Relativity Poetry Contest Winners Announced

Michelle Pauli in The Guardian:

Einstein_2Einstein may not seem like an obvious muse for poets, but he inspired Terry Pratchett to celebrate the fact that he had “worlds enough and time / to spare an hour to find a rhyme” and Sir Patrick Moore to ponder on “the deep futility of all ephemeral things”.

They were among the authors and experts who were invited by the British Association for the Advancement of Science (the BA) to celebrate national science week and Einstein year by writing a poem based around the work of the famous physicist.

The competition was also open to the public, and the winners were announced today, with the adult prize going to a versified imaginary conversation with Einstein.

Gordon Judge’s poem, which manages to include the legendary equation E=mc2, begins

I once saw Einstein on a train
Which whistled past our station.
‘Your clock ticks much too slow,’ I yelled.
‘Ach, nein. That’s time dilation

and goes on to provide an ‘idiot’s guide’ to the theory of relativity in four-line stanzas.

More here.  And read the winning poems here.  It truly is an “idiot’s guide” since Gordon Judge already gets the science wrong in the second stanza, I just noticed (and too bad no one at the BA did):

“I’m travelling near the speed of light
(A trick I’ve learned to master).
To me, your clock goes much too quick –
You’re getting older, faster!”

On the contrary, to Einstein, Gordon’s clock would also be slowed for symmetrical reasons (to each observer, the other’s clock appears slow).