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De Waal Venter

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Romantic poem

The romantic power of theoretical physics

Derek Dexter Ph.D (theoretical physics) waxed lyrical:
imagine spacetime as an unending
elastic surface, he instructed
Jane Darling B.Sc.
Her blue eyes softened
as she imagined
spacetime being an unending elastic surface.
Doctor Dexter had to clear his throat
before he could continue.
Gravity as a force
doesn’t actually exist, he announced.
Massive objects create a hollow, if you will,
in the surface of spacetime.
Nearby less massive objects
tend to roll into this hollow
towards the more massive object,
and that is what we often call the force of gravity.
But less massive objects
also attract more massive objects?
Jane suggested demurely.
Exactly! Doctor Dexter exclaimed enthusiastically.
He leaned towards the young lady
to expand his explication,
but he abruptly lost his thread,
noticing that her eyes
were very much the colour
of the sky over willows
on a warm afternoon.
It’s a mutual attraction,
Jane Darling concluded
through her smile.


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