Nine of Clubs: Grand Unification


Note: I wrote this with the tune and sentiment of Tom Smith‘s A Boy and his Frog (mp3) in my head. If you know the tune, please imagine that this poem is sung to the same tune as whichever verses it fits.

You might think that we’re just doing science
With a hadron collider so large.
But we’ve built this electric alliance
to give weight to our positive charge.

Take researchers from every nation,
Let the humans within them collide.
We will find the grand unification
when we see we’re all on the same side.

And with ev’ry race, tongue and religion
we’ll find how to give all the world mass.
If we’d all interact just a smidgen
with the openness through which we pass

we’d see life’s ups and downs become charming and strange,
when we face them head on, and what’s more,
seeking beauty and truth we can make a big change
with small change from the purses of war.

Take the light at the end of the tunnel,
and ensure it goes all the way round,
to illuminate more than the sun’ll,
and enlighten with what we have found:

When you’ve unresolved matters, and not enough kin,
and face too many forces to name,
if you cut out the din, and put energy in,
it turns out that we’re all just the same.

I came up with the idea for this, and about half of the puns, during a talk by the director general of CERN. I’m not going to say that the talk was boring, but it didn’t inspire as much concentration as I needed to understand an hour and a half of somewhat muffled French. It did inspire a poem though, and I’m really happy with this one. It’s loaded with physics puns, such that most of it has an almost perfect double meaning, with particle and human interactions side by side.

It was all surprisingly easy to write, too. The only stanza which I had problems with, and which I’m also not 100% happy with, is the last one. Once I’d written the second-to-last stanza, I realised that I would either have to delete it, or write another stanza to come after it. So I forced out the last stanza. I also considered this:

When you’re swamped by the matters, or stirred by the spin
and find too many forces to name,
if you cut out the din, and put energy in,
it turns out that we’re all just the same.

Which adds a reference to spin, but without any reference to families it doesn’t really connect with the ‘we’re all just the same’ on the human level (although the physics still works: at a high enough energy all of the fundamental forces are the same. Or at least, that’s what people hope to discover at the LHC and other colliders.)

Since I have time to spare, I’ll get back to teaching my computer to sing last week’s Thing, while listening to the Tom Smith albums I had forgotten to buy earlier.

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  1. #1 by Smiley on October 8, 2008 - 4:39 pm

    When I started reading this I thought it was going to be technical and go above my head, but I love the underlying thought of the poem about the fact that we’re all the same, and about peace.

    Like

  1. Five of Clubs: Juratron Park « Writing Cards and Letters

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