9th October 2008 – Knutsford Literary Festival

dave-thompsonDave Thompson (Founder of Knutsford SciBAr) wrote a poem for the “Knutsford Literary Festival – Poetry Night” taking a Proton’s view of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Perhaps you can see why he focussed his life on Science, not Literature.


Knutsford SciBar – What’s it all about?

A glimmer of light meets an open mind
A path dimly lit for the assembled purblind
Facts and guesses of different kinds
A glimpse of a world with a godless design
Seen clearer, perhaps, through a glass of wine
Quarks neutrinos and leptons we hurl
Smash them together to make them unfurl
A Cosmos, perhaps, many .. in particular swirls
The x’s and y’s of boys and of girls
The way our brains work and The way of the world
Something may strike us — And cure we myopes
Veils of distance and size cast aside as we grope
For the answer to everything…within our mind’s scope
Our hands held by “profs “ moving forward with hope
Micron by micron up infinity’s slope
We’re the SciBArians .. in Science’s thrall
We’ve seen the Booth’s adverts and answered the call
We want to learn more, and though we’ll never know it all
We’re getting there, slowly, no more than a crawl
But “ Why, tell me why, is there anything at all ?”

Who says schools don’t inspire children? Here’s an essay written by my granddaughter after a lesson on the respiratory system. She certainly seems to have got the ideas and expresses them very well. – Dave Thompson

RESPIRATION in the life of an Oxygen atom

beth_essay_med by Bethan Peart

Dear Diary, Hi! Ojo the oxygen molecule here

I’ll have to be quick though as I’m about to be exhaled. You won’t believe the journey I’ve just had! It was spectacular. What a rush!

I was just floating around, as you do, when my girlfriend Ojoette arrived. We had arranged to go to the café particale for lunch. We had ordered our food and our waiter, a lovely nitrogen particle was bringing our water vapour when I heard a noise.

Oh no! The bell!

In seconds the playground would be full of wild children respiring like crazy! We knew it would be best to leave so I leaned in for a goodbye kiss, but it turns out I was too slow. I felt a wind behind me and then a pull. The pressure was low and naturally I have to go from high to low pressures. Hypnotised, I was sucked in through the nasal passage. I didn’t worry as I had done all of the human’s respiratory system at school and knew that I would simply be converted into energy and if you ask me that’s a step up from a stinky oxygen particle. Anyway I swirled through the nasal passage and then came the trachea. That was a squeeze! It seemed to be never ending but after a moment or two I left the trachea and entered the right bronchus, wait was it the left? Hmmm? Either way I proceeded on my adventure down the bronchus then I came to lots of different bronchioles. Which path should I choose? I chose the one furthest to the left and slid down the tube and was then spat out into the alveoli. Word on the capillary is that there are hundreds of them and that they have a surface area big enough to fill a tennis court!

I waited as other oxygen particles entered the capillary before me. After a few milliseconds it came to me. Buzzing with excitement it burst through the thin alveoli wall and diffused into the capillary.

After floating for a bit I met a friendly red blood cell called Rudy. I latched onto her and her friend Harry haemoglobin and I combined and formed oxi-haemoglobin. We then travelled for a while and played spot the organ! We then came across a poor cell with a very low concentration of oxygen. I was then released from the haemoglobin and used by the cell to release energy from food during a process they call respiration. During this process I hooked up with a carbon molecule and became carbon dioxide. There were loads of us Co2’s in the cell. To be honest it was getting a bit crowded in there and you know how I don’t like high pressure! So, I diffused back into the capillary where there was a bit more room and suddenly I was whooshing back to the lungs again and that’s where I am now whizzing back up the trachea and WEEEEEEEEEEE out of the nasal passage!

Low pressure and fresh air at last! I wonder what life will be like now as a carbon dioxide molecule? I think I’ll go and sit over there by that green plant in the sunshine and see what happens…

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