Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Periodic Table of Haiku

I found something so strange and wonderful online today that I had to share it with you. The University of Minnesota at Rochester has put together a Periodic Table of Haiku. Most elements have a poem written about them and their properties. According to the website, this project was a 2009 venture of UMR's Center for Learning Innovation and seeks to "integrate chemistry and creative writing." The poems were written by students and faculty, and some of the haiku are quite good. Most poems reflect on the physical properties of the elements and describe how they react chemically.

I'm always interested in the many ways that people manage to combine science and the arts, and this project is a great example. Unfortunately, not all of the elements have been selected for poetry. So, I thought I'd take a stab at silicon & aluminum, two of the neglected elements. The project requires the haiku to have a 5-7-5 syllabic structure - so I did too - but modern haiku doesn't have to follow that format.

Silicon (Si)
master conductor:
your pure electronic grades
drive the world wide web

Aluminum (Al) in your reflection
I see pots and pans, cars, trucks ...
where are the people?

Photo credit: (top) Jannes Pockele, (bottom) Chris Harrison, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0