Tuesday, January 23, 2007

tempus fugit

miesian time
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.

a found poem

The collected clocks of the solar system
are a meager sampling

Far more is going on
in the subatomic community
events occurring in increments
far briefer than classic quickies
like “in a heartbeat”[1]
or “in the blink of an eye”[2]

Intervals like the attosecond [3]
the zeptosecond [4]
the yoctosecond [5]

The fundamental quivers of the atom
are exceedingly regular
they mark the heartbeat of the universe

Our beloved second
(a fraction of a solar day)
is linked to oscillations
in a cesium atom

Poised between the extremities
and homogeneities
of nature

Between delirium and ad infinitum

Our andante tempo
may be the only pace open to us

Found in Making Sense of Time, Earthbound and Otherwise by Natalie Angier in the Science section of today’s New York Times.

[1] about a second
[2] a tenth of a second
[3] a millionth of a trillionth of a second or 10-18 second
[4] a billionth of a trillionth or 10-21 second
[5] a trillionth of a trillionth or 10-24 second

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