Poetry and Positrons

What’s the essence of Renaissance thinking? In my opinion it’s largely the blend of science and artistic expression. Some view these two as processes where never the twain shall meet but I love what results when they do. image

My first example of this is the A-MA-ZING new-ish version of Star Wars written in iambic pentameter. It’s true that poetry and Star Wars were both born of creativity but as you’ll see, this form of poetry is so technical, I thought it qualified…so sue me.

Full disclosure, I had to look up what iambic pentameter (I.M) meant. I am well versed in ” roses are red, violets are blue” but haven’t extended myself far beyond rhymed verse. I.M. is based on syllables and stresses. It organizes sentences by grouping units of, often, two syllables. The group could be two words (the dog), one word (doggy), or even parts of two words (stink [ing dog]). Each grouping is called a foot.

Another kind of foot.
Another kind of foot.

The next focus is which syllable is stressed in each foot (remember, a grouping of two or three syllables). For example, the syllable “dog” in doggy is usually stressed. Unstressed then stressed syllables in a foot is called an iamb. If this continues for five feet, it’s called an iambic penta(five)meter. For example, ” The dog is sit[ing] by the lake asleep”. In this vid you can hear what I mean…

Are you still with me?

The Star Wars piece is a feat (not to be confused with foot) of blending modern mythology with some pretty stringent word usage which creates a fascinating new perspective. LOVE IT! Check out the first 16 pages for free or buy it here. But before you do…


Listen to Teaching Newton’s Laws Through Rhyme

I heard this 18 minute story on SciFri, an NPR radio show that fascinatingly and comprehensively discusses/breaks down science topics.

The guests were Christopher Emdin, an associate professor of science education at Teachers College at Columbia University and his student. The two of them translate scientific concepts (for example joules, the product of work, i.e force times distance) into hip-hop/rap songs.

These are so cleverly written. And they make appealing and actually more understandable the ideas that we might otherwise dismiss as just too hard. I learned that a joule was figured by multiplying force and distance just by listening to the song once! Now I need to find out what exactly a joule is…

Regardless of my own ignorances, seeing what’s produced by blending the sciences and art is inspiring. May we keep our minds open to ideas outside our normal sphere of thought. Who knows what we might come up with?!


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