Boron from the Big Bang, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem from Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Boron from the Big Bang

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#005, B)

The Higgs boson,
the Higgs particle.
The God particle,
as some have called it.
It’s an elusive
elementary particle
theorized about
for nearly half a century.

They call it the God particle
because it might have created
all matter.

You see, scientists
are trying to figure out
how the Big Bang
started to evolve.
You see, the theory
is that all of the universe’s energy
was created
from this massive explosion
But the question remains:
how did any
of that energy
turn into matter?

Because during the first
few minutes of our universe
after the Big Bang,
the temperature was so hot,
that it was too hot
for any binding energy
that could have supported
any matter, even hydrogen
or it’s isotope deuterium.
With temperatures so hot,
this bottleneck
delayed the formation of anything
until the universe
was cool enough
to make anything
out of anything.

But just a few minutes
after the Big Bang,
elements burst forth,
because the universe
suddenly got cool enough.
But at twenty minutes
after the Big Bang,
the universe was suddenly
TOO cool for nuclear fusion
or nucleosynthesis,
and THAT is when elemental
abundances were nearly fixed…

That means
hydrogen, helium
and trace anounts
of lithium, beryllium
and Boron
were the elements formed
in those first three minutes
of the Big Bang.
(Sorry, any elements
starting at carbon or higher
were only formed
after stars were around
to create them.)

…So the creation
of matter out of energy
during the formation
of this universe
only happened
in an insanely brief period
of the universe’s history.
Was it just
the insanely hot temperature
in this insanely short period
that did it?

And what does this
have to do with
the Higgs boson particle anyway?

Well, scientists believe
this Higgs particle is a part
of the Higgs field,
an invisible field of energy
throughout the entire universe.
That Higgs particle
interacts with whatever energy
passes through the Higgs field.
And with this interaction,
massless particles,
they trade their energy
to gain mass
when passing through.

And this Higgs field,
in the beginning of the universe,
helped create matter.

Which helped create us.

Higgs helped create matter,
including the first elements
in the universe,
from hydrogen
to the comparatively heavy

five electrons is heavy
in the formation of the universe.

Yeah, Boron,
which helps keep our bones strong.
Boron treats osteoarthritis.
Boron builds muscles,
and when it comes to
trying to understand this science,
it even improves our thinking skills.

We’ve known of Boron
for thousands of years,
from the deserts in Tibet,
or from China in glazes
through to Persia
before it got to Italy,
where it was used
for medical purposes.

Well, knowing how long
we’ve used Borax for cleaning,
or even that Boron’s used
to make the strongest
magnet ever made,
it’s nice to know
that we also understand
how much this
is vital in everything in our lives,
from our muscles and bones
to the very creation of the universe.

Yeah, it’s cool to see
how scientists
are starting to piece together
how matter came to be
in this universe,
because without that Higgs field,
and without that Higgs particle,
energy would never
have turned into
to create any


or even create us.

Helium Addicition poem by Janet Kuypers

Helium Addicition (#002, He)

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

Since I lost my job welding cars,
I thought I’d get my truck driving license
And make my money on the open road.

So when I applied for the truck driving job
for moving compressed Helium from California
to Maine, they asked if I could drive a truck…

When I said I could, they gave me the keys —
and the truck’s a beaut, with a bed
of nine cylinders of that precious Helium.

I hear there’s only so much Helium on Earth,
so I really had some precious cargo to haul.
Now, since I love driving and know how to weld…

I rented the tools and bought the tubing,
and after Arizona I had my rig set up
so I could do Helium hits while on the road.

I mean, I had nine huge tanks of Helium,
all compressed, it was like worker’s comp. You
can always skim off the top, they won’t notice.

Now, this made New Mexico and Texas really fun,
and I ignored the winds sweeping down the plains
of Oklahoma when I had my Helium.

But after Missouri, through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio,
the cops always pulled me over for erratic driving
(but I can’t let go of this Helium high!).

The cops would ask me for paperwork,
and I would happily comply. “You seem to be
driving erratically. Have you slept recently?”

“Yes sir, I’m just so excited, I love this job.”
And the cops looked at me funny before
writing me a warning and sending me on my way.

So I’d always look at my clock radio
and limit my Helium puffs to every time
I saw a good looking seat cover in a passing car —

but the hotties were few and far
between, so I’d check my clock radio
and puffed every seven minutes.

So when my Helium high subsided after only
seven seconds, and I still have seven states
before I could deliver my remaining Helium —

well, that’s when I drove north instead,
to go through Michigan, and leave my life —
and this country — with my precious.

And yeah, I’ll miss my family and friends,
but I’ve only scratched the surface
with my nine lives of Helium, and really,

that Helium high is really worth the world.