Writing Science Poetry

Science poetry or scientific poetry is a specialized poetic genre that makes use of science as its subject. Written by scientists and nonscientists, science poets are generally avid readers and appreciators of science and "science matters." Science poetry may be found in anthologies, in collections, in science fiction magazines that sometimes include poetry, in other magazines and journals. Many science fiction magazines, including online magazines, such as Strange Horizons, often publish science fiction poetry, another form of science poetry. Of course science fiction poetry is a somewhat different genre. Online there is the Science Poetry Center for those interested in science poetry, and for those interested in science fiction poetry The Science Fiction Poetry Association. In addition, there's Science Fiction Poetry Handbook and Ultimate Science Fiction Poetry Guide, all found online. Strange Horizons has published the science fiction poetry of Joanne Merriam, Gary Lehmann and Mike Allen.

As for science poetry, science or scientific poets like science fiction poets may also publish collections of poetry in almost any stylistic format. Science or scientific poets, like other poets, must know the "art and craft" of poetry, and science or scientific poetry appears in all the poetic forms: free verse, blank verse, metrical, rhymed, unrhymed, abstract and concrete, ballad, dramatic monologue, narrative, lyrical, etc. All the poetic devices are in use also, from alliteration to apostrophe to pun to irony and understatement, to every poetic diction, figures of speech and rhythm, etc. Even metaphysical scientific poetry is possible. In his anthology, The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics, editor Timothy Ferris aptly includes a section entitled "The Poetry of Science." Says Ferris in the introduction to this section, "Science (or the 'natural philosophy' from which science evolved) has long provided poets with raw material, inspiring some to praise scientific ideas and others to react against them."

Such greats as Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Goethe either praised or "excoriated" science and/or a combination of both. This continued into the twentieth century with such poets as Marianne Moore, T. S. Eliot, Robinson Jeffers, Robert Frost and Robert Hayden (e.g. "Full Moon"--"the brilliant challenger of rocket experts") not to mention many of the lesser known poets, who nevertheless maintain a poetic response to scientific matters. Says Ferris, "This is not to say that scientists should try to emulate poets, or that poets should turn proselytes for science....But they need each other, and the world needs both." Included in his anthology along with the best scientific prose/essays are the poets Walt Whitman ("When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer"), Gerard Manley Hopkins "("I am Like a Slip of Comet..."), Emily Dickinson ("Arcturus"), Robinson Jeffers ("Star-Swirls"), Richard Ryan ("Galaxy"), James Clerk Maxwell ("Molecular Evolution"), John Updike ("Cosmic Gall"), Diane Ackerman ("Space Shuttle") and others.

Certainly those writing scientific poetry like those writing science fiction need not praise all of science, but science nevertheless the subject matter, and there is often a greater relationship between poetry and science than either poets and/or scientists admit. Creativity and romance can be in both, as can the intellectual and the mathematical. Both can be aesthetic and logical. Or both can be nonaesthetic and nonlogical, depending on the type of science and the type of poetry.

Science poetry takes it subject from scientific measurements to scientific symbols to time & space to biology to chemistry to physics to astronomy to earth science/geology to meteorology to environmental science to computer science to engineering/technical science. It may also take its subject from scientists themselves, from Brahmagypta to Einstein, from Galileo to Annie Cannon. It may speak to specific types of scientists in general as Goethe "True Enough: To the Physicist" in the Ferris anthology. (Subsequent poets mentioned are also from this anthology.)

Science poetry may make use of many forms or any form from lyrical to narrative to sonnet to dramatic monologue to free verse to light verse to haiku to villanelle, from poetry for children or adults or both, for the scientist for the nonscientist or both. John Frederick Nims has written for example, "The Observatory Ode." ("The Universe: We'd like to understand.") There are poems that rhyme, poems that don't rhythme. There's "concrete poetry" such as Annie Dillard's "The Windy Planet" in which the poem in in the shape of a planet, from "pole" to "pole," an inventive poem. "Chaos Theory" even becomes the subject of poetry as in Wallace Stevens' "The Connoisseur of Chaos."

And what of your science and/or scientific poem? Think of all the techniques of poetry and all the techniques of science. What point of view should you use? Third person? First person, a dramatic monologue? Does a star speak? Or the universe itself? Does a sound wave speak? Or a micrometer? Can you personify radio astronomy?

What are the main themes, the rhythms? What figures of speech, metaphors, similes, metaphor, can be derived from science. What is your attitude toward science and these scientific matters?

Read. Revise. Think. Proofread. Revise again. Shall you write of evolution, of the atom, of magnetism? Of quanta, of the galaxies, of the speed of sound, of the speed of light? Of Kepler's laws? Shall you write of the history of science? Of scientific news?

Read all the science you can.

Read all the poetry you can.

You are a poet.

You are a scientist.

What have you to say of the astronomer, the comet, of arcturus, of star-sirls, of galaxies, of molecular evolution, of atomic architecture, of "planck time" to allude to other poetic titles.

What does poetry say to science?

What does science say to poetry?

Susan Shaw is a freelance writer and web content writer. Her articles and web content appear online. Susan Shaw is an affiliate of The Book Store/The Science Library, [http://thebookstore.vstoremarket.com/index.htm] (For The Science Library, put "Science" in their search engine.)

Theories in Medieval Medicine and Science - The Four Humours

When it came to people's health, medieval medicine and science were, in a word, inaccurate. There were several prevailing beliefs that dominated the discipline of medicine, most of which had very little actual medical value.

Ancient Medicine and Science

One of the main theories of medieval medicine and science was that of the Four Humours, which was probably first theorised by Hippocrates around 430 BC and further developed by Aristotle around a hundred years later.

Some of the knowledge left over from the classical world survived and was treated as 'gospel', as new knowledge was hard to come by. This was largely due to the fact that cannon law forbade the practice of dissection, which was considered sacrilegious. Much of the medical knowledge that was used was therefore obtained from philosophy and ancient knowledge; Hippocrates stated in his work 'On the Constitution of Man',

"Man's body has blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. These make up his body and through them he feels illness or enjoys health. When all the humours are properly balanced and mingled, he feels the most perfect health. Illness occurs when one of the humours is in excess, or is reduced in amount, or is entirely missing from the body".

These liquids were also thought to be connected to a person's personality, one of the elements and had combinations of heat and moisture, all of which had to be in perfect balance for the body to remain healthy. The various parts of the humours were grouped together as follows;

Personality Types



yellow bile
black bile


hot & moist
hot & dry
cold & moist
cold & dry



How Medieval Medicine and Science Treated Imbalances to the Humours

There were various methods according to medieval medicine and science knowledge applied to bring the four humours back into a state of balance when somebody became sick. The favourite methods amongst doctors included bloodletting, intestinal purging and inducing vomiting; none of these methods were very effective and all of them can sometimes actually be harmful to the patient.

Luckily for the people of the middle ages, the placebo effect would bring some success in these treatments just because people believed they would work. Even today, it is estimated that up to a third of all healing takes place as a result of placebo, unfortunately for the other two thirds of medieval patients, healing needs some good science which was mostly lacking at the time.

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The Science of Dieting

The science of dieting is a subject you will find me waxing lyrical about daily.

My major refrain?

It's all balderdash.

I have read a lot of rubbish in my life but never so much as I've read in regards to the diet industry. Clearly self-serving and clearly misleading, much of the so called 'expert opinion' out there is undoubtedly having a detrimental effect of peoples weight loss plans and consequently their self-esteem.

The industry is now worth an incredible £2billion pounds in the UK, an amazing amount of money. Unfortunately, it is not a sign of the diet industry's success at helping people lose weight - the complete opposite in fact.

To be successful commercially, the diet industry must fail to help people lose weight. If a diet plan, a pill or some other panacea was actually created that could really make people thin, the diet industry would cease to exist almost overnight. This means that there is a vested interest in all diet industry businesses to protect their market by preventing you losing weight.

One of the best ways for them to achieve this underhanded and self-serving result is to confuse and over-complicate their message. If your potential clients are convinced that dieting is some sort of difficult science, needing in-depth knowledge of nutritional and physiological theory, they will be forced to turn to these pseudo scientists for advice and consequently buy their products to help them lose weight. Its worked for many years and I am under no illusion that this process can be altered overnight.

My philosophy is that people should try to realise in consciousness, what they already know on some level. Ask the majority and they will tell you that losing weight and feeling better is a really very simple process, you don't need a doctorate in nutrition or scientific approach at all, you just need a little consistency, common sense and a healthy balanced diet.

Think about the truly healthy people you know. Don't they all seem to live well, just naturally? The genuinely healthy don't plan and over-think what they need to eat that day. They don't spend hours reading pseudo scientific articles on the value of Frozen Organic Mushroom Yoghurt. They just eat a natural, home cooked and balanced diet.

All I want to say is that losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle need not be a complicated or difficult thing to do. We just need to eat fresh healthy food and do a little exercise. It may sound glib but this is the truth and on some level, we all know it.

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How to Become a Master in Criminology without Disturbing Your Work

Do you want to boost your career in criminology by attending a master degree program? Do you feel afraid that your study will disturb your work? Well, as a person who lives in a competitive world, you should have known that the competition among employees is getting tighter from time to time. It has become a clear fact that everyone wants to achieve a higher position. In fact, to be able to achieve a higher position, you have to show your qualifications. If you have good qualifications, you will have better chances to achieve a higher position.

As a matter of fact, to have good qualifications, you need to improve your academic background. In this case, earning masters in criminology can become a perfect solution. However, since you are a working person, you surely need to make a thorough consideration before attending a master program. This is important to do to make sure that your study will not disturb your work. As you know, if your work is disturbed, you will not be able to give your excellent working performance. If this happens to you, you seemingly have little chance to achieve a higher position. Thus, you should find a solution that allows you to attend a master degree program without disturbing your work.

For the above purpose, you had better attend masters in criminology over the internet because online education enables you to study at your most comfortable time and does not require you to go to campus. As a matter of fact, going to campus can take time, energy, and money. If you have many tasks to do at work, you seemingly will not be able to manage to go to campus. In this case, online education is absolutely a perfect solution for you since you can study from anywhere. Whether you want to study from your home or while on the go, you can do it.

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