Expanding Universe Haiku

The 2011 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics were three American scientists who asked some important questions and wound up getting answers they didn’t expect.

Hubble’s snapshot of the backyard, courtesy of NASA

As a result they gave us this confounding image of a universe that is expanding rapidly, with stars and galaxies rushing away from the center at ever-increasing speeds.

How’s that?

For folks (like me) who write news stories and summaries, Nobel week is a challenge and an education. In trying to explain how a prize was won, we’re called on to distill and decipher other people’s complicated multi-million-dollar research. Do you really think I can, with little knowledge or understanding of the field, step in and do a better job explaining a major technical principle in fewer words than the scientist who has spent his or her life struggling with the same information?

Some topics don’t like to be compressed.

But try I must. So why not take it all the way down to the minimum? Here’s a challenge – boil the expanding universe down to three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five in the third.


Galaxies racing
faster away from center
Mama will be pissed.

Dark Energy is
The unseen motivator
Behind the madness

The whole universe
Receding away from you
It’s not personal

The      spaces        between
the       words      in      this        haiku       are
bigger.          What’s             up,                          huh?


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