James Clerk Maxwell
Lectures to Women on Physical Science
PLACE. -- A small alcove with dark curtains.
The class consists of one member.
SUBJECT. -- Thomson’s Mirror Galvanometer.
The lamp-light falls on blackened walls,
And streams through narrow perforations,
The long beam trails o’er pasteboard scales,
With slow-decaying oscillations.
Flow, current, flow, set the quick light-spot flying,
Flow current, answer light-spot, flashing, quivering, dying,
O look! how queer! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, sharper growing
The gliding fire! with central wire,
The fine degrees distinctly showing.
Swing, magnet, swing, advancing and receding,
Swing magnet! Answer dearest, What's your final reading?
O love! you fail to read the scale
Correct to tenths of a division.
To mirror heaven those eyes were given,
And not for methods of precision.
Break contact, break, set the free light-spot flying;
Break contact, rest thee, magnet, swinging, creeping, dying.
Professor Chrschtschonovitsch, Ph.D., "On the C. G. S. system of Units."
Remarks submitted to the Lecturer by a student.
Prim Doctor of Philosophy
Front academic Heidelberg!
Your sum of vital energy
Is not the millionth of an erg.
Your liveliest motion might be reckoned
At one-tenth metre in a second.
"The air," you said, in language fine,
Which scientific thought expresses,
"The air -- which with a megadyne,
On each square centimetre presses --
The air, and I may add the ocean,
Are nought but molecules in motion."
Atoms, you told me, were discrete,
Than you they could not be discreter,
Who know how many Millions meet
Within a cubic millimetre.
They clash together as they fly,
But you! -- you cannot tell me why.
And when in tuning my guitar
The interval would not come right,
"This string," you said, "is strained too far,
’Tis forty dynes, at least too tight!"
And then you told me, as I sang,
What overtones were in my clang.
You gabbled on, but every phrase
Was stiff with scientific shoddy,
The only song you deigned to praise
Was "Gin a body meet a body,"
"And even there," you said, "collision
Was not described with due precision."
"In the invariable plane,"
You told me, "lay the impulsive couple."
You seized my hand -- you gave me pain,
By torsion of a wrist so supple;
You told me what that wrench would do, --
"’Twould set me twisting round a screw."
Were every hair of every tress
(Which you, no doubt, imagine mine),
Drawn towards you with its breaking stress --
A stress, say, of a megadyne,
That tension I would sooner suffer
Than meet again with such a duffer!
James Clerk Maxwell's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Lectures to Women on Physical Science by James Clerk Maxwell )
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(1644 - 1694)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns
- To A Mouse, Robert Burns
- A Fond Kiss, Robert Burns
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- A Bottle And Friend, Robert Burns
- Address To A Haggis, Robert Burns
- A Winter Night, Robert Burns
- A Man's a Man for A' That, Robert Burns
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
Poem of the Day
- Engaged, Sarah Wiltshire
- The Call Of Two Trumpets, Tony Adah
- I sleep, gajanan mishra
- I Looked Up At The Sky And Didn't See You, Kyle Schlicher
- Quatrain number 4, Leong Ming Loong
- The world we are facing, Abby Sze
- Game of power, Funmilayo Adebimpe
- The Road Must End Somewhere, Kyle Schlicher
- Seeing Eyes, Sadiqullah Khan
- The Lesser Commands I, Sadiqullah Khan