Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Eyes of Isaac Newton . . . and so on

     A couple of weeks ago, Irish poet-physicist Iggy McGovern read here in the DC area and introduced readers to his new poetry collection The Eyes of Isaac Newton (Dedalus Press, 2017).  McGovern's poems involve a wide variety of scientific topics:  vision and color, genetics, quantum theory, and so on -- peopled with scientists and poets -- an amazing variety of topics and verses, scientifically accurate yet accessible to a non-scientist reader.
     McGovern's poems sometimes turn to humor and below I feature three examples of his clerihew.
     From Wikpedia (edited):   A clerihew is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem  -- 
the first line gives the name of the poem's subject,  usually a famous person who at whom fun will be poked.  
The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced. The line length and metre are irregular. 

Because none of McGovern's clerihew feature women, I insert one of my own, 
about unheralded 20th century codebreaker Elizabeth Smith,
 subject of The Woman Who Smashed Codes  by Jason Fagone (Harper Collins, 2017).

Elizabeth Smith,
poet, technologist,
code breaker, Nazi exposer--
and, alas, no one knows her.
And, from Iggy McGovern:

          Albert Einstein
          liked to opine:
          "It's not very nice
          Of God to play dice."  

                    Max Planck
                    is the man to thank
                    for the mysterious phantom
                    that is the quantum.

                              Paul Dirac
                              took a different tack.
                              People thought he was mad as a hatter
                              with his prediction of antimatter.

As with McGovern's previous work (information here), The Eyes of Isaac Newton is good poetry with the added benefit of scientific insights.  Read and enjoy!

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