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Poetic science

Although it's rare, it can be interesting when the arts are stimulated by popular science or popular maths. A while ago, a sculptor exhibited a series of pieces based on the cover art of my book A Brief History of Infinity, and I am delighted to recently discover that writer Mary Soon Lee has included a poem in her collection How to Navigate Our Universe inspired by something I wrote in my book Dark Matter and Dark Energy.

I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing the text was this: 'Without any idea what could be causing this, astrophysicists, taking the term from American cosmologist Michael Turner, termed the phenomenon dark energy. The name tells us nothing about what is involved. It might just as well have been called factor X or unizap.'

Here is the poem (reproduced with permission) - I so wish the astrophysicists had gone with Mister Floofy*:

How to Brand Dark Energy

--after a remark by Brian Clegg

One can hardly be expected
to refer to it
as that ineffable entity
underpinning the apparent accelerating expansion of the universe--

so pin a label to it--
call it dark energy--
as if we knew it to be dark,
as if we knew it to be energy--

perhaps it would be better
to name it as if it were a pet--
Mister Floofy, maybe, or Bitsy--
some friendly unintimidating descriptor
to cover up the fact
that the universe may be coming apart
at the seams.

* As a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I love the echoes of Mr Pointy.

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