From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Twas the Night Before What?

CREDIT: unknown
Isaac Newton, who in my not-so-humble-opinion may have been the smartest person to have lived, was born on the 25th of December 1642.*

In honor of his birth, I stole adapted the poem attributed to Clement Moore.  Here is

Twas the Night Before Newtonmas.

Twas the night before Newtonmas, when all through the house
Not a field was changing, not even a gauss.

The test tubes were stacked by the sink with care,

In hopes that Einstein soon would be there.

The faculty were huddled all smug in their wool threads,

While visions of bosons collided in their heads.

And the Dean at her desk, and I in my lab,

Had just collimated the particle beams at Fermilab.

When out on the quad there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the lab to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a photon,

Tore open the shutters and spied an electron of Compton.

The radiation through the nearly ideal gas

Gave a Cerenkov blue hue to objects of mass.

When, what should appear in the department,

But a miniature CERN, and eight grad students.

With a little old professor, proclaiming "nein, nein, nein!",

I knew in a moment it must be Albert Einstein.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!"

Now Bethe! now, Boltzmann! now, Maxwell and Feynman!
On, Noether! On, Pauli! on, on de Sitter and Gell-Mann!

To the top of the chart! to the top of the graph!

Now graph away! Graph away! Graph away staff!"

He sprang to his office, and his team of academicians,

And away they all flew like the neutrons of a fission.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he theorized out of sight,
"Happy Newtonmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

*In an amazing coincidence, Galileo Galilei died this same year on the 8th of January.

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