Thursday, April 14, 2011

On a Massless Electromagnetic Wave-Packet

by Daniel Berke
(with apologies to William Blake)

Laser, laser, burning bright,
Form’d of red coherent light,
Weaving patterns lost to sight.

Quantum photons wave-like flow,
Interference patterns glow,
As through double slits they go.

Photons multitudinous,
Patterns, pulchritudinous,
Here unfold, illumin'd thus.

Photons all have natures two,
Waves they are, yet quantiz'd too,
Each singly wrong, together true.

Light! So much yet still unknown,
Though greatly has our knowledge grown,
As rapidly the years have flown.

What the mind imagin'd thee?
Hidden plain for all to see,
Elaborate simplicity.

Laser, laser, burning bright,
Form’d of red coherent light,
Weaving patterns lost to sight.


This has been a poetic retelling of the author's experience while watching the famous Thomas Young double-slit experiment. In trochaic tetrameter catalectic. The picture is my attempt to reproduce from memory the interference pattern seen (and doing a poor job of it).

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