Return of the Clerihews!

As a result of an after-dinner discussion at the meeting I attended last week, I’ve decided to put a revised cosmological clerihew collection back online. I’ve removed or edited those that caused the greatest offence, and added a few new ones.

Bernard Carr
Has gone a bit far:
His Anthropic Principle
Makes theories invincible

Sean Carroll
Has me over a barrel
Because the only plausible rhyme
Plugs his new book on Time

The mind of John Barrow
Is not very narrow:
He’s more open than me
To a variable c

Stephen Hawking
Lets a machine do the talking
But even  he can’t vocalize in-
side a black hole horizon.

Joe Silk
Is one of that ilk
Who writes far more articles
Than there are elementary particles

Matt Griffin
Has healthy salad for tiffin
But he’d probably expire
If something went wrong with SPIRE.

Peter Ade
Would never be afraid
To enter his name
In the citation game

Andy Lawrence
Would shed tears in torrents
If they finally got rid
Of the Astrogrid

Steve Maddox
Never eats haddocks
But he’s quite a dab hand
In the optical band

Ofer Lahav
Is awfully suave
But must be getting nervy
About the cancellation of funding for the Dark Energy Survey

Joao Magueijo
Was on the Today Show
Talking some shite
About travelling faster than light

Keith Mason
Said to Lord Drayson
“Can we have some more money?”
He replied “Don’t try to be funny…”

Andrei Linde
Felt rather windy
A peculiar sensation:
The result of internal inflation?

To rhyme Carlos Frenck
I’ve drawn a complete blenk
But I found in the lexicon
A good one for Mexican

When Andrew Jaffe
Plots a new graph he
Thinks fits his theory he’ll
Tell everyone at Imperial

Paul Steinhardt
Said “Lust not after beauty in thine heart”
But why he did so
I really don’t know

Feel free to offer your own through the comments box, after consulting the rules, although I remind you I don’t accept anonymous comments, even if they’re funny.

31 Responses to “Return of the Clerihews!”

  1. Thomas D Says:

    Mike Turner
    Has a nice little earner
    Secure in the knowledge he
    Ushered in a Golden Age of Cosmology

    George Efstathiou
    Is unlikely to flatter you
    Though he might object to snoring
    During a seminar that’s boring

    … Somehow I think Joao’s safe from this.

  2. Peter Coles
    Has many roles
    Like blogging In The Dark
    About all things, such as Jazz in the Park

    Edwin Hubble
    Discovered the expansion of our cosmic bubble
    By spending long nights on the Hale
    But when he died he doubted the expansion was real

    Roger Penrose
    As everyone knows
    Doesn’t dye his hair
    But why does Peter Coles care?

    Did Tom Shanks
    Deserve many thanks
    For being down and dirty
    Suggesting that the Hubble constant might be as low as 30?

    Simon White
    Does alright
    Working in the public sector
    As an almost-civil-servant Max-Planck Director

    Alan Sandage
    Needed a bandage
    After losing the fight
    Which showed that his value of the Hubble constant was not right

    Dick Bond
    Works on the CMB across the Pond
    But not much in his plots can you find
    If you happen to be colour-blind

    Was Martin Rees
    On his knees
    When he became a Lord
    Or did the Queen decide that in his case it wasn’t necessary to go overboard?

  3. telescoper Says:

    I’m not sure I can let you rhyme “hale” with “real”.

  4. Can’t I get away with this since Edwin himself pronounced “bathtub” so strangely? (Edwin Hubble was an American who spent some time in England. When he returned to the States, where he became famous as an astronomer, he continued to speak in an affected British accent, complete with British clothing and mannerisms.)

  5. Thomas D Says:

    Jean-Philippe Uzan
    Put some sad old blues on
    When it turned out after all
    That the universe isn’t shaped like a giant football

    George Smoot
    Really doesn’t give a hoot:
    While on another planet he
    Wrote a paper about non-Gaussianity

  6. Thomas D Says:

    Janna Levin
    Is going to heaven
    To see if she
    Can feel its topology

    … I’ll leave Guth, Linde and Steinhardt to the more intrepid and / or tenured.

  7. Anton Garrett Says:

    Alan Guth
    was an outstanding youth
    when he thought of inflation
    the theorist’s salvation

  8. Anton Garrett Says:

    Peter Coles
    says classical black holes
    swallow all matter
    and get ever fatter

  9. Anton Garrett Says:

    Fred Hoyle
    went off the boil
    with steady state theory
    no Big Bang – how dreary

  10. Anton Garrett Says:

    Sir Isaac Newton
    stuck the boot in
    to Gottfried Leibniz
    about infinitesimal bits

  11. Bryn Jones Says:

    I’m reluctant to try posting Clerihews about living scientists here, for fear of upsetting people, but I’ll try one about the author of this page.

    Peter Coles
    brings to his roles
    in cosmology and astronomy
    a great deal of bonhomie.

    It might be safer to stick to people no longer living, but it may take me some time to find a rhyme for Herschel.

  12. Bryn Jones Says:

    William Herschel
    turned commercial
    as a mirror grinder
    and planet finder.

  13. Perhaps if William Herschel
    Had been more commercial
    Then the 7th planet in the system solar
    Might be known as Coca-Cola

  14. Damn, scooped, took too long to think of the last two lines.

  15. Am I allowed to do a limerick instead of a clerihew ? Because some of the above attempts remind me of this :

    A poet there was from Japan
    Whose poetry just would not scan
    When asked why this was
    He said its because
    I always try to get as many words in the last line as I possibly can

  16. Pedro Ferreira
    Is happy to share a
    Thought at the top of his voice
    On scalars (Ferreira and Joyce)

    Sarah Bridle
    Is rarely idle
    But I can’t help feeling that GREAT
    Is a bit late to be called 08

    Subir Sarkar
    Will clearly go far
    He’s many a crackpot’s hero
    As he really thinks Lambda is zero

    Neil Turok
    Is solid as a rock
    But I had to learn by osmosis
    His theory of Ekpyrosis

    Lasenby, Challinor and Lewis,
    And not forgetting Prof Hewish
    Are Tonys in Cambridge a-dwelling
    (Though one is a variant spelling)

    Peter Coles
    Rhymes neatly with “holes”
    But I really don’t think that I ought
    To attempt to finish that thought

  17. Bryn Jones Says:

    Niall raised an interesting point about William Herschel: he did try to name Uranus Georgium Sidus (George’s Star) to get royal funding.

    William Herschel
    being controversial
    named his planet, you will have heard,
    after his patron, King George the Third.

  18. Bryn Jones Says:

    Edwin Hubble
    With little trouble
    Showed spiral nebulae really are
    Galaxies that are very far.

    Gerard de Vaucouleurs
    With standard candles, not a ruler,
    Concluded the Universe’s size
    Was smaller than perhaps was wise.

    John Bahcall
    Most of all
    Studied neutrinos from afar,
    Especially the nearest star.

    And following Joe Z above, here is one that rhymes Coles with holes:

    Peter Coles
    Finds many holes
    In other people’s theories
    Through his searching queries.

    (I’m not sure any of these were really worth the trouble.)

  19. Bryn Jones Says:

    All right, then, I’ll risk one about somebody still living, if only to criticise a policy decision of the 1990s.

    Ken Pounds
    Was out of bounds
    When he closed, without a frown,
    The Royal Greenwich Observatory down.

  20. […] I’m aware that some people might have been offended by some of the clerihews recently posted on this site. Sometimes the lure of a rhyme can take these into areas best left […]

  21. John Skilling
    With MaxEnt made a killing,
    And it really wasn’t taxing
    for him to invent Nested Sampling.

  22. Anton Garrett Says:

    Steve Gull
    is far from dull
    He works in three fields
    And produces high yields

  23. telescoper Says:

    Because of a complaint I’ve recently received – that nobody had done a clerihew of him yet – here’s another one:

    John Peacock
    Looks like Mr Spock
    He’s renowned among peers
    Not just for his ears

  24. telescoper Says:

    Alan Heavens
    Is at sixes and sevens,
    Perplexed by the mystery
    Of the cosmic star formation history

  25. telescoper Says:

    Licia Verde
    Is not at all nerdy
    But she makes no apology
    For being keen on cosmology

  26. Bryn Jones Says:

    Hold on, the originals were Cosmic Clerihews, which allowed for mainstream astronomy. I don’t think I contributed many cosmological clerihews. So here’s one.

    Willem de Sitter
    Provoked a titter
    When he gave a model demanding
    The Universe is flat and expanding.

  27. Bryn Jones Says:

    I’m sticking to historical figures to avoid controversy. So,

    E. A. Milne
    Baked in his kiln
    A strange theory, with an edge too.
    Or was it he who wrote Winnie The Pooh?

  28. telescoper Says:

    Kurt Gödel
    Faced a big hurdle:
    That’s what anyone deserves
    Who has closed timelike curves

  29. telescoper Says:

    Luigi Bianchi
    Bought a new hanky
    Lest he should sneeze
    On his isometries

  30. telescoper Says:

    Kip Thorne
    Would regularly warn
    Students not to become slaves
    In the hunt for gravitational waves

  31. Bryn Jones Says:

    Georges Lemaitre
    said that “Peutetre,
    Because of me, once some time has passed,
    There’ll be a famous Belgian at last!”

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