Last night I thumbed through the August 2014 issue of Scientific American. I stopped at an article entitled “The Black Hole at the Beginning of Time” (by Afshordi, Mann and Pourhasan), which postulates a cosmic black hole that preceded the Big Bang.
For all that I comprehended, the article could have been written in early Cyrillic instead of English. Nevertheless, I was mesmerized by the exotic words and phrases that I didn’t understand.
There were these:
“a rich theory of holography”
“the observed amplitude and shape of primordial matter fluctuations”
“graceful exit problem”
“the sudden, violent emergence of all space, time and matter from an infinitely dense point called a singularity”
And there were these sentences that baffled me:
“Physicists quip that ‘a black hole has no hair’ – no distinguishing features beyond the basics of mass, angular momentum and electrical charge.”
“…our entire universe came into being during a stellar implosion in this suprauniverse, an implosion that created a three-dimensional shell around a four-dimensional black hole.”
And there were longer, denser full-bore paragraphs that made my head spin.
But then the poet in me had an idea. With my apologies to the academic authors if they are offended, I invite you to look one such paragraph as if it were a POEM:
We now know
that the density of ordinary
is only 5 percent
of the universe’s total
25 percent comes
in the form of
an unknown form
of matter whose existence
from its gravitational
And 70 percent of the universe
is made of dark energy,
the mysterious stuff
that is causing
rate of our universe
to speed up
as originally expected
Structured like that it’s fascinating and lovely, and, like a John Berryman poem, it makes me feel as if I’m teetering on the verge of understanding whatever it means.
As a wordsmith, I treasure words. I find pleasure in the arrangements of words that convey an idea or a story (or a theorem) to others.
However much I’d like to understand that article in Scientific American, there is simply not enough time (or motivation) for me to learn all I’d need to know in order for that to happen.
Nevertheless, I can delight in the beauty and the mystery of the words. I am content that SOMEONE understands them. Someone thrums and thrills with that understanding, and that fills me with awe and gratitude.