Reflections upon returning home from Uni

By: Daniel Arme (School of Chemistry)
Competition Year: 2017
Votes (4) | Comments (0)
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My Grandad once said to me
That our solar system is just an atom
The Sun is a nucleus and the planets are electrons
An atom amongst atoms
Used as the infinitesimal building blocks
For a world on a higher plane to ours
And the atoms of our world
The countless solar systems on a lower plane to our own
And that this goes on and on and on.

And I said to him
‘Okaaay. Shall we play hide and seek then?’

But in that perculiar space between lights-off and sleep
Said thought planted a seed in my mind
And on a great recursive rollercoaster I could imagine
That Russian Doll of solar systems
Growing and shrinking at a head-hurting pace.


Quite a few years later
I am sat in the same room
The vintage furniture now a cocktail
Left in the sun for too long
And hence discoloured
My brain too is left drained
From a semester of rigorous molecular orbital theory.

I was wrong to believe Grandad
My educated and experienced self now knows better
And I’ve never felt further
From the wonderment that comes
With not knowing the actuality of things.
Was there ever a more alluring line than:
Electrons are not localised sub-atomic particles?


If memories are encased in glass
They only make the twinkle of my Grandad’s eyes sharper
Yearning, grasping
Attempting to instill a curiosity
That blossoms into imagination
Something sacred
That should not be lost
On the complexities of the real world.

Could it be possible
To reconcile the child with logical adult?
To have them not diametrically opposed
As if playing swingball
But supplementary
Like one pushing the other on a swing
In the local park?

They could well do, yes.
And so I will take these comforting thoughts
Into next semester’s quantum mechanics module.
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