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The Poetry of Everyday LifeStorytelling and the Art of Awareness$
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Steve Zeitlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702358

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702358.001.0001

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The Poetry in Science

The Poetry in Science

Metaphors to Explain Mysteries

(p.132) 13 The Poetry in Science
The Poetry of Everyday Life

Steve Zeitlin

Cornell University Press

The author reflects here on the poetry of science and the ways scientists use homespun metaphors to make the mysteries of the universe as comfortable to lay audiences as a well-worn coat. The author marvels at the enormity of what was accomplished by men such as Thales, Democritus, Euclid, Archimedes, Galileo, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein, as well as the many scientists who collectively devised quantum theory. He says human beings used to look up into the sky and imagine stories about the gods written in the constellations; science and storytelling were one and the same. In modern times, storytelling and science appear to be different realms entirely. Nonetheless, scientists still turn to storytelling in order to explain the mysteries of the universe. Beyond their discoveries, scientists share an evolving body of stories—a kind of folklore of science—that conveys their ideas in lay terms.

Keywords:   poetry, science, scientists, metaphors, universe, Albert Einstein, storytelling, mysteries, folklore, constellations

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