# Physics and Poetry

1. Dec 11, 2014

### SpaceNerdz

Dirac says,

"I do not see how a man can work on the frontiers of physics and write poetry at the same time. They are in opposition. In science you want to say something that nobody knew before, in words which everyone can understand. In poetry you are bound to say ... something that everyone knows already in words that nobody can understand."

I was wondering what people in this forum thought about this quote from Dirac. Are physics and poetry really incompatible ?

2. Dec 11, 2014

### Bandersnatch

Nah, it's just Dirac. He was a bore.

3. Dec 11, 2014

### drizzle

I love physics and poetry. But I fail at 'wording' in either of them.

4. Dec 12, 2014

### zoobyshoe

Come to think of it, though, there aren't any physicists who are know for their poetry. A fair number did artwork, and there's Einstein and his violin, but I can't think of any physicist-poets. I would bet Oppenheimer enjoyed a poem here and there, but I haven't heard he wrote any.

5. Dec 12, 2014

### Enigman

6. Dec 12, 2014

### zoobyshoe

I didn't know that, thanks. Looks like Dirac's incomprehension was his own personal limitation.

7. Dec 13, 2014

### kith

8. Dec 13, 2014

### zoobyshoe

This is interesting about Schrodinger. Dirac and Schrodinger shared the Nobel Prize in 1933. Maybe Dirac's comment was specifically inspired by bafflement over Schrodinger's serious interest in poetry.

9. Dec 13, 2014

### Bandersnatch

According to the wiki, it was Oppenhaimer's interest in poetry.

10. Dec 14, 2014

### zoobyshoe

11. Dec 14, 2014

### Bandersnatch

12. Dec 14, 2014

### ImperialThinker

Maybe he wanted to say known science that no one can understand...

13. Dec 14, 2014

### zoobyshoe

So, that gives us known interest in poetry by Maxwell, Oppenheimer, Schrodinger, and Feynman, and Dirac's puzzlement about Oppenheimer's interest in poetry is categorized as one of his (Dirac's) many extreme eccentricities.

I very much doubt the four mentioned would define science and poetry the same way Dirac did. He pretty much defines them to be in opposition, and I don't find his definitions to be very definitive. The quote is only of interest in so far as it says something about Dirac. It doesn't have much of interest to say about science or poetry.

14. Dec 14, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

15. Dec 14, 2014

### drizzle

I wonder if there are more mathematicians than physicists who write poetry..

16. Dec 14, 2014

### zoki85

There was a young lady named Bright
Whose speed was much faster than light.
She went off one day
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night!

17. Dec 14, 2014

### Bandersnatch

18. Dec 17, 2014

### DrGreg

$$(12 + 144 + 20 \\ + 3 \sqrt{4}) \\ \div 7 \\ + 5 \times 11 \\ = 9^2 + 0$$

19. Dec 23, 2014

### Saqib Aziz

Although science and poetry seem two opposite trades. Science is objective, rigid and fixed and Poetry is both objective and subjective it is not rigid or fixed and it has a bulk of variations.In other words true, if we say, that science deals with facts and figures and poetry deals with emotions. Looking back in the history we will find some physicist, were also Poets Schrodinger was also one of them. Physicist can also take help of poems to make the things interesting for students and people.

20. Dec 30, 2014

### DivergentSpectrum

i cant say too much about poetry, but science and music are very much related. (Especially because it makes it easier to understand music as frequencies)
http://pocketband.net/person/GODS+ASUNDER
this is my personal work. Although this brings up the question- would people in dirac's days consider it music?
</shameless promotion>