- Title Pages
- 1 Kindred Spirits
- 2 Intimacy in Language
- 3 Laughter for Dessert
- 4 The Poetry of Ping-Pong
- 5 Days of Chess and Backgammon
- 6 Inventing a Language for Love
- 7 Poetry on the Porch
- 8 All My Trials
- 9 The AIDS Poets
- 10 Oh Did You See the Ashes Come Thickly Falling Down?
- 11 The POEMobile Dreams of Peace
- 12 Free Market Flavor
- 13 The Poetry in Science
- 14 Navigating Transitions
- 15 The Human Unit of Time
- 16 Your Body as Symbol
- 17 Intimations of Immortality
- 18 God Is in the Details
- 19 Breath on the Mirror
- 20 The Best Stories versus My Story
- 21 The Grease Lamp’s Flicker and Flare
- 22 Lion’s Gate
- 23 Rock and Word
- For Further Reading
The Poetry in Science
The Poetry in Science
Metaphors to Explain Mysteries
- (p.132) 13 The Poetry in Science
- The Poetry of Everyday Life
- 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.
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