to speak.

OPEN/OSCILLATING UNIVERSE.
So will it stop, or not? The answer tells
Much less about the stars than of ourselves.

PLANCK EPOCH.
One flash when gravity was consummate --
No era spans less time, or greater weight.

QUANTUM LEAP.
The particle is here, and then is there --
But never in between. How does it dare?

RELATIVITY.
One clock stayed on the ground; its double flew.
And it ran slow. So, then. The mad thing's true.

STRING THEORY.
The particles extend like tightened strings,
And when their frets are plucked, they chord all things.

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT.
First conjure up that one you love to please.
Now, once again, with quarks, or galaxies.

UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE.
Position, yes, or speed, but not the two:
To learn, to see, must be to alter, too.

VIRTUAL PARTICLES.
Some facts (see Heisenberg) we cannot know,
So mass can rise from void, and back there go.

WAVE FUNCTION.
Reduced to mathematics, matter's germ --
"Reduced?" What an unfeeling, thoughtless term!

X-RAY ASTRONOMY.
Beyond the atmosphere, a higher light
Proclaims unique new glories of the night.

YANG-MILLS THEORY.
All sterile are Narcissus and his twin:
When symmetries are broken, things begin.

Zo PARTICLES.
Too massive in thin space to ever thrive,
Yet, rarae aves, dinosaurs survive.

[Greek letter omega]
Heat death or cold, in randomness or Cause,
It is not how it ends, but what it was.




Here is a moving memorial post from his partner elisem.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
redbird
Sep. 25th, 2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ω

Heat death or cold, in randomness or Cause,
It is not how it ends, but what it was.



Indeed, and fitting for Mike, whose life was such a gift to so many.
wcg
Sep. 25th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah.
ailbhe
Sep. 25th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
Wow. I must go back and read this with Wikipedia someday soon.

And then I must really acquaint myself with his work, because all I know of him I read in the Lioness' journal, more or less. A few other bits here and there but not much.
firecat
Sep. 25th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
Both excellent ideas.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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