Bismuth poem by Janet Kuypers

Bismuth

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#083, Bi)

I heard NASA scientists say
that Albert Einstein dismissed some of his theories.

That Einstein didn‚t like some of his theories
because he thought they weren‚t beautiful.

And it makes me wonder:
what is beauty?

Is it how the silver-pink hue of Bismuth
tarnishes into an iridescent oxide
refracting colors from soothing pink
to bright yellow
to a deep blue?

Einstein believed
“The most beautiful thing
we can experience
is the mysterious.
It is the source
of all art and science.”

And scientifically,
no other metal is more naturally
diamagnetic than Bismuth.

I know, I know, Bismuth is diamagnetic
and it‚s not the magnetism of Bismuth
that causes the Aurora Borealis
from the Earth‚s magnetic field…

But trust me,
from what I‚ve seen,
no other element
can naturally produce
such an awe-inspiring
brightly rainbow-colored
stair-step crystal.

So we ask, what is beauty?

They say that beauty
is in the eye of the beholder.
So, it makes me wonder.

Neptunium poem by Janet Kuypers

Neptunium

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

When they discovered the planet Neptune,
seeing that distant blue orb
and naming it after the Roman god of the sea,

scientists seemed to be in a mad rush
when discovering elements
to name the new element after the planet.

Someone originally named Germanium
after the (at the time) newly discovered planet,
and at three times the element ninety three

was discovered and given the names
bohemium, ausonium and sequanium.
But after all this research and all this discovery,

it seems fitting that the element
that got the name Neptunium as it’s name
is used on earth mostly in nuclear reactions.

Discovered by bombing uranium
with slow moving neutrons in nuclear fission,
Neptunium is now used in weapons applications.

So it might have something in common
with the name of the gas giants, as an energetic,
explosive ball or energy, despite the fact

that like the planet, with it’s deceptively
seductive blue hue, can deep down
still be so tumultuously violent.

But in ancient history and mythology,
Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto,
each of them presiding over the realms

of Heaven, Earth and the Netherworld. I suppose
Neptune ruled with a gentle hand, although
Neptunium always had that iron fist.