Website of Dr. Brian C. Thomas

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Washburn University


Some of my non-research writing... enjoy!

bound  (A view of life from my dungeon office in grad school!  Written ca. 2002)

 

bound by wires to walls of blocks

hooked, as if by umbilicals,

into devices

for sound, light, input, output

interacting through digital translators

intermediaries to a world less real outside

that changes only remotely

sensed not personally, but electronically

 

disconnected from time, weather, changing scenes

lost in phosphors and halos of vibrating membranes

exist in reality confined to a room

 

return to outside and where have I been?

emerge from under the concrete tower

as if from a grave

rising un-dead into a world unexperienced

for time spent beneath

 

world changes without our attention

needs no awareness

cares not if we watch or ignore

 

 

 

Orbital Dynamics (6/5/06)  (A gravitational and interpersonal story.)

 

Two bodies fall

Drawn in

By force of mutual attraction

Revolve

Orbit 'round and around

Their common center

Off-set by inequality

Converge

Recede

Return once more

Inexorable pull counterbalanced

By velocity

Or fear

Of eventual collision.

 

Quantized     (8/1/06)

 

Life comes in chunks

Discrete bits strung together

Like beads of all shapes, sizes, colors

One after another

Some long and smooth

Some rough, jagged and random

Each moment-trinket, hour-charm, year-stone

In seamless sequence

Hung one by one

Along the string of time.

 

 

Stellar Cycle (6/4/06)   (More or less accurate too!)

 

Collapse

Condense

Heat

Fuse

Shine

Blow cocoon away

Emerge bright and new

Fired by collision and conversion

Burn

Ages

Fuse

Contract

Expand

Expel garments of gas

Share wealth of nutrients

Inspire

Seed

Compel collapse.

 

 

 

 

Swing  (6/24/06)   (Inspired by a day at the park with my daughter.)

 

Swing

Up, down, push

Higher

Swing

 

Eyes shut, head back

In perfect Zen

Of periodic motion

 

Ever falling,

Never landing

One

With oscillation.

 

 

 

 

 

Existence   (10/17/06)         

 

I realize tonight the treasure of my existence.

But, to whom do I owe my gratitude?

 

To the Universe, born from nothing,

                        flung outward, in ever widening complexity.

 

To the Galaxy, island world

                        of swirling stars and nebulae.

 

To a cloud, its subtle weight,

                        its condensations and random eddies.

 

To the stars, great furnaces,

                        refining protons,

                        forging my atoms in slow stellar cores.

 

To searing death-shrieks of dying stars,

                        sowing all those bits of me

                        in well-tilled clouds,

                        hungry for mass and impetus

                        to form

                        and birth my world.

 

To ancestors, whose traits survived,

                        my atoms recycled through countless others.

 

Till here,

                        I am in this brief time

                        A tenant of these elements.

 

 

 

 

Emergence    (A very long one, sort of a 'history of everything'.)

 

Cycle 1:  CMB  (6/1/06)

 

Chaos

Cools

Expands

Energy condenses

Congeals

Lumps gather

Emerge quarks, electrons, neutrinos.

 

Quarks spin, dance with disorder

Cool

Condense

Combine

Emerge nucleons.

 

Photons buffet

Chaos weakens

Cools

Nucleons court

Couple

Draw to themselves companion electrons

Emerge atoms.

 

Atoms emancipate

Photons

Free-stream  ever outward

Encode ripples

Reveal seeds

Of structure yet to

Emerge.

 

 

Cycle 2:  Stars to LSS  (6/2/06)

 

Hydrogen

A foamy sea

Waves expand

Gravity draws

Lumps grow

Emerge stars.

 

Blast light

Into ages

Of darkness.

Reionize.

Manufacture metals

Unknown

Till fusion works

Its flaming  alchemy,

As stars die  slowly

Inside out

Emerge supernovae

 

Spread shells

Of raw gasses,

Trigger cycles

Repeated

Collapse, condense, implode, explode.

Debris and stars

Join primordial lumps

Spin, flatten, merge, expand, evolve

Emerge galaxies

 

Gather

Orbit

Distort

Consume

Emerge clusters, superclusters, filaments, sheets.

 

 

Cycle 3:  Sun-birth (6/5/06)

 

A nebula

Dark

With death-dust

Seeded

By ancestral violence

Long quiet.

Now patient

In stasis

Awaits

New thrust to induce

Compression

So slight it's unnoticed

For ages

Till density grows

Folding inward

Attracting

All parts to each other

Now quickly

Collapsing

In a race of the center

To be the first atom

To fuse with a brother and

Ignite

New light

In the infant star heart

Emerge Sun.

 

 

Cycle 4:  Planets  (6/14/06)

 

Dusty disk

Spins round

And round

New-fired furnace

Mixture stirs

Cooks

Flattens

Condenses

Collides

Sticks

Grows

Gas gathers

Rock boils

Collisions slow

Disk thins

Planetesimals sweep

Clear paths

Consume debris

Violence

Yields order

Chaos

Births structure

The strong

Voracious

Few

Remain, emerge planets

 

 

Cycle 5: Life   (6/17/06)

 

Chemistry seeks

In electrified seas

Pathways

To complexity.

Now one structure

Now another

More fit

For replication.

False starts

Dead ends

Missteps

Conceive

Nucleotide wholes

Birth

Chemical codes

Simple

But strong

Resilient

Adaptable

Driven

To duplicate.

Emerge life

 

 

Cycle 6: Diversity (7/6/06)

 

Environment heaves

Explodes

Collapses

Boils

Freezes

Crushes

Starves.

 

Life grows

Morphs

Adapts

Dies

 

Reacts

Regroups

Reforms

Dies

 

Flourishes

Engulfs

Devours

Dies

 

Remakes

Returns

Rebuilds

Retreats

 

Battle for battle,

Life holds

Adapts

Abides.

 

Forms bloom

Complexity grows

Prospers

Perishes

Treads paths

Explores possibilities

Exploits opportunities

Flourishes

Expands

Emerges Diversity.

 

 


"The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Washburn University."

This page was last updated on 8/16/06 by Brian Thomas brian.thomas@washburn.edu

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