Valentine’s Day Physics Poem 2019

It’s that time of year again! Time for me to dig in to my files and bring you yet another of my old physics poems.

Plagued with Divergences

“The whole scheme of local field theory is plagued with divergences”

Is divergence ever really unexpected?

If you asked a computer, what would it tell you?

You’d hear a whirring first, lungs and heart of the machine beating faster and faster.

And you’d dismiss it.
You knew this wasn’t going to be an easy interaction.
It doesn’t mean you’re going to diverge.

And perhaps it would try to warn you, write it there on the page.
It might even notice, its built-in instincts telling you, by the book,
“This will diverge.”

But instincts lie, and builders cheat.
And it doesn’t mean you’re going to diverge.

Now, you do everything the slow way,
Numerically.
You need a different answer.
Dismiss your instincts and force yourself through
Piece by piece.

And now, you can’t stop hearing the whir
The machine’s beating heart
Even when it should be at rest

And step by step, it tries to minimize its errors
And step by step, the errors grow

And exhausted, in the end, you see splashed across the screen
Something bigger than it should ever have been.

But sometimes things feel big and strange.
That’s just the way of the big wide world.
And it doesn’t mean you’re going to diverge.

You could have seen the signs,
Power-counted, seen what could overwhelm.
And you could have regulated, with an epsilon of flexibility.

But this one, this time, was supposed to be
Needed to be
Physical Truth
And truth doesn’t diverge

So you keep going,
Wheezing breath and painstaking calculation,
And every little thing blowing up

It’s not like there’s a better way to live.


1 thought on “Valentine’s Day Physics Poem 2019

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