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Physics/Checking my physics in a poem!


Hi, Steve,

I am a retired university prof, and poet. I got inspired listening to a lecture by Nobel Prizewinner Jerome Friedman, and wrote a poem about particle physics. Don't know if that's your field, but since nobody mentions expertise in it, I am hoping you may be able to help me. Can you tell me if these lines are correct as to the physics?

"...the light both sings and shines in particles and waves..."

"...bound together with such force there is no tearing them You gluon, or call You Love...holding my particles together."

Dr. Friedman did mention something--don't remember whether it was the quark or what--that it takes such tremendous force to separate the parts as to make it virtually impossible to separate them.

Would appreciate any insight you can give me.

As someone with another degree in English myself, I can tell you that this is much more difficult out of context...but I see nothing fundamentally wrong with the physics.  The first line, about light, could be misconstrued to mean that light can be one or the other...but not both.  Also, you should know that the word "particle" in physics doesn't mean something solid.  It just means something indivisible, which must be absorbed or emitted in whole quantum units.  Common conceptual misunderstanding.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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