Recently in Science and Scientists Category

Comic Cosmic Relief by C.J. Dennis

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At a recent meeting of the International Radio Union in London, Mr R. A. Watt, a wireless expert, revealed how wireless atmospherics, born with a head and tail, drop their tails and eventually split themselves in half.

Sadly sobbing, sadly sobbing,
   Rolls the restless wireless sea,
Where the wireless waves go bobbing
   Up and down so dolefully.
And nothing there the gloom assails,
   Depression to undo,
Till some merry little static
In a manner most erratic --
Till statics drop their little tails
   And split themselves in two.

Just to watch their comic wriggling
   Moves the stratosphere to mirth,
And a giddy urge to giggling
   Trails a titter round the earth.
When wireless humor flops and fails
   And nought can raise a laugh,
Then some artful atmospheric
Sends the other half hysteric --
Gay atmospherics drop their tails
   And split themselves in half.

Once again the world grows weary;
   Sadly superheterodyne
Wax the wireless waves, and dreary,
   Doleful frequencies repine!
Until, once more, loud laughter hails
   The comic cosmic crew.
As some little stunting static,
Most absurdly acrobatic --
Till statics drop their little tails
   And split themselves in two.

There is art in every antic,
   So, when sitting at your set,
Rage no more with fury frantic
   O'er the statics that you get.
For, far beyond your ken, great gales
   Of laughter loud, with cosmic chaff
Hilarious and quite Homeric,
Sounds, as some impish atmospheric
Calls on his crowd to drop their tails
   And split themselves in half.

First published in The Herald, 24 September 1934

Sonnet for Simplicity by C.J. Dennis

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A party of American scientists has succeeded in reaching a 4,500 ft. plateau in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, which has remained unexplored by the known world for at least 12,000 years. The party expects to make important discoveries.

Should you discover on that height   
   Some simple race still wrapped in ignorance,   
   Untaught in tales of man's immense advance 
From the deep dark of neolithic night      
   To triumph, and that glorious upward flight   
   With all its count of pride and circumstance, 
   Of war and pageantry and high romance 
That brought our lovely world to its last plight --- 

Should you meet such, ah, seek not to invoke 
   Our gods of progress for them, nor increase     
Man's knowledge 'mid these foolish, favoured folk.   
   Climb down, climb down again in haste and cease 
Conversion, with man's message yet unspoke: 
   And leave them to their folly --- and their peace.

First published in The Herald, 20 September 1937;
and later in
The Courier-Mail, 2 October 1937.

Limitations by C.J. Dennis

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The biggest scientific congress ever held in Australia is at present in session in Melbourne.  Eighty learned societies are represented, and subjects to be discussed include: Medical science, wireless research, meteorology, agriculture, surveying, anthropology and many others.

"Who are these blokes with bulging brows
   I see all o'er the shop?"
The layman asked.  "Them's scientists,"
   Replied the courteous cop.
"They are the country's biggest brains;
   There's nothing they don't know --
The ways of stars, the weight of suns,
   And why the winds do blow."
"Then think you they could cure this cold
   That leaves me leaden-eyed?"
"Well -- no; they ain't quite up to that,"
   The constable replied.

"But they could take a man apart
   And sew him up again
As good as new; they know how trees
   Grow from a tiny grain.
And they can harness wireless waves
   And make hem do their will,
Or split an atom bang in two,
   Or cleave a mighty hill."
"But could they make this north wind change
   A point to east or west?"
"Well, no," the cop replied; "not yet.
   That's far too stiff a test,

"But they can cause electric eyes
   To shut and open doors,
Or answer telephones, or guide
   A great ship from the shores.
Their 'ographies' and 'ologies'
   And wonders that they plan,
To shove ahead this human race
   Do fair amaze a man.
Why they'll have television soon,
   Or so I've heard or read."
"And will that make man happier?"
   The simple layman said.

"Tho' most amazing, as you say,
   The things they do and know,
They cannot make the rain to fall
   Or cause the breeze to blow.
They cannot build one blade of grass,
   Or read a flapper's mind;
That collar stud I dropped this morn
   I'll swear they could not find!... "
"Move on, there!" cried the constable
   These ain't things for a joke.
Upon my word, I never see
   So iggnerint a bloke!"

First published in The Herald, 17 January 1935

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