Ten Science Poems You Need To Read
It’s National Poetry Month in the UK and we’ve selected ten wonderful science-themed poems to brighten your day! Our collection of verses from poets around the globe features thought-provoking pieces about the world and how it works, as well as some more humorous takes on life in the lab!
From the power of the microscope to out of control school experiments, there’s something in this list for everyone with an interest in creative science writing.
Be inspired by this great selection of poems, and tell us which is your favourite!
1. A Universe of Atoms, An Atom In The Universe - by Richard Feynman
The first in our list of inspiring science poems comes from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Written in 1955, this thoughtful free verse poem explores the wonder of life on Earth and the beauty of atoms and molecules. His profound verses describe the development of our planet from one “with no life to entertain” to one full of “atoms with consciousness”.
2. In the Laboratory of the Great Chemist - by John Oscar Beck
Published in 1927 in ‘Poetry: A Magazine of Verse’, this poem explores how a scientist sees atoms and molecules through the microscope. The author describes a strange and terrifying dream, brought on by the fumes of the laboratory, in which he shrinks smaller and smaller to the size of an atom while the chemist compares him to a grain of dust.
Read the full poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=17591
3. The Sciences Sing A Lullaby - by Albert Goldbarth
This beautiful piece by American poet Albert Goldbarth personifies the sciences as they each offer comfort to the reader in their own unique way. While ‘Physics’ reminds us that no matter how much we rest our bodies are always on the move, ‘Astronomy’ reassures us that the sun will always rise again tomorrow.
Read the full poem here: https://poets.org/poem/sciences-sing-lullabye
4. My Proteins - by Jane Hirshfield
The next in our list of scientific sonnets is a thoughtful composition by Jane Hirshfield. Published in 2013 as part of a collection of poems entitled ‘Ledger’, the piece delves into the ever changing make up of the human body as the writer considers why “ninety-six percent of my life is not my life”.
Read the full poem here: https://poets.org/poem/my-proteins
5. Evolution - by Linda Bierds
This expressive poem by Linda Bierds was inspired by the life and work of Alan Turing, after she visited an exhibition at the Science Museum in London. She said that although the focus of his work was not evolution, she was inspired by his ‘personal evolution’ and used the concept to create an emotional piece about the thoughts and decisions that shaped his life.
Read the full poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/152070/evolution-5e0f6d77b22f4
6. X-Ray - by Danielle Legros Georges
Our next featured poem comes from The Poetry of Science project, which pairs poets of colours with scientists of colour to create poems inspired by their work and fields of study. This piece by Danielle Legros Georges is a collaboration with Sheena Vasquez, a scientist and biology doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Read the full poem here: https://www.poetryofscience.org/x-ray
7. Singularity - by Marie Howe
Award-winning poet Marie Howe pays tribute to Stephen Hawking in this beautiful reflection on singularity, the theory that the entire universe was one single thing before the Big Bang. Her powerful opening line asks the question “Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity we once were?”.
Read the full poem here: https://poets.org/poem/singularity
8. Rocket Science - by James A. Tweedie
‘Rocket Science’ is a light-hearted look at mortality by American poet James A. Tweedie. The author tells the humorous tale of a researcher who travels the world only to draw a rather obvious conclusion!
9. Science Homework - by Kenn Nesbitt
We couldn’t resist including this brilliant kid’s poem by children’s poet Kenn Nesbitt. From his book ‘Revenge of the Lunch Ladies’, this wonderful rhyming piece conjures up fantastic images of an experiment gone wrong, while flipping a common classroom excuse on its head!
Read the full poem here: https://poetry4kids.com/poems/science-homework/
10. Mrs Darwin - by Carol Ann Duffy
And finally… despite being one of the shortest science-themed poems ever written, this one certainly made us smile! In this four-line poem, British poet Carol Ann Duffy attributes Darwin’s early thoughts on evolution to a passing comment made by his wife on a trip to the zoo.
Read the poem here: https://genius.com/Carol-ann-duffy-mrs-darwin-annotated
"Hey! What about..."
Tell us about the ones we’ve missed! Which science-themed poems do you love? Do you write your own science poetry? Share it with us in the comments or tweet us at @hello_bio!
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