Monday, July 18, 2016

String Theory

     String Theory is a theoretical framework that attempts to explain, among other things, quantum gravity.  Its basic elements are open and closed strings -- rather than point-like particles.  The poem "String Theory" by Ronald Wallace offers imaginative and thoughtful interplay between these strings of theoretical physics and the strings of musical instruments -- I found the poem at the VerseDaily website and Wallace has given me permission to use it here.

      String Theory     by Ronald Wallace

      I have to believe a Beethoven
      string quartet is not unlike
      the elliptical music of gossip:
      one violin excited
      to pass its small story along  
      to the next violin and the next
      until, finally, come full circle,
      the whole conversation is changed.

      And I have to believe such music
      is at work at the deep heart of things,
      that under the protons and electrons,
      behind the bosons and quarks,
      with their bonds and strange attractors,
      these strings, these tiny vibrations,
      abuzz with their big ideas,
      are filling the universe with gossip,
      the unsung art of small talk

      that, not unlike busy-body Beethoven,
      keeps us forever together, even
      when everything's flying apart.

"String Theory" appears in Wallace's collection, For Dear Life (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). His sonnet for a geometry teacher appeared in an earlier post in this blog.  His poem "Chaos Theory" may be found in Strange Attractors:  Poems of Love and Mathematics (AK Peters / CRC Press, 2008), a collection edited by Sarah Glaz and me.

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