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Institute of Optics

Ode to a Rydberg Atom

This piece of verse appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the March 1996 issue of Physics Today. Apparently it was in honor of the atomic version of Young's Double Slit Experiment but we suspect that the author had other motives for his rhyming couplets.

 I never truly understood
 How atoms oscillate,
 Always turning back again
 to their orig'nal state.
 Eventually decaying,
 Just as I felt they ought,
 Only to coagulate
 Until a packet's wrought.
 Rydberg would be pleased to know,
'Neath his lonely grave,
 Atoms of his namesake give
 Life to Kepler waves.
 Could I, too, a wavelet be,
 Lasting momentarily,
 Until I find myself once more
 Beyond time's endless sea?

Paul W. Carter
Caltech



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Web page maintained by
Hideomi Nihira ( nihira@optics.rochester.edu ).
Last modified 13 September 2006