(Life, the universe, stars, relativity, reality and everything)

BBC2’s Horizon programme, broadcast on Monday evening, 17th January 2011, was awesome and quite mind blowing! Its purpose was to inform us about the work of particle physicists, using hugely powerful accelerators, in their quest to define what is reality, what is mass comprised of. What an unreal quest!

This poem is the result.

I have tried to represent the facts, at least the terminology, in the way they were presented in the programme, but the key perspective of this poem is to open the mind of anyone who reads it, just as the Horizon programme makers intended for their audience, but giving it another interpretation; another set of feelings and emotions about this incredible mystery. There is a little bit of tongue in cheek, and ‘naive’ humour, like referring to the word particle, as an ‘icle part; a sort of anagram that a child might use, which alludes to the littleness of the things ‘they’ are researching and maybe confirming that human beings are really very little ‘children’ inside the awesome scale of the universe. I also make occasional comment that may not be strictly logical, but this merely reflects how close to illogical thought this research appears to be, at least to us mere mortals.

Crucially, however, the poem offers a subtly alternative conclusion and this is that they may never find the answer they crave to the question: “what is reality’. Effectively, this is done by saying that, assuming there is enough theoretical evidence that there is a reality, which is a definable and reasonable alternative to the one most of us perceive – and it could be argued here that each one of us has a different view of reality, but I would argue that this variation in personal perception is very minor compared with the alternatives presented by theoretical physicists – then all we have, until they do unfurl their mystery, is unreality. You’ll have to think about that, because I certainly had to!

(Read the Poem)

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