There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills, and We Don’t Know Why #poetry #astronomy

Neutron stars merging (artist concept, University of Warwick/Mark Garlick)

“Neutron star collisions
Release showers of gold,”
But such cosmic events
Are rare to behold.

They make all the strontium
That is observed,
But our planet’s bright gilding
Is hardly deserved.

Carbon makes sense,
Uranium’s explained,
Europium was tricky
But now ascertained.

So why so much gold?
Why all the bling?
That’s still a mystery
You wear as a ring.

Thanks to Live Science for their article and the phrase quoted above that launched this poem.

Can You Hear Me Now? #sciku and #aliens #haiku

Fermi Paradox
Physics the limit or our
Imagination?

Radio Telescope

Scientific American’s article tells me why hearing an intelligent alien signal is unlikely, and our self-centered notions about communications don’t help.

Space Song – Home on Lagrange #poem #poetry #science

astrodynamics diagramOh give me a locus
Where the gravitons focus,
Where the three-body problem is solved,
Where the microwaves play
Down at 3 degrees K,
And the cold virus never evolved.

by William S. Higgins and Barry D. Gehm

Thanks to NASA

Fatal Fashions #poem #poetry #chemistry #arsenic

Victorian demonstration of chemistry

Victorians loved chemistry

A gorgeous pigment,
Lovely green,
Made dresses sparkle
Like emeralds.
Bonnets to display with pride
Brought happiness
So ephemeral.

The fanciest paper
On the wall,
To grace a baby’s nursery,
Or a parlor
Kept for guests,
Brought pain and death,
But no mercy.

Even books,
My comfort close,
Collected in old libraries,
Can curse a modern reader still,
As they did to their
Contemporaries.

Arsenic makes that glowing green
So irresistible.
Its compounds deadlier than sin
Their poison touch
Regrettable.

Kate Rauner

The Victorians knew villains used arsenic, but somehow missed understanding that not all victims were killed by a human murderer. Unless you count the manufacturers of these dreadfully beautiful pigments. Interested in the grisly details of death by arsenic poisoning? Read here.