Thursday, 19 May 2016

Lines imagined to be written by Galileo Galilei upon demonstrating that, contrary to Aristotelian thought, the ratio of gravitational mass to inertial mass is essentially unity.



Whether they're large or
Whether they're small
Has no effect on
The rate that things fall.

But whether you choose
To accept this or not'll
Depend on your faith
In that fool Aristotle.



19 comments:

John Finnemore said...

With thanks to D.Tyler for help with the title, and F. Tortoise for supplying the theme.

The Real Emily said...

One of the best poems I've read

RMartin said...

Which always makes me think of the beginning of this scene from _Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead_:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maI53H4Zbrs

EMB said...

I don't mean to spook you, but the return of the blog has made my week. I was a afraid it was dead. Thanks John :)

Anonymous said...

Is there a name for that kind of rhyme v2? Anyway an excuse to post the tragic Misalliance by Flanders and Swann which features another one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYr0eNtpDHs

Graham said...

John, apologies in advance for the pedantry (an occupational hazard) but surely, owing to air resistance, in this as in other things size matters. Mass on the other hand does not. Perhaps I can suggest a small edit of your excellent doggerel (can doggerel be excellent? I think you have shown it can.)


Heavy or light when released from the top
Has no effect on the rate that things drop .....

I have a feeling that there would be a market for a book of rhymes illustrating scientific and mathematical principles, illustrated in your inimitable way. Can I suggest a couple of my own:

The classical myth of an instant creation
Is a very poor way to explain speciation

Instead, Darwin mooted, after long introspection
Variety follows form natural selection


Or how about

Pythagoras' disciples were rational men
Who insisted that numbers were rational, then
one of their number, Hippasus, gave word
Of a proof that the square root of two was absurd.
On hearing the news that this proof had been found
The brothers ensured that Hippasus was drowned.

I am sure you could write enough for a small gem of a Christmas stocking filler!

All the best,

Graham

Graham said...

OK, you are singlehandedly responsible for killing my research career. I am now obsessed with writing doggerel rather than proving theorems:


Newton's description of planetary motion
Evokes in a physicist waves of devotion
His beautiful laws for a force and reaction
Without doubt the cause of a potent attraction.

Tim said...

so glad to see that your blog is back. Now you must get together with Kevin and produce more Sunday Papers, just because those are brilliant. Also, loved you on Just A Minute.

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Peter Smith said...

Graham,

"the square root of two was absurd". Did you mean "a surd"? Perhaps it's both!

Peter Smith said...

Anonymous (8:52 pm), you might also like this poem from Richard Armour:

Shake and shake
The catsup bottle.
None'll come —
And then a lot'll.

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