Wednesday, April 27, 2005

What's In a Name?

This blog is named after a poem written in 1926 by Álvaro de Campos, the Futuristic heteronym of Fernando Pessoa. Here's the original poem, in Portuguese:

O binómio de Newton é tão belo como a Vénus de Milo.
O que há é pouca gente para dar por isso.


(O vento lá fora.)

And here's a rough translation:

Newton's binomium is as beautiful as the Venus de Milo.
The problem is that precious few people notice.


(The wind outside.)

I love this poem because it places science firmly within our culture. As a scientist myself, I couldn't agree more. (Regrettably, Pessoa engaged in a good deal of pseudo-science and mysticism himself, but I like to think that Campos was above all that.)