Monday, September 24, 2007

Scientific Nursery Rhymes

For reasons that I won't go into, I was thinking a bit about Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star recently. It's a rather misunderstood piece of work actually- contrary to popular belief, Mozart did not actually write it, it was just a popular French ditty he wrote variations on, and there are also several stanzas after the well-known first one.

So Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is probably the most popular scientific-oriented song/poem out there, but you know what irks me a little about it? The chorus line of "how I wonder what you are." I know I'm being a stickler about this, but we now know what stars are thanks to one of the most astounding bits of scientific discovery in the 20th century. We should modernize accordingly. And in case you don't know what I mean, here's my modest example in case I was in charge of this; feel free to sing out loud-

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Revised for Modern Audiences)
by Yvette Cendes

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
I don't wonder what you are!
Through spectroscopy it has been
Derived you're made of hydrogen
And you shine brighter than day,
It's just you are quite far away.

Twinkle, twinkle, shining bright
Shimmering throughout the night
This is caused by, I'm aware,
Your light bending through the air
So you glitter when I see
Your photons coming to me.

Twinkle, twinkle, ball of fire
Shine for all who you inspire,
Though your secrets have been told
Your beauty never grows old,
And I'm awed by what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

I feel like there are probably a few other explanations of stellar properties I missed, but it will have to do for now. And yes, I'm kind of worried about what I will be teaching my children someday too...


Don said...

You are forgetting the most important version of all:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
Power equals I-squared R.

I mean really, you call yourself a Physicist?!

Jeremy said...

That was well done.