Beauty in the Eyes of Einsteinium, bonus “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem from Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Beauty in the Eyes of Einsteinium

Janet Kuypers

Bonus poem from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series, #099, Es
based on the poems “Beauty in the Eyes of Einstein” and “Einsteinium”

Einstein dismissed some of his theories —
even some we may know all too well.

Einstein didn’t like some of his theories
because he thought they weren’t beautiful.

And I wonder:
what is beauty?

Is it the geomagnetic aberrations
of the Aurora Borealis
dancing along the horizon
at the arctic circle?

Is it the eternally changing
wisps of volcanic trails
in the Saturn moon Titan’s atmosphere?

Or is it converting matter into pure energy
with just the right formula?

We ask, what is beauty?

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

Einstein understood
that everything was relative…

Because once he fathomed
the relationship
between matter and energy,
once he understood
the interconnectivity
between matter and energy —

he understood that his knowledge
in the hands of evil men
could mean that his Fatherland,
the land he escaped from,
he understood that Hitler and the Third Reich
could be working on an atomic bomb,
converting so little matter
into so much devastating energy.

Einstein understood the gravity
of his writing a letter
to appeal to Roosevelt
to create this bomb,
to protect us from Germany.

imagine the finality
of naming an element discovered
after the first explosion
of the hydrogen bomb
Albert Einstein.

Because really,
in a way,

So we ask, what is beauty?

Because chemists will make it clear
that Einsteinium
has no known uses…
But think about it:
is there any logical reason
to grow a certain flower
and purchase it at inflated prices
to give to someone you’re smitten with
on an early date?
Is there any logical reason
to accept the De Beers company
global stranglehold
over stopping the release
of an otherwise common crystal
so that a loved one can cherish
a clear stone on their left finger
to show the world
that they’re otherwise
Is there any logical reason
to claim a song
for a slow dance
on your wedding day?

Of course not.
But we do it anyway,
we keep dried rose petals
from that infatuating relationship,
women constantly ooh and aah
over engagement ring sizes,
and married people
intrinsically feel
they have to dance
when they hear
their wedding song.

How illogical.
But how beautiful.

So we ask what is beauty.
And all scientists seem to
use Einsteinium for now
is basic scientific research,
but that seems oddly fitting,
since that is what
Einstein did best.
To think.
To research.

And that
is beautiful.

Einsteinium poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

Einstein understood
that everything was relative…

Why did he have to worry
about brushing his hair
or changing out of his pajamas
when he was busy grappling
with the foundations of phyics?

And once he fathomed
the relationship
between matter and energy,
once he understood
the interconnectivity
between matter and energy —

he suddenly understood,
after this Jewish physicist
left his home in Germany,
that Hitler and the Third Reich
could be working on an atomic bomb,
converting so little matter
into so much devastating energy.

At this time, he understood
the need for Roosevelt
to create this weapon
so the Germans wouldn’t destroy us.

The gravity of this discovery
in the hands of evil men
weighed him down,
and even months
before he died,
Einstein wrote
that although the devastation
in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
seemed unfathomably horrific
and he regretted writing
that letter to Roosevelt,
his justification
was the threat of Germany.
When he wrote that letter,
he still had to appeal to Roosevelt,
that yes, to save us from Germany,
this weapon needed to be created.

Knowing about his torment
in making this decision
to ask for the creation
of the atomic bomb,
makes it so ironically beautiful
that after scientists
discovered an element
after the first explosion
of the hydrogen bomb,
they named the element Einsteinium
after the physicist.


Einsteinium is a silvery-white,
radioactive, synthetic element
with a high fission rate,
like the atomic bombs
Einstein first knew of
when fearing his homeland enemy.
But because of the short half-life
of all isotopes of Einsteinium,
all primordial Einsteinium
has decayed by now,
and beyond it’s nuclear creation,
there is almost no use
for any isotope of Einsteinium
outside of basic scientific research…

Which makes me think of the
life of Albert Einstein, I suppose,
for although Einstein worked
at odd jobs for years
until he was a patent examiner,
his mind was only good at one thing:
doing not-so-basic scientific research,
solving scientific fundamental puzzles,
if only he had the time
to study the puzzle long enough.

photos of Janet Kuypers and Albert Einstein with their tongues sticking out

Germanium poem by Janet Kuypers


by Janet Kuypers

of Scars Publications
from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series

Because the planet Neptune
was recently discovered,
Winkler in the late 1800s
decided to name the element
he discovered “Neptunium,”
but another element already
tried to lay claim to that name
(and still a different element
got the name “Neptunium”)…
So Winkler decided to name
his newfound element Germanium,
from Latin Germania,
in honor of his homeland.

Germania is known for
its high refraction (along with
its low optical dispersion),
making it perfect for things like
wide-angle camera lenses,
but is also used for microscopy
and the core part of optical fibers.
And yeah, I could go on
about silicon-Germanium alloys
used for semiconductors
in new circuitry, fiber optics,
infrared optics, electronics,
metallurgy and chemotherapy,
But when I heard chemotherapy
I started looking into it, because
when it comes to chemotherapy,
Germanium’s role in cancer
treatments has been widely debated —
the American Cancer Society
found no evidence that Germanium
Helps fight cancer, and the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
found that when Germanium
was a nutritional supplement,
Germanium even actually “presents
potential human health hazard”.


And I’m sorry, when I hear “Germanium”,
I think “Germania”, and I know that
Germania was the Greek and Roman
geographic term for the region,
but it still makes me think
of the “World Capital Germania”, with
Adolf Hitler’s vision for the future
of Germany, with the projected renewal
of the German capital Berlin
during the Nazi reign. And Albert Speer,
the “first architect of the Third Reich”
(and probably the only architect)
produced many of the plans
for the rebuilt city, but only a fraction
was realized. The Berlin Olympic Stadium
for the 1936 Summer Olympics was built.
Speer also designed a new Chancellery,
with a hall twice as long as the Hall
of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles,
but the second Chancellery
was destroyed by the Soviet army
in 1945, and almost no other buildings
planned for Berlin (and Hitler’s
“Germania”) were ever built.


Some compounds of Germanium
are highly reactive and very dangerous
to humans even on exposure.
I mean, Germanium had similarities
with the elements arsenic (used for
chemical weapons) and antimony
(another toxic chemical element),
so maybe it makes sense that I can’t help
but equate it with Hitler’s plans
that followed mass genocide.
So I have to keep reminding myself
of the uses for Germanium in electronics,
and remind myself that the most notable
physical characteristics of Germania
make it perfect for optics, and things
like wide-angle camera lenses (which the
photographer in me can’t help but love).
Because although Germanium can have
some very bad connections,
it can also do things to help us out
so much in our lives as well.