Category: HAIKU

The haiku is an ancient (by North American standards) poetic form that consists of 3 lines: the first and last lines have exactly 5 syllables; the middle line has 7. A haiku is supposed to capture the essence of an experience, especially the sensory part. “Intellectualizing” is considered extremely bad form. Therefore, naturally, lots of mine are about Physics!



Our skins touch in sleep,

decide they like each other

and become one skin.

More Physics Haiku

Recently I attended a meeting of the CIfAR Quantum Materials program.  It was nice to see the old gang and all the new kids!  😉   Naturally, perverse inspiration struck again…


Iron selenium:
Yes, we have some bananas
in the QPI.


de Haas – van Alphen
without a Fermi surface?
Well, it oscillates!


What’s a pseudogap?
We don’t know, but we can see
them in everything!


In between the sheets
of strontium titanate
it’s interesting.


quantum oscillations are
everywhere we look.


I don’t understand,
but I use the words as if
I knew their meaning.

Assorted Haiku



Our big dreams come true
unnoticed, while we cry for
all the little ones.

From a sea-blue sky
a brown bolt of eagle strikes:
death among flowers.


Clear intention shows
that what you think will happen
tends to be what does.

Only this end — that
dead men write no histories —
justifies the means.

I’m deconstructing
hermeneutics… Oh my dog!
What am I saying?

Physics Haiku

One of my habits during long meetings (particularly those of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research [CIfAR] Quantum Materials program, where my brain’s digestive capacity was frequently exceeded) was to write haiku about the speaker’s topic and/or my own state of mind. Here are a few.


photons knock me out,
leave behind the energy
you would like to know.

while I was a part
of the copper oxide plane
I was d-wave dressed.

leave behind the signature
of what they once were.

U   AND   Δ

Band theory fails
so we turn to “chemistry”:
localized ions.

Review your atoms.
U and Δ both depend
on which orbitals.

And U and Δ
choose a Mott insulator
or Zhang-Rice singlets.

Doing it all right
gives t’ small and suggests
a t-J model.

Spin waves almost work,
give the peak in PES;
2D spinons next!


Who is this heckler?
I’d listen to George in this
even if he’s wrong.

Dope a Hubbard chain:
the spectral weight is transferred
from high to low E.

All you ego freaks
please save your sniping speeches
until we are gone.

Fermi surface? No.
It’s not a metal! Maybe
there’s a “Shen surface”.

It’s hard enough to
follow what the speaker says
sans “annotations”.


We can write down H
but we can’t find solutions
every solid knows.

“The deeper reason why there are metals is, there just are.”

We think we know all.
Then Nature throws us a curve
and we retrofit.

“The dogs that did nothing in the night:” La4BaCu5O15

EELS and optics show
MIR scenario:
interlayer hops!

Stomach full, my brain
loses the battle for blood;
eyes will not focus.

Out come the big guns:
Every talk is Laughlin’s talk.
Isn’t he a gas?

“Shoulders of giants” –
standing room for everyone –
Maybe they should shrug.


Yo’ algorithm
Gotta be ergodic if
ya want convergence.

Calculating E,
run the WORM internally;
Green’s function “for free”!

Here come ol’ flattop, he come groovin’ up slowly…

Use the Principle
of Emergent Symmetry,
old states of matter.


Falling into the
nest of horrible phonons,
resonance is lost.

The neutron arrives,
knocks on the crystal door and
leaves a gift of spin.

An electron lost
its spin to one mode and its
charge to another.

What you cannot see
is not necessarily
something that’s not there.

The tiniest wire
must suffer more than its share
of decoherence.

d-wave junctions make
spontaneous currents flow:
butterfly qubits!

I’ll make it smaller;
wonderful devices if
you make it super.

Josephson junctions
of grains in a normal sea
are not what we see.

Holes in a layer
make an organic crystal
anything you want.

I’m a fermion
who transports charge but not heat.
What the hell am I?

Whorls in the current
come in quantized flux units

60K Tc
mediated by phonons?
This cannot be!

Put in a muon;
something averts its spin, though
you leave it alone.

Holes like to be paired
for the same reason spinons
enjoy being paired.

Let’s get together
with lots of other couples
and make a ladder!


FQHE and
are too hard for me.

Priorities are:
renewal; gender balance;
my guy needs a job.

What was “Gossamer
now is QPT.

Water Haiku

Surge and sag, rising
across the Earth’s crust; reward
yearnings of the Moon.

Falling forever
frozen to a distant Sun;
gas tail all alight.

Wet specks merge and stick,
relax into bigger bags
and fall, jiggling.

Clear spheres drag apart
the colours from white and send
circles to centre.

Love is to be cool
water in the hot, dry throat,
wash away dead dust.