By: Tom Lane (School of Physics and Astronomy)
Competition Year: 2017
Votes (2) | Comments (0)
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Atom. The world in a word.
Yet the breadth of life it describes is absurd.

Breathe. Life. Each inhale is blessed,
as the O2 that fuels you seeps into your chest.
Each cell therein, a chemical brew.
As the atoms that form them dictate me from you.

From matter so small it defies comprehension,
nature forms all around us, across all three dimensions.
Yet nature is not now a solitary designer,
as the world becomes shaped by human endeavour.

Our existence is fueled by a myriad queries,
spawning models, hypotheses, ideas and theories.
We take roles as gods as we deign to design;
from chemical stews, to electronics fine.
On what we can achieve, can we truly define,
a tangible limit? A discernable line?

Ethics, morality, these principles challenge me,
since the atoms I love are devoid of humanity.
Be it genes that we alter, or stem cells we test,
or the splitting of atoms to end global unrest.

Yet! For all the fault we assign,
much good can come from scientific design.
Yes, a light, in an era of plight.
Promised redemption for science in sight,
as we harness this fission to fuel our ambition
to lower the world's carbon atom emission.

No, the atom is not something to dread,
rather something respected and honoured instead.
What the atom can do is all down to intention,
plus the ingenuity of human invention.

So a lab coat you don, and a pen I'll upraise.
A vial she'll lift, whilst a substrate he lays.
Then we all work in concert, discoveries find,
and develop new technologies for mankind.

Lifetimes we've spent, more to be spent still,
to bend these constituent blocks to our will.
With atoms we'll duel, as we toil, play and learn.
Then in the wane of our years, to atoms return.

By me. A Tom.
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