Poetry? At a science event?

It’s true. This is what happens at a liberal arts college: worlds collide! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! And poets and scientists talking to one another!

This is precisely what the Christian fundamentalists are warning us of with the Blood Moon Prophecy, which is happening this weekend, and culminates with poetry in a coffeehouse on Tuesday. If ever you wanted to witness an apocalypse, get yourself to Morris stat.



  1. vytautasjanaauskas says

    Lovely, there is too much unfounded snobishness from the scientists about humanities.

  2. blf says

    Ah-Hah! Morris is Teh Centre!! Of Teh Plot!!! And Das Conspiracy!!!! Thar’s evens a poopyhead!!!!! Watt moar proofs es Neeedededed!!!!!!

  3. says

    It’s going to be a Super Blood Moon! I am all excited, ready with camera, telescope, and many oooooohhhhs and aaahhhhs.

    I love the idea of a science poetry slam. The meeting sounds like great fun, I wish I lived closer.

  4. says

    Well, Dawkins says science is the poetry of reality.

    Me, I see no reason why the sciences and liberal arts can’t join forces to make the world a less shitty place.

  5. woozy says

    “A poet and a scientist walk into a bar…”

    Poetry; check. Science; check. Alcohol…..

    Sounds like false advertising to me.

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @1:
    I’ve been settin up me telescope today in preparation for the apocalyptic light show.

    argh. Not a “blood” moon, just a Celestial RedTomato, on it’s way to splat the GOP clown show.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    A poet and a scientist walk into a bar…
    poet: rhymes out, “ouch pouch”
    scientist: Measures its height, says “set too low, or not; if intended to ‘bar the Bar’. Ergo, redundancy obstruction”, *sigh*.
    *rim shot*

    thank you thank you, be sure to tip your server ;-)

  8. azpaul3 says

    O sweet spontaneous
    earth how often have

    fingers of
    prurient philosophers pinched

    has the naughty thumb
    of science prodded

    beauty .
    often have religions taken
    thee upon their scraggy knees
    squeezing and

    buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

    to the incomparable
    couch of death thy

    thou answerest

    them only with


    –e. e. cummings

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    Rigid Body Sings

    Gin a body meet a body
    Flyin’ through the air.
    Gin a body hit a body,
    Will it fly? And where?
    Ilka impact has its measure,
    Ne’er a ane hae I,
    Yet a’ the lads they measure me,
    Or, at least, they try.

    Gin a body meet a body
    Altogether free,
    How they travel afterwards
    We do not always see.
    Ilka problem has its method
    By analytics high;
    For me, I ken na ane o’ them,
    But what the waur am I?

    James Clerk Maxwell

    (‘ilka’=’each’, ‘waur’=’worse’)

  10. says

    And now to what remains!- Since I’ve resolved
    By what arrangements all things come to pass
    Through the blue regions of the mighty world,-
    How we can know what energy and cause
    Started the various courses of the sun
    And the moon’s goings, and by what far means
    They can succumb, the while with thwarted light,
    And veil with shade the unsuspecting lands,
    When, as it were, they blink, and then again
    With open eye survey all regions wide,
    Resplendent with white radiance- I do now
    Return unto the world’s primeval age
    And tell what first the soft young fields of earth
    With earliest parturition had decreed
    To raise in air unto the shores of light
    And to entrust unto the wayward winds.

    In the beginning, earth gave forth, around
    The hills and over all the length of plains,
    The race of grasses and the shining green;
    The flowery meadows sparkled all aglow
    With greening colour, and thereafter, lo,
    Unto the divers kinds of trees was given
    An emulous impulse mightily to shoot,
    With a free rein, aloft into the air.
    As feathers and hairs and bristles are begot
    The first on members of the four-foot breeds
    And on the bodies of the strong-y-winged,
    Thus then the new Earth first of all put forth
    Grasses and shrubs, and afterward begat
    The mortal generations, there upsprung-
    Innumerable in modes innumerable-
    After diverging fashions.

    Origins of Vegetable and Animal Life, Book V, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) – Lucretius, approx. 50 BCE.

  11. Callinectes says

    During national poetry week my biology teacher always set writing a science poem to be our homework. He pinned the best ones to the war outside the classroom. Most of the poems there were by a mysterious individual called “Eva Lution”. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise that that was my teacher’s pen name.

  12. wcorvi says

    When all these prophesies fail too, I wonder if they will finally realize that their holy book is wrong in every way?

  13. says


    When all these prophesies fail too, I wonder if they will finally realize that their holy book is wrong in every way?


  14. pwdm says

    And then there is Quest University Canada where there are no departments, where professor offices are assigned randomly (so the physicist may have a poet on one side of him/her and a biologist or political scientist on the other), and some classes will be run by professors from two completely different areas of study.
    Take a listen to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZQe73IXZtU

  15. rrhain says

    Perhaps it’s because I went to Harvey Mudd (where you are required to minor in the Humanities or Arts) or maybe it’s because I have my BS in Applied Math and my MFA in Musical Theater, but I just don’t see this as shocking at all. In fact, if I ever had the time and money to go back to school, I’d be interested in getting a PhD in Sociology to study the intersection of the arts and the sciences. My working hypothesis is that it’s easier to go from the sciences to the arts than the other way around. I base this on (at this point anecdotal experience) that it’s much more likely to see a scientist dabbling in the arts than the other way around. Feinman played the bongos. Lehrer was a pianist and singer. But you don’t really find too many artists doing chemistry experiments and the like. While I think a lot of this has to do with “start up costs” (if you want to learn to play the guitar, all you really need is a guitar and the time to practice while if you want to do chemistry, you need actual equipment and some specialized training), I think it also has to do with the ability to go from “theory” (more scientific) to “practice” (more artistic) being easier than the other way around. And then there’s the sociological cachet of art over science.

    And then there’s Lem. From The Cyberiad, a poem on Love and Tensor Algebra:

    Come, let us hasten to a higher plane
    Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
    Their indices bedecked from one to n
    Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

    Come, every frustrum longs to be a cone
    And every vector dreams of matrices.
    Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:
    It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

    In Riemann, Hilbert or in Banach space
    Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.
    Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,
    We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

    I’ll grant thee random access to my heart,
    Thou’lt tell me all the constants of thy love;
    And so we two shall all love’s lemmas prove,
    And in our bound partition never part.

    For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,
    Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,
    Wielding their compasses, their pens and rulers,
    Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?

    Cancel me not – for what then shall remain?
    Abscissas some mantissas, modules, modes,
    A root or two, a torus and a node:
    The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

    Ellipse of bliss, converge, O lips divine!
    the product o four scalars is defines!
    Cyberiad draws nigh, and the skew mind
    Cuts capers like a happy haversine.

    I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,
    I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.
    Bernoulli would have been content to die,
    Had he but known such a^2 cos 2 phi!

    Then there was the article in the mathematics journal I read where they were discussing a topography proof that there are only 18 patterns of wallpaper…done as a comic strip. And, of course, the most wonderful tutorial on differential calculus: Prof E McSquared’s Original, Fantastic, & Highly Edifying Calculus Primer (now in the Expanded Intergalactic edition) which is done as a graphic novel.