I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
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Thursday, 14 November 2013

Look on my works ye mighty

This is a mean-spirited plaque. It's in Westminster Abbey which is OK although I, as an incorrigible and philistine admirer, would prefer the info laser-beamed against the night sky for eternity. I could say "for infinity" except that the plaque's subject thought infinity (the symbol ∞)  rendered maths equations "unbeautiful".

According to the biography I have just read the plaque is two feet square and that clearly isn't enough. The spare inscription matches the subject's modesty, but see how cramped everything is.

The symbols - how deceptively simple! - depict the relativistic equation for the electron. Like you I remain cut off from the detail but, having read The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo (himself a physicist), I have the tiniest feel for the equation's importance. More than I expected since Farmelo manages his book without recourse to equations.

The subject is routinely labelled, by people who know, Britain's greatest mathematician after Newton. He is of course Paul Dirac. Genius is not too strong a word.

BLESSED with  phenomenal powers of absorption in my youth I unwittingly committed to memory hundreds of verses from Hymns Ancient And Modern. The verses are full of oddities. For instance:

Ye servants of the Lord,
Each in his office wait,
Observant of His heavenly laws,
And watchful at His gate

“Office" gets me. What about farm labourers? Fishermen? Astronauts? Pole dancers?

WIP Second Hand (47,817 words)
SALADS were difficult, they demanded a knife and fork used simultaneously. Otherwise she found herself stoking unwieldy bundles of lettuce into her mouth, eating cucumber slices singly and tearing up lengths of over-cooked beef with the edge of her fork. Recently she’d experimented with the American approach - dogged and continuous sawing beforehand to reduce the food to bite-sized portions.

11 comments:

The Crow said...

Re: Each in his office wait. In this instance office is not literal nor restrictive. It means work or position, perhaps even calling. So, it would apply to male or female, desk jockey or pole greaser alike - or any other occupation or vocation.

But, then, you know that.

The Crow said...

that was supposed to be 'avocation.'

(WV: spansfun - just how I would describe reading your posts. compliment, btw)

mike M said...

We in America resemble that remark. Wait...you want the symbol Dirac detested lasered into the night sky for eternity? Not even a good feint with the office business.

Ellena said...

Not so odd, if catholic, to pause and reflect during 'l'office divin - prayer of the church - mass'.

Roderick Robinson said...

All: Yes, yes, I'm aware of those other meanings of office. But do they square with the preposition? Is it possible to wait inside "l'office" divin" or work, position or calling? These are all abstractions and this is a CoE hymnal. I needed distractions for goodness sake, especially later when I became a choir-boy and began to see the length of the sermon as akin to a prison sentence for which my crime was only vaguely defined.

MikeM: No I don't want eight on its side laser-projected on to the sky; as I explained Dirac hated equations that employed infinity since it made them look untidy, and act untidily. I want his electron equation up there: a glory just as much as Constable's The Haywain.

Note: I re-read the post and realised I wasn't clear about infinity. Now I hope I am.

mike M said...

Doubly clear on the first para now. Had you said "Office got me" instead of "Office gets me" we would have realized the the office ponderings took place when you were still a choirboy. Good description of sermon attitude. I have retained this into adulthood. Punishment, yes, though I'm more aware of the nature of my crimes.

The Crow said...

If we equate office with state of being, then it wouldn't matter what else you were doing while you waited.

Ditto on sermons feeling like punishment - didn't have much then to deserve punishment, but probably do now. My conscience is punishment enough, though.

Roderick Robinson said...

Crow: This is rapidly becoming more and more philosophical, taking a turn for which I am not intellectually equipped.

But here's a point. I have Francine endowed with all kinds of theories about why she should have nothing to do with a former lover, finding herself standing close to him, he in a placatory, reasonable mood, as handsome and as sexy as he ever was. And she sees both him and her remotely, together, as if through the wrong end of a binoculars, everything intensifying, and all those theories going out of the window because of his easy wavy blue-black hair which she once ran her fingers through. I know the guy even better than she does and hate him as much as anyone but then I'm a fella. It's what I live for; trying to push my dislike to one side so I can take on Francine and make her (logically) do the work I've employed her for - be a part of the plot. Many would say writing's a perversion. But it beats telly. Bet you've got ten thousand suggestions.

The Crow said...

More questions than suggestions. I don't know enough of the storyline to make cogent suggestions.

mike M said...

Sounds like your mixing logic with chemistry. They're like oil and water, but the endeavor will still be more satisfying than telly.14a oblickh

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